10761 | Tea set (toy)

Tea set (toy)
Livesley, Powell & Company
1851-1866, 19th century
Transfer-printed earthenware
Gift of E. Portia MacKenzie, 1962 (Emma Carleton Jack Memorial Collection)
This artefact belongs to: © New Brunswick Museum
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Keys to History

The children of William (1811-86) and Emma Jack (1825-95) were very fortunate, as evidenced by this set of children's dishes. In the 19th century, wealthier families began to furnish nurseries with child-sized sets of dinnerware intended for daily use. Small children usually ate apart from their older siblings and parents, but no less elegantly. The sets had an educational purpose as well as a practical one; they were designed to teach young children proper etiquette for a time when they would join the adults in the dining room. In addition, they served to teach girls the correct way to fulfill their future duties as hostesses in their own homes. In a family such as that of Mr. and Mrs. Jack, with seven little girls to train in the 1850s and 1860s, the lessons must have been ongoing.

The sets, made from porcelain or earthenware, replicated adult services in style and motif. Normally, a single manufacturer produced both the large and small versions of a particular pattern. English manufacturers often featured patterns with an all-over transfer design, such as the one on this set, while German manufacturers were associated with colourful transfer images of children or animals.

  • What

    This entire set consists of forty-five pieces and includes tureens, platters, sauceboats and plates of various sizes.

  • Where

    Livesley Powell & Co., the manufacturers, operated in Hanley, Staffordshire, England, a centre of fine English ceramic production.

  • When

    By the 20th century, miniature sets of dishes were primarily produced for play rather than actual use and were made mostly in Japan.

  • Who

    Livesley Powell & Co. of England was formed in 1845 by William Livesley and Edwin Powell, potters, and Frederick Bishop, a lawyer with cash to invest.