Ballet stars: Colclough vintage china gems

When I started buying Colclough china the first sets that I bought were from the Ballet and Harlequin ranges. These simple and elegant tea sets were the first examples of non-flowered vintage china that I’d seen and I loved them! At first I didn’t realise that there were two designs. I had noticed that some of the cups had less gold on them and were a slightly different shape but the differences are so subtle, I had thought it was individual variation, particularly because the different design names are used inconsistently.

Then I started examining them more closely and did some more reading and realised that there are indeed two different designs. Whilst the saucers and plates are the same, the cups are slightly different. The cup in the first picture is Harlequin and the cup in the picture below is Ballet.

Colclough Harlequin pink vintage tea set

Colclough’s Harlequin design

Colclough's Ballet pink vintage tea set

Colclough’s Ballet design

The Harlequin cup doesn’t have a gold line inside the rim of the cup and the white around the base is narrower giving the cup a more “cinched in” look. I like them both. The beauty of the simple design and colour of this china is that the pieces match so well with a variety of other china – patterned or plain.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Colclough started making Royal Vale china after they were given a royal licence.  But even before that the company had been making china with a ‘Vale bone china’  backstamp after Colclough’s Vale Potteries in Longton, Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire.  I usually associate Vale and Royal Vale china with this classic shaped cup (below). The plain pastel colours have also been very popular and I was thrilled to find these spotty and starry patterns!

Royal Vale pastel coloured tea sets

I love the muted pastel hues of these tea sets!

This one I made up from a spare spotty saucer and starry cup and plate. It went to a lovely home in Malaysia.

Royal Vale vintage china tea set

Royal Vale’s spotty and starry china – gorgeous!

9 responses to “Ballet stars: Colclough vintage china gems

  1. Been rooting in the attic and found four pastel Colclough tea cups, saucers and plates. Pink, lemon, green and blue. So lovely for the…er…summer we are supposed to be having ha ha. Are they a common style compared to the flowery ones? They are the Ballet design. Love all the delicate designs but like the plain ones best. Thanks for all the info, much appreciated. maz

    • Hey Maz,
      There are lots of different Colclough patterns but the Ballet design (and the very similar Harlequin design) are probably the most popular and sought after. The Ballet sets are some of my favourites too because of their simplicity. Thanks for following my blog! Let me know if you have any other questions. Rachel

  2. Hi i have a pink Colclough set that looks like the Ballet collection, however mine has gold flowers on too and i cant find the same anywhere. As well as Colclough written in gold on the bottom a couple of the pieces have 0596 on them too. Anybody any ideas?

    • Hi Julie, Your Colclough set sounds really pretty. We’ve had some sets before which are in the Ballet shape and pink colour but with big pink roses on, and we’ve also had some green and blue Ballet pieces with gold fern patterns over the top. However, we’ve not yet come across ones with gold flowers. Colclough seemed to use the Ballet shape and colours as as base for a number of different patterns though so I imagine that there might be even more variations out there. Hope this helps! Rachel

  3. Hi Rachel,
    I have what I presume is the ballet design but with a gold pattern around all of the edges of the cups,saucers and plates.
    I am missing the full trio of the light grey,any suggestions where I can possibly get the trio from please.
    Thanks in anticipation,

    • Hi Cheryl, Sorry only just spotted your comment! Your tea set sounds lovely and the ballet design did sometimes come with additional patterns around the edges. We don’t have anything like that at the moment and unfortunately I don’t have any good suggestions about where to find the trio. All I can suggest is looking on ebay/gumtree etc. Or maybe if you live near any local antiques/vintage shops, you could ask them to keep a look out for the pattern for you. Good luck! Rachel

  4. Hi! I’ve got a Royal Vale cup and saucer set that I’m a little confused about which I was hoping you might have some information on. The tea cup is unusual in that the handle looks identical to the “Ballet” set, but the cup lacks the gold gild line around the inside, and also it only has a single gold stripe around the outside of the cup instead of a double, which makes it look closer to the “Harlequin” design. It’s a mix of features from both sets, and I’m just curious if you’ve come across this before. Since it’s a combination of both, maybe we should call it the “Ballequin” set! Any thoughts?

    • Hey Emma, Hmm that’s an interesting one. I can’t remember seeing one like that before but it wouldn’t surprise me if RV did some variations. Does the cup have a mark underneath to indicate that it might be a second? If it does, perhaps the gold lines were missed off it by accident in the decoration process. If it doesn’t maybe they did decide to do a slight variation on the two patterns. Sorry not to be of much help!

      • Thanks for replying so quickly! I have to be honest and admit that I don’t know what kind of mark is used to indicate a second when it comes to bone china, sorry! Nothing looks out of the ordinary on the underside of the cup though, just the RV mark and the gold numbering “7409.” I suppose then that it might just be a variation/combination of these two patterns. Curious.

        Also, since this is a variant you’ve not encountered before, I could send you a couple of photos via email if you’d like, just for your reference. Let me know if photos are any good to you or not 🙂

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