Sometimes vintage china can be challenging to photograph. Pale patterns, in particular, can looked washed out in photographs yet be beautiful in person. As much as I like a challenge, I’m very happy when I find china that I can tell right away is going to be photogenic – I can’t wait to wait to start clicking away.
This bright yellow coffee cup and saucer, by E Hughes & Co is one such piece. In late 1880 Edward Hughes set up business with his son-in-law Enoch Massey as E. Hughes & Co at the Opal China Works, Fenton in Staffordshire. He managed the factory until his son Frederick Stuart Hughes took over and ran it until 1941, when wartime meant the factory had to close. The backstamp on this cup and saucer shows that it was made between 1914 and 1941, so it’s at least 70 years old!
The cup and saucer were bought by a customer in the US to replace a cup and saucer that his fiancé had bought but that had been unfortunately damaged in transit. Understandably a little worried whether this set would reach them safely, the customer asked for it to be packed as if it were going to be kicked down a flight of stairs! Fortunately, my mum, Mrs B, was well-prepared. Her meticulous packing meant that the cup and saucer arrived safely across the other side of the ocean in perfect condition. Phew!