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King’s College Dinner Service (soup plate): C.2B-1969

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Object information

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King’s College Dinner Service (soup plate)


Factory: Josiah Wedgwood & Sons
Designer: Guyatt, Richard Talbot




Earthenware, printed underglaze in black, glazed and gilded.

Cream-coloured earthenware (Queen's Ware) soup plate. In the middle, within a gilt circle, is a five-layer Tudor rose made up of wavy ribbons and true lovers' knots, over the centre of which are the initials 'HR' with below to left 'VII', to right 'VIII' and below them, 'VI'. On the rim are ten ‘h’s, each formed by a dragon with its neck through a cleft stake, each stake decorated with seven gilt flicks. The underside is undecorated, fully glazed and has a narrow raised foot-rim.


History note: Commissioned by King's College, Cambridge

Legal notes

Given by A.N.L. Munby, King's College

Measurements and weight

Diameter: 23.1 cm
Height: 3.2 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Barlaston ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1969-03-13) by Munby, A. N. L.


20th Century, Mid#
Elizabeth II
Production date: AD 1959


King’s originally only ordered the 10” dinner plate, but added the 9” pudding plate in 1956 and the soup plate a couple of years later. The Fitzwilliam holds an example of each, as well as an unglazed sample of the soup plate and examples from Guyatt’s ‘Oranges and Lemons’ lemonade set and of commemorative mugs he designed for Wedgwood, as well as Wedgwood Queen’s ware designed by Eric Ravilious.

Richard Gerald Talbot Guyatt CBE (1914-2007) began his career as a freelance graphic designer with posters for Shell-Mex and BP and book illustrations. At the Royal College of Art, where he was a professor from 1948 and later rector, he lead the introduction of education in graphic design and influenced subsequent expansion into typography, illustration, printmaking, photography, film and television design. From 1952-55 and 1967-70 Guyatt was consultant designer to Wedgwood. The company had revived the use of engraved designs in the mid 1930s – a mode of decoration which allowed the artist’s own work and ‘hand-writing’ to be reproduced in a factory setting, and well suited to Guyatt’s style. His design for this dinner service for the High Table of Kings College, Cambridge, was recorded on 18 March 1954. The body is listed as ‘CC’ (cream coloured earthenware, or ‘Queen’s ware’), and pattern book entry, no. G5558, notes it was first ‘printed in sepia, gilt, with a narrow band at edge line below verge in gold which was sanded’, though later versions are printed in black. Since 1971, when the College ordered a new 2,500 piece service, it has been made in metallized bone china with over-glaze printing, by Wedgwood's Hotel Division. The design is based on various motifs in the tracery lights of the King’s College Chapel windows. The central Tudor Rose encloses the ciphers of Henry VI, who founded the College in 1441, Henry VII and Henry VIII.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of ceramic printing colour ( black) gold

Materials used in production

leadless Clear glaze
Cream-coloured earthenware

Techniques used in production

Moulding : Earthenware, printed in black, glazed and gilded
Glazing (coating)

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: circular backstamp

  • Location: On the base
  • Method of creation: Printed in black
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: WEDGWOOD/1 S 59
  • Location: On the base
  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: 5
  • Location: On the base
  • Method of creation: Printed in green
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: A
  • Location: On the base
  • Method of creation: Printed in green
  • Type: Mark

Inscription present: with another mark underneath, possibly 'A'?

  • Text: GL 5558
  • Location: On the base
  • Method of creation: Painted faintly in red enamel
  • Type: Mark

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.2B-1969
Primary reference Number: 11765
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Wednesday 13 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "King’s College Dinner Service (soup plate)" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-06-21 07:39:14

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