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Soup cup and saucer from ‘Travel’ series (balloon): C.16 & A-1997

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)


Soup cup and saucer from ‘Travel’ series (balloon)


Factory: Wedgwood
Designer: Ravilious, Eric William




Earthenware soup cup and saucer, printed underglaze in black and painted overglaze in pale turquoise enamel.

'Windsor Grey' body. The cup, a flattened hemisphere, sits on a narrow recessed foot; it has two loop handles on opposite sides. The saucer (A) has shallow, curved sides with a central depression. The interior of the cup is decorated with `Ballooning' from `Travel' pattern: a turquoise-topped hot air balloon with a tiny figure in its basket, set between grey clouds; the outside is decorated round the top with black weather cones (?) alternating with turquoise semi-circles under curved black lines. The saucer is decorated en suite.


History note: Purchased from 'Gabor Cossa', Trumpington Street, Cambridge.

Legal notes

Given by the Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum

Place(s) associated

  • Etruria ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1997-03-03) by The Friends of the Fitzwilliam Museum


20th Century, Mid#
Elizabeth II
Production date: AD 1954


Eric Ravilious (1903-42) studied engraving, illustration and colour printing at the Royal College of Art and by 1926-28 was exhibiting watercolours, producing book illustrations and commissioned to paint murals. In 1930 he married Eileen Lucy "Tirzah" Garwood (1908-1951) also a noted artist and engraver. From around 1936, he became one of Wedgwood’s most prolific freelance designers, although many of his designs were not produced in quantity until after World War II, during which he was killed while serving as a war artist with the Royal Marines. Wedgwood 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 Ravilious’ style.

Ravilious produced at least seven Wedgwood tableware pattern series, each with a number of vignettes on a single everyday theme, and sometimes also drew the tableware shapes for additions such as jam-pots. ‘Travel’ was designed c.1937 and first made in 1953. It was printed in black on a newly-introduced Windsor Grey body and hand coloured. A ‘Travel’ dinner service for six, depicting travel through snow and by balloon, bus, train, aeroplane, steamboat and sail, cost £17 3s 6d. Ravilious also designed commemorative wares, including a Coronation Mug for Edward VIII (1936), later adapted for the coronations of both George VI and Elizabeth II; a mug celebrating the company’s relocation to Barlaston (1939); and a ‘Boat Race Day’ bowl, cup and stand (1938). Earlier designs were engraved at the factory from Ravilious’ drawings, but the ‘Boat Race’ images were lithographs drawn by Ravilious himself for direct application to the ware.

People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Decoration composed of enamel ( pale turquoise)
Saucer (A) Diameter 16.5 cm Height 2.2 cm
Cup Height 5.4 cm Width 17 cm

Materials used in production

'Windsor Grey' coloured body Earthenware

Techniques used in production

Moulding : Earthenware, printed in black and painted in enamel
Glazing (coating)

Inscription or legends present

  • Location: On the base of cup and saucer
  • Method of creation: Printed in black
  • Type: Factory mark

Inscription present: circular mark, 'WEDGWOOD / MADE IN ENGLAND' in the centre

  • Location: On base of cup and saucer
  • Method of creation: Printed in black
  • Type: Factory mark
  • Text: WEDGWOOD/1 F 54
  • Location: On the base of the saucer
  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Factory mark

Inscription present: (‘IE’ may be ‘4’)

  • Text: TK 472/IE
  • Location: On the saucer
  • Method of creation: Painted in pale red
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: 4
  • Location: On the base of the cup
  • Method of creation: Painted in red enamel
  • Type: Mark

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.16 & A-1997
Primary reference Number: 12105
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 6 September 2023 Last processed: Monday 18 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

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

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