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'Maori' design cup, saucer & plate: C.16 & A & B-1993

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'Maori' design cup, saucer & plate


Factory: Royal Doulton




Bone china cup, saucer and plate, transfer-printed in black, painted and brownish-red, with a 'Maori' border pattern, and gilt

Shallow cylindrical cup with ear-shaped handle, decorated on the exterior with a wide band of Maori ornament. The rim and edges of the handle have narrow gilt lines and there is a longitudinal stroke down the back of the handle. The circular saucer and plate each have shallow sloping sides and a flat centre, resting on a slight footring. Each has a band of Maori ornament on the rim and a gilt band on the outer edge.


History note: Given to the donor on leaving New Zealand in 1932.

Legal notes

Given by Mrs C. Carrington

Place(s) associated

  • Burslem ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (1993-06-07) by Carrington, C., Mrs


George V
Circa 1922 CE - 1930 CE


Doulton, founded c.1815, originally made utility ceramics, such as drainpipes, stoneware jugs and ornamental bottles. Decorative stoneware and architectural terracotta were introduced at Lambeth in the mid 1860s and the Burslem factory was opened in the 1880s, specialising in earthenware and bone china, including dinner services and other household items. In 1901, Edward VII granted the Royal warrant to the factory. Royal Doulton ware was widely available in both Australia and New Zealand, and was exhibited at the New Zealand International Exhibition in Christchurch, 1906-07.

This trio (cup, saucer and plate) is an example of early twentieth-century Royal Doulton Series Ware, produced to depict different characters or scenes and decorated with a printed outline filled with hand-painted colours. Maori Art Ware in bone china was introduced when New Zealand attained Dominion status in 1907, and an earthenware version, with the option of a white or yellow or orange ground was introduced for the New Zealand and South Seas International Exhibition at Dunedin in 1925-26. The most striking feature of Maori Art Wares was the border decoration in black and red which was derived from kōwhaiwhai, the decorated rafters of Maori meeting houses, traditionally painted in white and red clays and black charcoal in a shark liver oil medium. Plates sometimes also feature New Zealand imagery, such as a sheep farmer and flock or a Maori woman and child, and the same border design is found on plates and jugs with a picture of a British soldier, 1915-c.1920. The bone china tea ware pattern of borders only illustrated by this cup, saucer, and plate was discontinued in 1940. From about 1905 to 1923 Doulton's Lambeth pottery also produced 'Maori ware', or 'Kia Ora ware' in salt-glazed stoneware and majolica-glazed stoneware decorated with relief masks and other Maori motifs.

Two suggestions have been made for the origin of the border design. It could have been based on illustrations of kōwhaiwhai patterns in A. Hamilton's 'Maori Art', Dunedin, 1897, patterns 1-3 and 22-26, or have been provided by the Māori politician, Sir Āpirana Ngata (1874-1950), who is said to have commissioned the Doulton series.

School or Style


Components of the work

Decoration composed of ceramic printing colour ( black) enamel ( brownish-red) gold
Saucer Diameter 13.4 cm Height 1.7 cm
Plate Diameter 15.5 cm Height 1.4 cm
Cup Height 5.4 cm Width 10 cm

Materials used in production

Glazing (coating)
Bone china

Techniques used in production

Glaze : Bone china, transfer-printed in black, painted in brownish-red enamel, and gilt

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: circular mark

  • Method of creation: Printed in black
  • Type: Factory mark

Inscription present: rosette mark with crown and lion above

  • Method of creation: Printed in green
  • Type: Factory mark
  • Text: E4988
  • Location: On cup and saucer
  • Method of creation: Painted in black
  • Type: Factory mark
  • Text: E4988/.E
  • Location: On plate
  • Method of creation: Painted in black
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: 3-2-30
  • Location: On plate
  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Mark
  • Text: 22
  • Location: On saucer
  • Method of creation: Impressed
  • Type: Mark

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.16 & A & B-1993
Primary reference Number: 38647
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 18 December 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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