a tale of teacups

Barbara Barry Curtain Call by Wedgwood.

In honour of the tabletop market going on right now in New York, today I'd like to talk about teacups. Tabletop market is a twice-yearly event that takes place at 41 Madison Ave., a magnificent Manhattan office tower filled with showrooms for all of the world's top tabletop manufacturers. I have visited the Wedgwood showroom there, though have never attended tabletop market. I'd love to. I adore all things tabletop. Now, about the teacup. I always judge a china pattern by its teacup. The shape's the thing. Here's my bias: Just say no to tin can teacups! Give me curves, tapers, trumpets. Above is one of my favourite shapes - Wedgwood calls it the peony shape. Deep curved bowl, delicate footed base, flared rim and elegant curved handle. Love.

Above is my wedding china. It's Alice by Royal Doulton. Here's another shape to love. Not as much flourish as the one above but still a lovely little foot and a classic trumpet shape bowl. 

Intaglio by Wedgwood. At first glance the sides of this cup look straight, but no, there's an ever so subtle taper to the sides, and the incredible angular handle elevates this to the realm of the desirable in my mind. The embossing detail is all the embellishment this cup needs. I first fell for this pattern when I used it when styling this photo a couple of years ago. Photographer Edward Pond and I worked on this together - one of my favourite shoots.

And finally, below an example of the offending tin can teacup.

Please, don't serve me tea in one of these. I'm told the shape has become ubiquitous thanks to the increasing role of men in the decision-making process when choosing wedding china. So sad. These opinionated men want to have a say, but aren't secure enough in their masculinity to hold on to a curvy cup - or even own one. Please. Thanks to them, we get this. Fine bone china made into the shape of a can of Coke. I weep.