Mobile menu

Chelsea tableware

Each of these plates feature accurately reproduced botanical specimens. It is not known for certain where the Chelsea factory's ceramic painters obtained their inspiration, but the easiest access to fresh and dried botanical specimens was the nearby Chelsea Physic Garden. Some of the insects however are depicted in such fantastic colours that they must have been the invention of the factory's painters. The tureens were intended to enliven a dessert course. They take the forms of fruit and vegetables that would have been particularly exotic and expensive to grow. The shapes may have been taken from plaster moulds from fresh vegetables purchased at a market, but the more exotic fruit, such as the melons, were perhaps observed in greenhouses. Although prototypes for this botanical ware could be found in Meissen porcelain and in contemporary silver, the range, ingenuity and accuracy of Chelsea’s playful pieces were unprecedented.