A guide to Bute cups


"Bute" or "common-shape" cups were produced  by at least 20 different potteries in Britain during the early growth of the china industry in the period from about 1780 to 1820.  Few makers  put identifying marks on the base of their cups, but many can be identified by features like handle shapes. Here are some examples.

This guide will help you trace a cup to the factory which made it. More help can be found in "A Compendium of British Cups" by Michael Berthoud. Since most makers did not use marks, many cups cannot be identified. Future research may reveal which of the known porcelain and china potteries made these cups. 


To use the guide click on pictures which match your cup and follow the links to examples of each type.  Clicking on a cup picture will show an enlargement. You can then click on links to move to pages on the different makers or groups of similar cups where the makers are unknown. I am building this site to help me learn about Bute cups and in the hope that it will develop into a useful reference for other enthusiasts. I have already had help from collectors and dealers.  They are thanked in the Notes where I explain how the measurements of the cups were made and also ask for your help in this project.

Features used to trace factories are: Marks on the base (uncommon), Handle shapes (perhaps the most useful feature after marks because they were cast in moulds), Pattern numbers on the base (only used by some makers), Decoration, Body (hard-paste, bone-china, colour, crazing, translucency, etc), Shape of cup and base (thickness of the cup walls, depth of cavity under base).  This colour indicates confident identification. In most cases identification is tentative!


Marks are found on cups made by Caughley, Davenport, Derby, Miles Mason, Minton, Spode, Wedgwood and others. Click on the picture to see examples.

Caughley Spode Spode Davenport Derby
"seal" marks Miles Mason Minton Wedgwood

 Handle shapes are shown below.  Handles were made in moulds so are quite consistent. Distinguishing their fine points is important as some types can guide us quickly to the maker. Click on picture to see the varieties within each broad type. Click on "French" + others for more angular shapes or handles that are unlike any picture. White arrows indicate distinguishing features.

no handle simple loop simple loop + rest simple loop + spur loop + dent loop + 2 kinks
loop + 1 kink + rest loop + 1 kink ring square + others 7-shaped "Chinese"

Bute shaped teabowls

Bute shaped cups without handles were produced by:  Caughley, Coalport, Derby, Minton, New Hall (seen in patterns 223, 229 and 231), and Worcester from the 1780s. (Examples available for makers in bold.) Caughley also made chinese style handles and Derby made simple loop handles.


Caughley
Caughley teabowl with no handle with S mark (3mm high) in underglaze blue on the base. Number 4 in gilt on vertical side of base recess.  Fine potting in body with typical straw transparency. (aj107, h54, w76.5, b36.8 )
Caughley teabowl with no handle and reeding which fades towards the base.  Fine potting in body with typical straw transparency. (a041, h58.5, w80.9, b37.2 )440
Coalport
 A  teabowl with no handle or mark. Rather course body. Walls thicker towards base and curving into rounded bottom inside. Decorated with transfer "lily" pattern and gilt. Possibly Coalport(aj133, h60, w78.7, b39.4)
 A  teabowl with no handle or mark. Neat potting with walls thicker towards base and curving into rounded bottom inside. Probably Coalport(aj718, h58.1, w78.8, b37.4 (43.4))
Derby
Derby teabowl with no handle with puce mark and pattern 129 on the base. Number 9 also impressed near bevelled side of base recess.  Neat potting in creamy body with slightly straw transparency. (aj107, h54, w76.5, b36.8 )
Derby teabowl with no handle with puce mark and pattern 386 on the base.  (a038, h61, w77.5, b36)
Minton
Teabowl without handle in fine blueish body. Cup sides curve into base inside. No mark. Decoration is similar to pattern number 91 but without the sprigs below the border (Cumming and Berthoud, 1997). Shape and size like aj229 below. Matching saucer with straight sides. Probably Minton. (aj369, h58.6, w76.6, b35.9 (39.8) )
New Hall
New Hall teabowl with no handle. No mark but this is pattern number 229. It came in a complete service so attribution was helped by other pieces in the service.  (a054, h64, w77)
Worcester
Worcester teabowl with no handle. Blueish body with slight yellow tinge to grey transparency. Marked on base with handpainted underglaze crescent.  Came as trio with similarly marked saucer and bute shaped coffee cup. (aj586,  h56.6, w79.3, b36.1(42))
Chinese style handle

Cups with "Chinese" style handles were made by  Caughley from the 1780s. Coffee cups with a simple loop handle and Bute cups with a Spode type handle are also found.


Caughley
Caughley cup with Chinese style handle with thumb rest and S mark (3mm high) in underglaze blue on the base. Body with typical yellow straw transparency.    (a017 )
Caughley coffee cup with Chinese style handle without a thumb rest and S mark (3mm high) in underglaze blue on the base. Body with typical yellow straw transparency.    (aj126  h60.8, w64.1, b33.2 handle: h17.2, v30.5, w6.1, 5)
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