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Milk Jug Shapes

(Updated 07/06/21)

After the introduction of tea to European traders during the 16th century it was the custom for many years to drink it black and adding milk was not even considered. One of the earliest references to adding milk was in 1684 when Madame de Sevigne recommended the practice to her daughter in a letter, while Dutch delegates to the Chinese emperor also reported seeing tea consumed with warm milk.
Despite the preference of most Chinese for green tea, the trend to add milk to black tea in England gradually began to grow in popularity. Many considered it had medicinal benefits . The first reference to a specific vessel for pouring milk is in 1698 when Lady Russell described to her daughter “little bottles to pour milk out for tea”. By 1702 there were example of silver jugs known as milk pots or milk ewers and by 1796 the East India Company was carrying porcelain milk jugs in their cargo. In the 19th and 20th century we see the growth in tea sets. It was commonly thought that each tea set would have its own unique shape milk jug however, whilst that is largely true for Wileman wares, there are several examples of Shelley making multiple use of shapes. For example, Doric, Kenneth and Vincent tea sets all used the same shaped jug. (See Note at bottom of page). Coffee sets usually came with smaller jugs supplied, often referred to as creamers.

< Click/tap on the images below for an enlarged view >
China Sets

1) This is a new and ongoing study. We currently have no information or images for the following shapes : Ascot, Boston,
    Chester, Devon, Devonshire, Essex, Hyderabad, Lincoln, Ovide, Princess, Roman, Richelieu, Savoy, Strand, Stratford,
    Warwick or Worcester. Anyone with one of these jugs, or who has a jug listed above supplied as part of another shaped set, is
    invited to send details with photograps to our Research Officer -

2) The following cup shapes share the same jug shape: Antique & Queen Anne ; Doric, Kenneth & Vincent; Gainsborough-late & Milton; Henley & Court-late; New York & Norman; Mode & Vogue.

3) Richmond Windsor and Gainsborough shaped jugs were often used with other sets.

4) Doric has also been found with New York shape.

5) Perth has been used with the New Cambridge shape.