A fabulous vintage cup and saucer designed for divination. The colours of the beautifully detailed symbols on the fine bone china are rich and bold.
The exterior of the cup reads: ‘Perchance this cup will show it thee. Would’st thy fortune like to see?
Tea Leaf Reading, or Tasseography, has been practiced for centuries but became extremely popular in the west in the 19th century. This was always carried out by Fortune Tellers using plain white cups. However, some ceramic manufacturers saw a market for making ‘easy to read’ tasseography sets that people could purchase for themselves. Sets, like this, with clear symbols and instructions on how to read them, became very popular in the early 20th century.
On 28th January 1914, the last witch trial in Guernsey took place. Aimee Lake was found guilty of witchcraft by using tea leaf divination. She told her client that she had been bewitched just as her deceased husband had been, but the client refused to pay the agreed amount. Aimee told her that unless she paid the full amount by a certain date she would die, so the client reported her to the local constable. The full story can be read here: https://guernseydonkey.com/the-last-witchcraft-trial-in-guernsey/
This tasseography set was manufactured in 1985. The bottom of both the cup and saucer reads:
Royal Kendal, fine bone china. Made in England. Copyright H&M (L) Ltd, 1985. Royal Kendal was a trade name for Hudson and Middleton.
The fortune telling cup and saucer is in great condition with no chips or cracks, however there is a slight mark to the side of the cup under the word ‘thy’ as shown in the photo. The later sets appear to have been numbered. This set has a number 6 saucer and a number 12 cup.
I have sourced a set of instructions separately and a copy is included.
An easier way to read your tea leaves.