Manchester Art Gallery

coffee cup

Object description

Public: Coffee cup, white salt-glazed stoneware, with slip-cast relief panels containing naked figures and fantastic creatures. Private: Deep cylindrical coffee cup, flaring toward everted rim, with curved base on narrow footring and ribbed strap loop handle with pinched and flattened spur at lower terminal. Body slip-cast with eight vertical relief panels of fantastical creatures and naked figures. Panels comprise, from right of handle; coat of arms bearing three quatrefoils, surmounting stag and bird; crowned double-headed eagle, surmounting leafy spray; coat of arms bearing three stags, surmounting naked figure above two smaller figures flanking a crown; two figures either side of table bearing large teapot, kettle on a stove below; bearded head in profile, surmounting gryphon with dead bird in its mouth, above two seated figures flanking large heart; scene from Aesop's Fables illustrating fox and stork, surmounting figure astride a lion, above a swan; reclining naked figure, surmounting unicorn; huntsman with bow and arrow and dog, standing beneath bird in a tree, above fruit bowl(?). Off-white body containing small iron brown specks.

Display label

The Thomas Greg Collection The Greg Collection of English Pottery was given to the Gallery in 1904 by collector and amateur historian Thomas Greg. One of the great collections of English pottery, it was formed at a time when little was known about the history of ceramics in this country. Over forty years Greg systematically acquired some of the best examples of the potter's art, tracing its development over a thousand years. His collection tells the story of English pottery: of experiment and invention, triumph and downfall, from the unknown medieval craftsman to the world domination of Josiah Wedgwood. In many ways, it is a history of England itself. Greg was driven by a fascination with the past and a desire to contribute to scholarly knowledge. He gave his collection to the Gallery in the hope of inspiring a similar sense of wonder in others.