State Library of South AustraliaState Library of South Australia

Scottie dog china tea set

Catalogue record

Place of Creation: Japan

Date of creation : c1934

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Format : Toy

Donated by Barbara Mellor

Children use tea sets to copy the tea-drinking rituals of adults and at the same time practice their table manners. Tea parties for their dolls or with siblings or friends (or cats or dogs!) have been a frequent play activity among children since the 19th century.

During the 1800s there was an expansion in the toy trade and as a result china and earthenware playthings were manufactured for children, especially small girls. These could be elaborate full sized dinner services with soup tureens, vegetable dishes, sauce boats and various sized plates, or more simply, tea or coffee sets. Large firms such as Spode and Davenport made toy tea and dinner sets, as did many other factories. These playthings are distinct from the exquisite porcelain miniatures intended for collectors. Maker's marks for the toy sets are often hard to distinguish and identify, may not be on all pieces of a set, or may be missing altogether.

Many of the tea sets that now exist in collections are no longer complete and many show the signs of the hard use they were put to by their young owners. Sets may have missing lids to tea pots and sugar bowls, broken handles or odd numbers of cups and saucers.

This Scottie Dog tea set made in 1934 has some chips and breaks, and was recently stabilised and repaired by Artlab. It was given to the Library by the same donor who played with 'Elizabeth' or 'Big Sleepy' who used this set to take tea.

Word has it that the dogs represented in this tea set Western Highland terriers. What do you think?

 

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