As an Anglophile and avid afternoon tea drinker, it probably comes as no surprise that I’m a huge fan of historical period dramas, cosy mysteries, and a cracking good British sitcom. I’ve whiled away many a happy hour with a cup (or more usually pot) of tea while spending time with the Bennets, Gibsons or Hardcastles, or enjoying a glimpse of the views of wisteria and sunshine from San Salvatore or the lush greenness of Brokenwood or the English countryside.
One of the things I habitually do when I’m watching – and I can’t seem to stop doing it – is notice the teacups people use to take tea in these various movies or series. I mean, there always seems to be someone taking tea at some point!
It’s probably partly the historian/researcher part of me that’s interested in the study of history that accounts for it – always thought it’d be an interesting profession to research the everyday life that would help ensure historical dramas were made as historically accurate as possible.
Or, it could just be the afternoon tea-lover in me who enjoys seeing the range of teaware that are used in favorite shows!
And of course, it’s hard not to fall in love with the various patterns in use. Which has led me to also get in the habit of acquiring select ones to add to my collection of teacups.
That is, if I can figure out what they are! In my experience, it’s harder than one might think to search for a teacup based on color or shape or use in this or that movie, if that’s all you have to go on.
So, to kick off on teacups, I’ll start with Miss Marple, as depicted by Joan Hickson. I don’t care what anyone says, but casting Joan Hickson as Miss Marple was a master stroke. As much as I like the other actresses who have played her, I’m of an opinion that no one holds a candle to Joan in that role.
In The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side, this Royal Crown Derby, Royal Antoinette pattern, was Miss Marple’s set.
She had it out several times that her friend, Dolly Bantry, comes over to (mostly unknowingly) impart crucial evidence about the murder.
One thing I will say about this set – it looks so fine and dainty, with its little flowers and gold trim. One might think it perfectly fits a little old lady from the quintessential English village, and in a way it does.
But it also belies the razor sharp, mystery-solving mind of Miss Marple, who is affected by no sentimentality in solving murders. “Mind like a meat cleaver” is how I think someone describes her at one point! Kudos to her creator, Agatha Christie, in my opinion, the queen of murder mystery writers and someone who, I always think, must have been of similar mind.
This is one teaset I wish I could get the whole teaset on – the footed teacup, and the plump, beautiful shape of the teapot really catches the eye. The gold filigree to me reminds me a bit of Medieval illumination – I just think this pattern really stands out among china patterns.
For reference, where to find this Royal Crown Derby pattern on Replacements.com.
What is the china pattern in Murder at the Vicarage, with Joan Hickson?
Hi Wendy! That’s the Royal Antoinette pattern from Royal Crown Derby, with the dainty pink roses and gold trimming
Royal Antoinette is the pattern in ‘The Mirror Cracked…’
The pattern in Murder at the Vicarage (1986) is different. It is is used by the Vicar and his wife in at least three scenes , It has gold trim, tall cups, the pattern is not flowery, and the pattern is repeated inside the cups.
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Yes, I remember it from the Mirror Cracked as Jane Marple’s specifically…I’ll have to take another look at Murder in the Vicarage for what was used by the Vicar and his wife, thanks for the heads up!
Did you ever get a chance to see the china pattern in “Murder at the Vicarage” – the Joan Hickson version? It makes many appearances throughout the episode and I’d love to know what it is. I think from the shape of the tea cup and tea pot, it is some type of Wedgwood, but haven’t been able to identify it.
Wendy and Ellen, it’s Schumann-Bavaria / “Empress Dresden Flowers.” (Flat cup, Handle B.) And it’s the same china as in Poirot’s “Wasp Nest” episode (at the wasp-y house tea table).
Hi Joanna – thank you so much; I confess I hadn’t gotten back to looking for it, you’ve saved me the effort 🙂 I didn’t notice it in the Wasp Nest episode, but I’ll look for it there as well. Many thanks!
oh sorry, I already replied! Please delete today’s comment. I got a notification about Wendy’s question and didn’t see my previous answer!