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

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