D1216. Set of Six Blue and White Dragon Pattern Egg Cups
Delft, circa 1720
Each marked D 4 in blue, possibly for De Dissel (The Pole) factory
Each of goblet shape with a brown-edged hemispherical cup and flaring circular foot painted with a snarling dragon amidst a profusion of flowering branches, the stem with a marbleized knop below a narrow dentil border.
Heights: 7 cm. (2.8 in.)
Egg cups, found over the centuries in many shapes and with a vast array of designs, have existed since prehistoric times. However, with the fall of classic civilization in the West and in the East, egg cups either disappeared temporarily from domestic use or continued in use but were made of materials that have not survived, as the next evidence of egg cups does not appear until the 1600s in England. At this time the elegant but impractical silver egg cup emerged in noble and aristocratic houses, and its humble wooden counterpart for serving hard-boiled eggs arrived on the tables of the less prosperous. A century later in France, Louis XV was seen to eat eggs frequently from egg cups (probably of Sèvres porcelain), and Louis XVI occasionally entertained his courtiers by “beheading” the egg in its cup with the brisk slice of a knife -an unintentionally ironic reference to his own visit to the guillotine in 1793. But the egg cup, probably because of its singular function and relative fragility, did not spread rapidly across Europe as a useful adjunct to the breakfast table until the mid nineteenth century -the Victorian Period- when the Industrial Revolution encouraged the mass production and extensive marketing of all manner of table wares to the rising middle class. Until that time, egg cups, particularly in pottery and porcelain, were special orders and eighteenth-century Delftware examples were nearly as rare in their time as they are today.
- Minor rim frittings
- One repaired chip to base