New vintage teacups

August 23, 2023 | 6 Comments

Last week I acquired some new vintage teacups from a friend. She recently discovered a number of boxes full of her grandmother’s china (apparently she liked collecting individual teacups) and after the family members took what they wanted there were 9 teacups left. 

I ended up taking four of them!

I know, I know, I don’t need anymore but she wanted me to take them! 🙂

As I’m not using watercolour in this current sketchbook I did four quick side views of the cups in watercolour pencils (using the Colour4Life set) to document my acquisition on the day! But I will look forward to doing full watercolour sketches in the coming weeks.

After putting together my Teacups course earlier in the year I have a much clearer idea of what type of cup patterns are my favourite to sketch and so three of these cups were chosen for that reason.

What makes a good pattern?

A good pattern IMO is one that is repeated around the curved shape of the cup and saucer. I love seeing how the motif is modified from the cup to the saucer to the plate. (BTW most of these cups have a matching plate as well). This is the most important characteristic of the pattern but also…

  • Complex coloured patterns on white are easy to sketch!
  • Floral designs are fun to do loosely in watercolour and although I’m not a really pretty pink floral type of person I do enjoy using my pink pigments when sketching teacups!

The pattern is only one consideration in choosing a teacup…

  • I’m always looking out for different-shaped cups and handles and love anything that is scalloped or fluted.
  • I’m quite fussy about the quality of china so the fourth cup was chosen because I expected it would be a good everyday one to drink from.
  • I also like acquiring new brands as well so it’s cool to now have a Royal Stafford, a Royal Stuart and a Queen Anne. And it’s always good to have another Royal Doulton.

Ah! So much goes into a good teacup! I will enjoy using and sketching these.

Just a reminder: My Teacups course is currently available as a Self-Paced course. Find out more here!


  • Cathy Inzer says:

    I love your sketches of your teacups! I’m especially appreciative of your use of colored (& watercolor) pencils in your sketches.

    Liz, what is your favorite everyday teacup? My sister loves tea and I would like to get her one. Here in the US, it’s not well-known that drinking tea from a tea-cup makes a difference!

    Thanks for your wonderful blog!

    • Liz Steel says:

      thanks Cathy! Don’t have a favourite cup (that would be impossible to define!) but I rotate through them over time. I buy most of mine from Australian brands such as T2 or Ashdene


    Thank you Liz,
    what a lucky lady you are to receive such beautiful tea sets. You can NEVER have enough especially when they are a beautiful as these. Your sketching and colours are so lovely. I am lucky enough to have a number of tea cups and saucers some with sugar bowls and milk jugs to match. I am really looking forward to getting further into this course still working on Water Colour. My darling therapy companion dog has been very unwell for a few months and had to see a Specialist Vet and LOTS of Tests etc such as bloods, X-rays, CTs and having his lungs washed out , he has been on lots of meds which are making him quite unwell but I think he is now on the right path, this has taken up a lot of my time everyday and as well as that I have been very worried about him he means the world to me , I can always catch up on lessons . I do a little when I can. I also had two weeks without computers etc and boy that was awful, have no idea what caused the whole thing but they are almost completely OK now just a few things need tweaked. I am finding that being 78 almost I am not as quick at getting on top of things these days like I used to but I never give in. Thanks again Liz for these wonderful Sketching Now messages I really love getting them always many things of interest.

  • Jamie C says:

    Stunning cups! These look fun to sketch!

Leave a Reply