Two new vintage teacups

July 19, 2023 | 8 Comments

Back at the end of June, just before finishing the first Live Version of my Teacups course, I acquired two new vintage cups. It was a little crazy for a few days as my sister and family arrived at the same time and the only chance I got to record the event was these super quick ink and wash sketches.

A few years ago I acquired two cups that belonged to the wife of a minister who was part of my childhood. The sweet Colclough cup (seen in this article) is one of my favourites to sketch and drink from. So I was excited that my mum found the plate to complete the trio.

The other two cups are a nice addition to my collection…

  • It’s great to have a cup from the Paragon brand. It has a similar colouring to my Colclough cup but with a nice pedestal-shaped cup. I’m not a fan of the background colour extending under the floral design but that is something I can easily adjust when sketching
  • Coalport is a very special brand for me as a gift of a modern Coalport cup was the first fancy teacup in my collection. So it’s good to have a vintage Coalport now. This cup has three distinctive design features – a fluted foot, a textured pattern inside the cup and a handle that connects on top of the rim. All three features are new to my collection!

From my preliminary research of the backstamps, I believe that both of these cups date from the 1930s.

Because I immediately went into full family mode right at the time of the final Teacups livestream I’ve never officially wrapped up the course here on my blog.

So let me publicly thank everyone who was part of this truly wonderful sketching event!

It was very special to do a deep dive into one subject matter over the course of four weeks and this enabled us to really focus on specific drawing and painting skills.

We spent time systemically building skills including learning how to

  • see teacups in terms of edges, shapes and volumes
  • draw better ellipses
  • sight measure so that the ellipses of the cup rim, cup foot and saucer all aligned vertically
  • how to draw fancy cup handles from any view
  • how to analyse complex patterns and then add them to the curved form of the cup and saucer
  • how to draw complex shapes such as fluted cups.

And then when we started looking at watercolour we explored how to

  • mix lively washes for the tea, the gold edging and shadow colours
  • mix different washes for shade (warmer) and cast shadow (cooler) with lots of pigment parties
  • combine different colours together for complex patterns and decide whether to work wet-on-dry or wet-on-wet
  • explore different ways of layering shadow washes and the patterns of the teacups.

I’m sure that everyone who worked through the lessons was amazed at how complex teacups are and how many core observational skills are needed to sketch them accurately. At the same time the more elaborate the pattern the more opportunity for personal interpretation and loose renderings. Teacups have it all!

The Teacups course is available as a Self-Paced course and you can start today and work through the lessons at your own pace. I keep an eye on the classroom and I’m available to answer  your questions at any time. You’ll also have free access to any future group events that I will host inside the Teacups classroom. Find out more about Teacups here.

There are so many ways in which you can apply these skills to sketching other subjects – including sketching out on location. As I’m going through the Foundations lessons I’m constantly thinking about all the things we looked at in the Teacups Course. BTW if you missed it…a group started working through the  Foundations course together two weeks ago – last chance to join this cohort – see here for more info.

Finally – thanks again to everyone who was part of the founding cohort of the Teacups course! I loved every minute of going through the lessons with you and having a big virtual teaparty with you!


  • Lois Courtright says:

    TEACUPS! This class has been SO MUCH FUN!! My twin sister and I just finished sketching teacups together tonight! We are always learning and laughing and finding joy in the process and delight in the result!!!

    Your teacups are such an inspiration! and it has been sweet to learn along with so many who have been sharing their work and encouragement! Thanks everyone!!!

    We are grateful!


  • Ann says:

    I know you have a post about permanent inks for fountain pens but it’s a bit dated by now.

    Which ink are you using now and would say is the best (most waterproof, flows well)?


  • Teresa Pittman says:

    I loved the class! And every morning, I draw and paint my tea mug. It’s my warm up. And there are still so many different ways to sketch it. Thank you for being such an excellent teacher!

  • Jamie C says:

    The Teacups class is fantastic and I loved it so, so much! Your new vintage cups are lovely!

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