An Early Shelley Beauty

Hello Tea Friends,
This summer I was blessed to travel to London. Our schedule was tight and there wasn't that much time for antique shopping. I've always wanted to go to the booths and stores on Portobello Road. 

It just seems like a dream place for antique and tea cup collectors. I could spend literally hours sifting through all of the tea cups in search of a Shelley (my favorite).

(Internet stock image)
Such fun exploring!

My close friend arrived in London a week after we left. She is a complete Anglophile and visits London quite frequently. I've taught her a bit about afternoon tea and my favorite potteries. For the last couple of years she has searched for a Shelley among the tables of teacups to no avail.
Finally this past June she found the most exquisite pre-Shelley teacup and saucer in pristine condition and gifted it to me for my birthday.

 Antique Cup Shape or early Queen Anne

Some History
The original "Shelley" potteries were built by Henry Wileman in 1860 and were named Foley China Works. 
J.B. Shelley joined the company as a traveling salesperson in 1862. Ten years later Wileman and Shelley became partners and formed Wileman & Co. They used the trade name Foley China from 1890-1910. In 1910 the trade name changed to Shelley. Between 1910 and 1916 the words "Late Foley" appeared as the back stamp. This caused much confusion because other companies were also using the name Foley.
(Source~ Shelley Tea Ware Patterns)


The artistry is really evident. The hue of green is quite pretty and not usually seen on teacups. Love the hand painted leaves.

The cup was produced between 1890-1910. 
It appears as its never been used. 

Octagonal shape
Foley/Shelley were pioneers of unique cup shapes

Most Shelley and Foley have pattern numbers by the back stamp. Later date Shelleys may have pattern names too. I know I've shared this book before, but it's such a great resource in looking up pattern names, dates and tea cup shapes.

I will always cherish this wonderful gift. It seems to have more significance because it was found in London.

Thank you for visiting,


  1. Nora, just came over from Antiques and Teacups. I love learning more about the potteries. And I agree, the wonderful gift has more significance because it was found in London! Am going to follow your blog.

  2. Nora, I loved this post. What a wonderfully old tea cup. I don`t own a Shelley but it is always on my radar. Thanks for sharing. Sylvia D.

  3. What a beautiful teacup! I love the octagonal shape. Thank goodness for friends who keep their eyes out for pretty teawares for us.

  4. Wonderful Nora! I love Wileman/Shelley teacups, and especially that Queen Anne shape. The pattern is one I haven't seen before and that's always fun. I love the book, and use mine often. I have mixed feelings about is a bit claustrophobic with the crowds...but usually worth it ti persevere. Have a great week and thanks for linking to Tuesday Cuppa Tea!

  5. I simply loved learning about the “ Shelley “ Your cup is gorgeous and so unique. Thanks for sharing your experience. It certainly made my teatime enjoyable !!!

  6. So beautiful Nora! Oh, how I would love to go to London some day. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  7. How wonderful to visit Portobello. Love the teacup. Thanks for visiting me at Delights of the Heart.

  8. It is so thrilling to see this cup and saucer and hear the story about it! Glad you had a wonderful trip and shared it here at my blog party!

  9. Hello, Nora, Thanks so much for coming over to visit me at Marmelade Gypsy. I know the Atelier is closing the Klimt exhibit I posted in January but I would recommend checking it out to see what they have going when you visit, because the experience itself is amazing.

    As I was looking down your blog I was delighted to see this post on Portobello Road. The series of posts I'm doing now (mostly, with time out for occasional breaks from travel!) will take us to England next and one of my most delightful experiences was that of visiting Portobello Road. The Shelley cup is stunning. I didn't know of this pottery before and I am impressed with its delicate and elegant beauty. What a splendid find!


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