Curating a teacup collection you love isn’t always a simple task. When I first started collecting, I did not really know what caught my eye. In fact, some patterns that I did not fancy in the beginning actually became some of my favorites. My husband will quickly tell you that I thought Royal Albert Old English Rose was absolutely hideous. I have since changed my mind and have a few variations of this pattern in my collection. This has been a wonderful journey that over time has led me to curate a teacup collection that I love.

A Royal Albert Old English Rose teacup sit atop a book in front a painting with colorful roses.
Curating a teacup collection you love

Just Buy Them All

As many people do, our fondness and appreciation for vintage china can often lead us to buy everything or just about everything we find. As a dealer, I have access to a far wider range of items than the typical collector. A situation that can be both a blessing and a curse to my space. As a lover of vintage china, I find beauty in many of the different elements of a teacup. Sometimes, it is the shape of a cup, the pattern, the colors, or even the shape of the handle that can make my heart sing.

This Queen Anne cabinet teacup ticks all the boxes for me. I love the color, the beautiful roses, and the gold details. It’s just perfect! I have also come to love pieces that are heavily embellished with gold like this hot pink Royal Albert which I also have in green and teal blue.

Elements of a Curated Teacup Collection

With the vast array of beautiful pieces out there, finding what speaks to you can be confusing and daunting. Like a sensory overload, there are a few steps you can take to narrow it down. Look at the pieces you already have in your collection. What are the commonalities that you discover? Is it color? Is the shape? A particular flower? Some people will gather pieces from a certain time period like anything pre-1900s or items made in Occupied Japan. Others gravitate to all of the commemorative items made for the Royal Family and some will fill cabinets full of unique pastel pieces. These are all interesting ways to assemble and refine your tastes in vintage china.

Think Outside of the China Cabinet

Curating a teacup collection that you love also means being able to see it and appreciate its beauty. Teacups packed away in boxes do nothing to visually enhance the space around us. Realistically, not everyone lives in a mansion with endless space to store and display countless teacups. Wouldn’t that be a dream? There are solutions. Your collection is not static and neither is the way you display them. Think outside of the china cabinet!

Robin Cooper-Wood often posts her seasonal change-out of her interesting collection on Facebook. For Valentine’s Day, she has created a wonderful display of Royal Albert teacups on her tea cart. A creative way to appreciate and feature pieces from her collection. What a wonderful way to change things up!

Think of displaying your teacups seasonally. Pick a theme or color and a spot to showcase your favorite items. Teacups become more than functional pieces but a part of our homes and a reflection of our personality and tastes. When teacups move from behind the glass of a cabinet, they spark interesting conversations.

A small white table cloth is draped over a brown wood tea wagon with different pink and red Royal Albert teacups on it in 3 rows.
Photo Credit: Robin Cooper-Wood

Curating A Teacup Collection You Love May Mean Culling

A few months back, I posed the question to members of our VIP group, “What have you learned while collecting china?” I was expecting answers like, “I’ve learned about the amazing history behind china”, “I’ve learned I love them all!”, or even just “I have learned I really like Paragon teacups!” but one response stopped me in my tracks. Someone in the group responded, “I’ve learned that I don’t need to buy them all” It’s true. You don’t need to buy them all. Because if you do, it’s very hard to appreciate any single teacup hidden in an overwhelming cluster of bone china. Do you have too many? Can you appreciate and use the ones you do have? Do you need to lessen the footprint of your collection? These are all important questions.

Keeping out of Guilt

Although purchasing teacups is exciting, the truth is that oftentimes collections are not purchased but inherited. Teacups almost inherently have an emotional connection to them. Received as wedding presents, birthday and Christmas gifts, it can sometimes be hard to let go of them and the memories they represent. The stories are what make them special.

Do you have guilty pieces in your collection? Pieces that were given to you that do not suit your tastes or from someone that may no longer be in your circle? Did you inherit pieces from your mother-in-law or other relative but will never use them or love them as she did? Marie Kondo, the world-famous organizer, recommends honoring the past by setting it free. Gifts are given because we want to give joy to others. When those gifts don’t achieve their intended purpose, it’s time to send them on to their next life. It’s okay to let go. So if you want to pass these treasures on to their next owner, consider hosting an Afternoon Tea where guests get to take their teacup home with them.

Curating a Teacup Collection that you love

Managing Your Collection

Curating a teacup collection that you love isn’t an overnight process. It takes time and reflection and it really is a journey It is something that should be done with intention. So put the kettle on, sit down and figure out if your collection is one that you love right now. If not, start your curating journey.

Tell us in the comments, do you love every piece in your collection? Do you have creative ways to display your collection? We’d love to hear about your teacups!

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