A Message from Ruth at Antiques And Teacups

Welcome to the blog of Antiques And Teacups! Let's share a cup of tea and talk about the things we love...like teacups, antiques, collectibles, visiting England, antiquing and learning about victoriana and quirky gadgets. Fun!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Christmas Things, Spode Christmas Tree Marks, Mary Berry Christmas Cake

Are you ready? I am still a little behind due to a bit of a setback for my Honey who just learned of the death of his oldest sister in the UK.
But he knows he will be seeing her again, and he is doing well with the news.

It is a difficult time of year for many who have lost loved ones... and we pray for those who are struggling...

A few days ago I pulled out my Christmas china and teas... such a part of the Christmas season...

Th Pacific Northwest early morning teatime photo is  a favorite Queen Anne Noel Poinsettia teacup from the 1950s with hand applied enamels. A few years ago, I acquired a set of 12, but the last... except this one that I have saved for me... sold 2 days ago.

The Christmas teas by Republic Of Tea are lovely... mine came in a 2 pack with Downt Christmas Tea and Mrs. Patmore's Pudding tea. 

A couple of days ago, another teatime in the sunroom was sort of started by my Harney and Sons Holiday tea and a package of scrumptious Ghirardelli dark chocolate peppermint bark and a seasonal teacup...

I was decorating, and came to the box with the crocheted Christmas trees my mother made me about 30 years ago that I treasure...

The teacup was a favorite Spode Christmas Tree teacup, that has become quite a popular pattern over the years. Originally made in England, it is now made elsewhere.
You can tell from the marks, when and where they were made, but I have to disagree with comments on a Facebook afternoon tea group, who felt that if the mark had just England and not Made In England, it was recent and made elsewhere, but that is not the case oftentimes.
Spode Copeland is a great example... still operating under the Spode name, but mostly not in the UK.

The pattern was a Copeland Spode design from 1938, and the first marks look like this... and notice, although long before any pottery production was moved out of England, it is just marked England, and not Made in England. From 1891, that was the only requirement if the item was to be sold in the US, and many potteries took years to do that.
Whether the item mark was England or Made In England, until recently, it made no difference, it was all made in England, and was an individual pottery's design decision.

This maek dates to the 1970s, and after various inter-pottery negotiations and money changes within management, Copeland was dropped. But the Spode Christmas Tree was still being made in England, and the mark says England.

Times have changed again in the Potteries, and after several decades of changes, pottery closures, and changes of ownership, this 1990s mark doesn't say even England, because it is made in either Indonesia or Thailand.
Something else to consider... it it says Dishwasher Microwave safe, it is recent.

But moving on... 

My tea is Harney and Sons Holiday... which is delicious! A black tea with citrus, almond, clove and cinnamon. Delicious!

And a seasonal favorite... the Ghirardelli dark Chocolate peppermint bark.
Having grown up in the San Francisco bay area where Ghirardelli came from, I fonly remember going every Christmas to the Saint Francis Hotel Garden Court for Christmas tea with my parents and Nan in gloves and hat... it was San Francisco in the 1950s, and you wouldn't be seated without them!
Then it was off to see the light at the Ghirardelli Square Chocolate factory and to their shop for peppermint bark, and on to Blums Chocolates for other seasonal goodies!

Ghirardelli Square is now a boutique shopping mall with upscale condos, but still lit at Christmas!

And the St. Francis, now a Westin Hotel, is still serving a great afternoon tea in the Garden Court...

Ahhh... the joy of sweet Christmas memories!

Making a Christmas cake was also a memory with my Nana... I don't often have time nowadays... but we have a neighborhood monthly get together next week, and I am making this...

Mary Berry's Christmas cake bites 
Makes 28
For the cakes
175g (6 oz) apricots, chopped
3 tablespoons brandy
175g (6 oz) butter, softened
175g (6 oz) light brown sugar
4 eggs, beaten
175g (6 oz) plain flour
225g (8 oz) raisins
225g (8 oz) currants
225g (8 oz) cherries, quartered, washed and dried
or the icing and decoration
A little apricot jam, warmed
500g (1 lb 2 oz) packet
Ready-prepared almond
Paste (Golden Marzipan)
500g (1 lb 2 oz) packet
Ready-to-roll white icing
Step 1
Preheat the oven to 160ºC/Fan 140º/Gas 3. Grease and line a 30 × 20cm (12 × 8 in) traybake tin with non-stick baking paper.
Step 2
Measure the apricots into a small bowl, pour over the brandy and leave to soak overnight or until all of the brandy is absorbed.
Step 3
Cream the butter and sugar together using an electric hand whisk until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the top.
Step 4
Bake for 1–1¼ hours until golden brown. Insert a skewer to test – if it comes out clean the cake is cooked. Set aside to cool.
Step 5
Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam and then roll out a rectangle of marzipan the same size as the top of the cake. Lay this on top of the cake, and then brush the marzipan with a little more jam. Roll out a rectangle of icing the same size as the cake, and then cover the marzipan with the icing.
Step 6
Slice into squares and serve with a cup of tea.

Wishing you a wonderful, festive, fun, friends and tea filled week!


  1. My condolences for the passing of your sister-in-law.

    The Spode Christmas Tree is one of my favourite holiday patterns. I have the modern teapot and mug and would love to add the teacup and saucer to my collection!

    I'm leaning into the peppermint this season. I think I have 5 different types of candy cane teas...HA!

  2. I'm so sorry about the loss of your sister-in-law, Ruth.
    All your teas sound delicious, and I do love the Spode Christmas Tree pattern, in which to serve those yummy teas.
    I'll bet the Mary Berry Christmas Cake bites were a hit!

  3. Enjoyed this posting very much. It is still relevant today 2022.
    I'm trying to understand the middle exampole ot Spode markings. It has the number of the Christmas Tree Pattern S3324, P meaning year 1990?. What does the number 5 mean?


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