I think this may be the most adorable child’s tea set I’ve ever come across! A pair of sweet kittens graces each piece. Some pieces have two grey kitties, others have a grey kitty and an orange kitty!
The set is not marked but is most-likely German, dating from about 1905. If you’re a collector of cat and kitten items, you know that many items featuring lovable felines were produced during the Victorian era. A change in the social status of cats and the charming cat-themed artwork of artists like Louis Wain helped to make cats “en vogue!”
Below is an excerpt from the book Parlor Catsby Cynthia Hart, John Grossman, and Josephine Banks that speaks of this status shift.
“Looking at the pictures of fluffy Victorian cats with their big eyes and soft faces, lounging lazily on the hearth with colorful bows tied round their necks, one would be hard put to imagine them as anything but adored creatures. Yet, not many generations before, cats had been relegated to the barn to catch mice and to keep the foodstuffs secure from vermin. Rarely did they see the inside of a house – except perhaps the kitchen, cellar or attic. Assigning cats to the task of pest control began in ancient Egypt, where their primary purpose was to keep granaries free from mice that would devour their contents if left unguarded. But even then, though revered for their role in preventing starvation and even elevated to godly form, cats were also beloved pets. The Victorian interest in archaeology uncovered this find. In the 1890s an article in GODEY’S LADY’S BOOK told its readers that the cat was an acceptable and desirable household pet, no longer the stereotypical friend to lonely old ladies…
Victorian life was filled not only with actual cats but also with images of cats as decoration. Cat items became the rage. the new department stores were filled with them, and the paraphernalia of advertising reflected the demand. The most effective promotion tools portrayed cats even when the products they advertised had nothing at all to do with them. No item that could hold a picture was missed in the mania for images…”
I am awfully glad that Victorians came to adore cats because the cat-related products made during this era are just so irresistible!