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Sugar Bowl
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Title: Sugar Bowl
Identifier: 2005.4.97.1
Item Date: 1850-1900
Creation Date: 2011
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: A porcelain sugar bowl decorated in blue floral design. The bowl has two curved handles, one on each side near the rim. The lid has a knob in the centre. No manufacture or makers mark found.

Porcelain is a hard ceramic product used primarily for high quality tableware. It is produced by mixing two ingredients, kaolin and petuntse. The two mixed ingredients are fired at high temperatures where they fuse together to form porcelain. Porcelain is often called china because that is where it originated. There are three types; hard-paste, soft-paste and bone china. Hard-paste is "true" porcelain made with kaolin and petuntse. Soft paste is the product of European's efforts to copy hard-paste and is made of a mixture of fine clay and glass. Bone china is hard-paste with bone ash added. The most celebrated soft-paste porcelain in Europe was created in France at Sevres between 1750 and 1770. In 1771 kaolin was discovered near Limoges in France and the city of Limoges became one of the largest porcelain centers in Europe. In 1710 the discovery of how to make hard-paste porcelain by a German scientist led to the creation of a porcelain factory in Meissen. In England soft-paste porcelain was manufactured in Chelsea, Bow and Derby. In 1800 Josiah Spode developed bone china and this became the standard English porcelain. http://www.artistictile.net/pages/Info/Info_Porcelain.html

For much of the 18th and early 19th centuries white sugar was made from sugar cane that was grown in the Caribbean and processed in England. White sugar was extremely expensive and only the wealthy could afford it. Sugar was shipped and sold in the form of a solid cone. It was the job of the lady of the house (or the head maidservant) to use sugar nippers to cut the sugar into pieces the exact size needed for the household's tea. These pieces of sugar would be served out of sugar bowls. The sugar bowls of the wealthy would be elaborate, expensive pieces, while the sugar bowls of the less well off would be plain and utilitarian in design.
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