These are some of my favourite mugs.
All of them were received as presents and four of the five were manufactured by the prolific Dunoon ceramics factory.
The biggest one holds a pint and is covered with a variety of chickens. It’s the one I use at breakfast. Three of the Dunoon mugs have designs inside as well as out, and ‘Chickens’ is one of these.
The next biggest is another Dunoon mug, entitled ‘Ahoy’, which holds a bit less than a pint and is wider at the top than the chickens one. I often use this one in the evenings. It features a lighthouse and a boat and, as well as having a design inside, has a nicely decorated handle.
Dunoon ceramics started up in 1974, and over the past 40 years an astonishing number of designs have made it onto mugs. In recent years mugs have featured works by artists such as Emma Ball and Rowena Laing, both of whom made a name for themselves selling original paintings before breaking into the world of mugs.
The third most capacious of my five mugs features a design by Rowena Laing entitled ‘Fair Isle’. It features sheep and boats outside, more sheep inside, and a sturdy decorated handle.
The next two mugs are the oldest of the five and I don’t know which one I got first, but both were given to me by my mum.
The last of the Dunoon mugs features a beautiful sailing ship, the Royal Edward. The ship was built in London in the 1860s for the Red Cross Australian Line. I don’t remember exactly when I was given the mug but I think I’ve had it for over 20 years. I don’t know when Dunoon started putting designs inside as well as out, but this one doesn’t have anything inside.
Last but not least, the smallest of the mugs is a dainty little blue and white vessel manufactured by renowned English pottery company, Spode. Spode was founded in the 1770s and is still producing china today. My mug’s design, ‘Indian sporting’, comes from the Spode Blue Room collection which dates back to the early 1800s.
Various Blue Room tableware is still made today. You can see the full range in their brochure, here.
My parents have so many mugs that my mum rotates them with the seasons. Mugs in current use tend to hang on hooks above a kitchen worktop. My dad lives in hope of an earthquake strong enough to make all the mugs rattle.
Spare mugs are mostly housed in a cupboard, awaiting their turn in the limelight. Every now and then a clearout takes place and some of the mugs are given away to charity shops. No matter how many disappear, there never seems to be quite enough space for those being kept.