Mustache Cup with Saucer
4" x 7" x 7"
During the Victorian Era (1820–1914), facial hair developed as an art form. Gentlemen began cultivating creative and dramatic mustache/beard combinations, which required significant upkeep, often including the use of styling gels and pomades. These elaborate mustaches became an issue in the drawing room, where two problems occurred. Steam from everpresent warm beverages would melt mustache wax, and cause it to slide down the chin, often right into the teacup. Simultaneously, strong coffees and teas would often stain and discolour the bottom portion of the mustache. In 1830, English potter Harvey Adams (c. 1833–1916) invented the mustache cup to solve the above mentioned problems. A semicircular guard was built into the rim of the cup to allow the user’s mustache to rest safely on the ledge, protecting it from the liquids below. Mustache cups became extremely popular between 1850–1900, spreading around the world. They were made as both stand alone items, and as parts of complete tableware sets. They came in a variety of sizes and designs. Mustache cups declined in popularity around 1920, when mustaches were no longer in vogue. This mustache cup with saucer dates to the 19th century. It has delicate scalloped edges, and is finished with a delicate green and purple floral design. The cup is accompanied by a matching saucer. The mustache cup is guaranteed to start a conversation, both with those interested in the Victorian domestic sphere, as well as those who enjoy sprinkling whimsy into their everyday life.
At this time in England, the Palace of Westminster, the medieval royal palace where the British parliament was housed, was largely destroyed by a fire on October 16, 1834. The fire started with the routine burning of small wooden tally sticks, which were used as part of standard accounting procedures at the time. The sticks were disposed of carelessly, which caused a chimney fire. The resulting fire spread throughout the complex, developing into the largest fire in London, lasting most of the night.