Friday, January 7, 2022

The Crinoline Lady and More

On December 30th I wrote a post about the Crinoline Lady china I purchased at an estate sale. Fast forward to January 4th when The Teacup Attic featured a Facebook repost of an article they published in March 2021.  The repost came through my feed, and immediately captured my attention because of my recent acquisition.

[Photo courtesy of The Teacup Attic]

As you can see, the Crinoline Lady in my recent purchase [photo below] is wearing a different dress than the above photo. They're part of several Crinoline Ladies who appeared on vintage porcelain teaware since the early 1900's, and especially in the 1930's thru the early 1950's.

I eagerly read The Teacup Attic's article.  As a history lover, I found it very interesting and contacted Cynthia Boucher [owner of the website and business] to get permission to share it on my blog.  She graciously agreed.  

The Crinoline Lady was also known as Dainty Dinah.

In addition to teaware, Dainty Dinah appeared on all kinds of tins of candy.  She was a beautiful young lady by the name of Alice Scott, all decked out in her crinoline skirt, flowers in hand walking in the garden.  

Her story began many years ago.  She was a North-East English icon - the Angel of the North of her day.  Mr. Horner, a gentleman from Norfolk, England, took over a corner of Chester-le-Street in 1910.  Initially, it was where jam was produced in a steam-powered factory and was originally owned by J. Samuel.  Once George Horner became proprietor of the factory, he converted it to toffee production.  At first, Mr. Horner produced confectionaries under the name "Mermaid."  In 1914 he began marketing the "Dainty Dinah" line of toffee candy.

She was dainty with her dark, moony face that was fringed by an Edwardian bonnet and wearing a crinoline skirt.  It is said that Dinah was modeled on Mr. Horner's chauffeur, Alice Scott, who died in 2001 at age 102.  

Alice Scott was the first model to advertise for Chester-le-Street confectioners.  Born in 1899, Alice lied about her age to get the job of chauffeur to George Horner, owner of the famous toffee factory, when she was just 16.  She later became personal assistant to Mr. Horner, who selected her to be the face of Dainty Dinah.

Her face adorned dozens of posters all over the region as she became one of the North-East's most recognizable faces.  The image was also printed on thousands of tins which were sold around the world and still available on sites like Etsy and Ebay.

Dainty Dinah has been depicted in slightly different versions on teacups and other pieces of china for many years such as tea plates, cake stands, teapots, coffee pots and other tea time accouterments.  She is also referred to as the Crinoline Lady in reference to her voluminous skirt.  

Thank you, Cynthia, for allowing me to share this story on my blog.

Online images of Crinoline Ladies revealed no less than 13 different English potteries that made china pieces depicting them, and I'm sure there are many others.  Japanese potteries also made them.  Their dresses were printed in different colors including pink, blue, purple and yellow.

Sadler                    Colclough                    Morley & Company
Empire                  Mayfair
Imperial                James Kent
Royal Albert         Weatherby Hanley
Royal Stuart         Lingard Webster
Arthur Wood       J. Fryer & Son

There are also Crinoline Lady figural teapots, called Daintee Ladyee, but they are very pricey.

[Internet Photo]

I searched for a book about porcelain Crinoline Ladies but was unable to find one.  If you know of one please share.

Nancy's Vintage China blog [UK] says Crinoline Ladies were the Fashionistas of vintage china.  

In researching my recent purchase I discovered the teapot is called "Key to My Heart", symbolized by its heart shape and the gold key on top for the handle.  Lingard Webster had great success in their novelty teapots.  My teapot is from the 1940's [the decade I was born].

In preparing for this post I went downstairs to unpack the Crinoline Teacups I already had. What a pleasant surprise to find four instead of the two I remembered being gifted with.  I used to display them in the family room china cabinet but packed them away a year ago when I changed the dishes in the cabinet.  Three are by Colclough pottery with different backstamps, and the other is by Royal Albert and actually says Dainty Dinah on the bottom. Notice the dresses are different by all three makers.

This could easily become an addicting collection. I will pray for willpower! ;-) Fortunately they're not in great abundance to tempt me.  I rarely see them in antique stores. I'll find a place to display my collection rather than packing them away again, but where???  

Moving on to another subject entirely, although it does have to do with fashion...  Before the holidays, one of the servers at The Whitney and I were talking about how popular black and white houndstooth check is this winter.  Several female guests wore it when they came to tea, bridal and baby showers and wedding receptions.

A few days ago I received an e-mail from Chico's regarding their big markdown sale.  As I scrolled through the pictures, I saw a sleeveless houndstooth shell with a matching cardigan that was 55% off.  The shell was $29 and the cardigan was $49.  So I ordered it and it arrived yesterday.  I wear a lot of black at work so this will be perfect and keep me warm too.  And a lot more comfortable than a crinoline skirt! ;-)   I'm sharing it here in case you want to check out the sale.   Good luck!  No affiliation with Chico's.

I know I'm a day late, but I'm thankful for the meaning of Epiphany or Three King's Day yesterday - the Christian holiday commemorating the first manifestation of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, represented by the Magi.  The day is much more than the end of the Christmas Season, or taking down decorations.

Regarding Christmas decorations, mine are still up and will be a little while longer.   We enjoy the coziness of the lights on the Christmas tree [which is artificial] and all the lighted houses. All the outdoor lights and decorations are down though.  Are your decorations still up, or have you packed them away for another year?


  1. The China is beautiful.

  2. So interesting to read about Dainty Dinah! I actually have one of the tins, so it was great to learn more about her.

  3. What a nice story. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Really enjoyed the post today. Love the history of the Dainty Dinah!

  5. I have just bought one of these cups and saucers so I have found this article very informative. Thank you.


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