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Vintage Stoneware Moustache Mug with Hand Painted Face Design

This is a nice example of a handmade moustache mug, possibly Continental in origin and dating to the latter quarter of the 20th century.

Stock Ref No: LAC005887

Availability: Sold out



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Product Description


This is a nice example of a handmade moustache mug, possibly Continental in origin and dating to the latter quarter of the 20th century.

Victorian gentlemen took great pride in their appearance, and the fashion for elaborate moustaches led to the development of a variety of products aimed at keeping them in immaculate condition. Often wax was melted and applied to the moustache to keep the curled ends in place.

However, this practice was incompatible with the social habit of tea drinking. The steam tended to melt the wax, and light coloured moustaches became stained by the tea.

Finally, in 1830, the Englishman Harvey Adams came up with an unusual and innovative remedy – the moustache cup. This was a cup with a ledge called a ‘Moustache Guard’ across the inside. The guard has a semi-circular opening against the side of the cup to allow the tea to reach the lips. This idea rapidly spread to America and Europe.

Very early moustache cups and saucers were also known as ‘Napoleons and Saucers’ due to the nickname used for moustaches and beards worn by many Englishmen at that time. The vogue for moustache cups came to an end in about the 1920s, when moustaches themselves fell from fashion. However, facial hair has become more popular in the last decade and moustache cups and mugs are rapidly making a comeback.

The mug is approximately cylindrical, widening out towards the thickened discoid base. It is made from grey speckled stoneware and is decorated on one side with a stylised face. The blue outline is made from applied ‘slip’, giving it a raised appearance. The brown eyebrows and red eyes have been hand painted separately. The handle is curved and decorated with a stripe of brown on the exterior. The interior of the rim has a semi-circular moustache guard with a small curved hole to sip the drink through.

The base is plain and unmarked.

It has a height of approximately 8.6cm, with a diameter across the rim of about 8.4cm and across the base of about 6.1cm.

It is in excellent condition, with no chips or cracks.

Interested in this item or looking for something similar?

Feel free to email us at info@legacyantiques.co.uk or call/text us on (+44) 07790994021, quoting LAC005887

Additional Information

Additional Information

Stock Ref No LAC005887
Taxable Goods None
Original Packaging No

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