Q: While in New Orleans recently, I was seduced by an old demitasse set. There are 18 cups and saucers with a black/brown transferware pattern with these markings: "Honfleur, Rd 7999, PB & S." Now that I have this lovely set at home in Santa Barbara, I'm wondering if I was overcome by the sweet olive and Sazerac! I would appreciate any information.
A: Your demitasse set was made by Powell, Bishop & Stonier, a company that worked in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, England, from 1878 to 1891. The company was founded by Edwin Powell, a potter, John Bishop, lawyer, and John Stonier, a dealer in Liverpool, England. "Honfleur" is the name of the pattern. Powell, Bishop & Stonier made a large quantity of ironstone china for export, so it is not unusual to find it in the United States. Demitasse cups can serve another use today. Not only are they appropriate for the coffee served as demitasse, but they are also being used to serve custard-like desserts and mousse. That means more demand, so prices have gone up in the last few years. Each cup and saucer is worth about $10-$15.