Something From Our Archives
Paragon Patriotic Series China
“ A Bit of History in a Tea Cup ”
In the early stages of WW2 Britain began to feel the grip of greater austerity as they attempted to save resources for the War Effort. Even the manufacture of chinaware was affected with only a small amount of plain white pieces produced for domestic use.
The Paragon China Company had been manufacturing commemorative china “by appointment to Queen Mary” since 1933 and “Queen Elizabeth” since 1938.
Paragon asked, and was granted, permission to manufacture colourful china pieces for export to the North American and Commonwealth markets.
One would not normally associate chinaware within the realm of military collecting or patriotism but some of the patterns and themes of these pieces are worth a look as they depict the resolve of the British and their Allies during the struggle that was World War Two.
The donation of a cup and saucer for our War On The Home Front exhibit, emblazoned with the pilot wings and Ensign of the R.C.A.F led us to look a bit further into the Series and the Paragon China Company.
The greatest number of these pieces of the Paragon Patriotic China that are offered today for sale and auction are to be found in Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand.
It likely that most of these pieces were sent there by servicemen in England to loved ones at home.
No production numbers exist and there is no record of the pattern and types of pieces produced. Occasionally a new piece will appear in an online auction identified by the double warrant mark.
The themes depicted on these pieces ranged from coat of arms of various countries, provinces and regiments to inspirational quotations from Churchill,
Roosevelt and others.The pieces themselves could be cups and saucers, pin or salt dishes, chocolate mugs and tankards, side plates, candy dishes, ashtrays and small vases.
The owner of the R.C.A.F. cup & saucer donation has collected pieces from eighteen different patterns while six other patterns still elude him.
There are three patterns that are the most elusive and thereby the most valuable are;
“The King Is Still In London”, “The Queen Is Still In London” and “The Dawn of Victory.
Examples of these patterns come up for auction on line infrequently and generate fierce bidding.The pieces typically sell for several hundred dollars
Little has been written of the Series but collector Skip Kerr has posted on his website the most informative descriptions and images that we have found to date.