Farewell my Valentine

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Francesca Aiken, assistant exhibition curator for the Global City gallery in the new Museum of Liverpool says:

Photograph of porcelain tea cup and saucer

‘The Sailors Farewell’ cup and saucer, on display in the Global City gallery from July in the new Museum of Liverpool


Working late, forgot the flowers, no card this year? Spare a thought for the wife of this sailor, whose husband must soon depart for many weeks or months on board ship without contact from home.

A sailor’s life was a dangerous one, where being swept overboard or wrecked without hope of rescue were a constant risk.  Forget texts or Facebook, this young woman would have to wait until he returned home to know if he was safe or not.

Known as ‘The Sailors Farewell’ this porcelain teacup and saucer was made in China in the early 1800s for sale to European socialites who enjoyed the delicate art of tea drinking.

Due to be displayed in the new Museum of Liverpool opening this July, this rare example of a European couple painted by Chinese artists will feature in the Global City gallery alongside some of the best examples of Liverpool and Chinese pottery from the 18th and 19th centuries.

East meets West the story of Shanghai and Liverpool illustrates how potters in Liverpool upped their game by imitating Chinese porcelain (even going so far as to add fake Chinese marks to the base) to meet the insatiable demand of consumers.