Cup sizes of Riga Porcelain sets

When looking at the photos of the sets produced by Riga Porcelain factories it is not an easy task to tell the sizes of the cups. To bring some clarity to the issue some measurements have been done. Because the forms tend to differ in appearance, the size has been chosen as the unifying element. The cup was filled leaving some space for sugar and allowing to be lifted of the table without the hands shaking. Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome our Old Masters:

(from the left) Rubenss 190ml, Ping-pong 150ml, Maija 190 ml, Tauta 180 ml, Bitīte 210 ml
The sizes of RPF and RPFF “Rubenss” do not differ.

The renowned "Laima" designed by Zina Ulste – the first set created in Riga after war. 1954 – 1958

"Laima" – coffe cup: 110ml; diameter of the cup 89mm, diameter of the saucer 138mm
"Laima" – tea cup: 190ml; diameter of the cup 100mm, diameter of the saucer 158mm

The first contemporary original set in Riga Porcelain history (after the classic "Laima") was "Daina", designed by Zina Ulste, followed by "Alfa". In the other factory "Ausma" was created by Anastasija Zumente. And last but not least in our fantastic four is "Stella" by Beatrise Kārkliņa.

(from the left) Daina 110ml, Alfa 100ml, Ausma 100 ml, Stella 100 ml

DDuring the 1960s the two factories of Riga Porcelain produced both coffee sets and tea sets. The tea cups differed from their coffee sisters with a larger volume and wider forms. The very first one was "Sakta" created by Zina Ulste, the second factory was producing the set “Augstā" by Anatolijs Travņikovs at the same time. It was continued by the great trio of the tea sets of the 60s: "Marijka" (Taisija Poluikeviča), "Jūrmala" (Anatolijs Travņikovs) and "Viola" (Levons Agadžanjans). Because the cups of "Marijka" and "Jūrmala" are so similar a photo of the both together can be seen below.

(from the left) Sakta 180 ml, Augstā 180 ml, Marijka 180 ml, Jūrmala 180 ml, Viola 200 ml

Here are four lesser-known sets of the 1960s. Three of them are made of faience - a ceramic material found in every bathroom nowadays and so much more rarely in the kitchen. But it should be remembered that the initials of the factory in Ķengarags at the time were RPFF - "Rīgas porcelāna un fajansa fabrika" (“Riga Porcelain and un Faience Manufactory") and after the merger with the factory in Mīlgrāvis in 1963 - RPFR - "Rīgas porcelāna un fajansa rūpnīca" ("Riga Porcelain and Faience factory"). In 1968 the use of faience was discontinued and the letter "F" disappeared from the factory marks at the bottom of the dishes. The first one is a tea/coffee set with an unknown name and author (even the Riga Porcelain Museum could not tell) therefore we call it "Fajansa". The next one is a porcelain set "Siluets" created by Ilga Dreiblate in 1963, which had both tea and coffee versions. The third one is a coffee set "Terēze" by Levons Agadžanjans, produced from 1966 till 1968. And the last one, by the same designer, is "Moka", produced from 1964 - 1966. "Moka" has a very unusual assembly, you can read more about it and many others on this same website

(from the left) Fajansa 180 ml, Siluets 170 ml, Terēze 120 ml, Moka 75ml
We are approaching the end of the 1960s, beginning of 1970s. The first one to mention is the coffee set "Saulīte" created by Zina Ulste in 1964 and produced until 1970, when "Vasara"(1970-1975) by the artist Taisija Poluikēviča began its way to the customers’ hearts and homes. The tea sets of the moment were "Regīna" (1967-1970) by the same artist Poluikēviča and "Rīga" (1969-1972) by Levons Agadžanjans. The last two were universal tea/coffe sets as they could be assembled with coffee pot and cake plates.

(from the left) Saulīte 110 ml, Vasara 110 ml, Regīna 160 ml, Rīga 180ml
Already in the 60s the cylinder was evaluated as the most technologically convenient form, simple to produce. In its purest form it can be seen in the set "Aija-2" whose production started in 1970. Back in the day designer Zina Ulste created two form options, both were named "Aija", but so it came that the production started with the second one. "Aija-2" firmly kept its position until 1975, it had a coffee, a tea, a universal and a full lunch set. And for the first time in the history of Riga Porcelain the so called ensemble was created: all of the above mentioned sets in the same style were on offer. As a predecessor of the cylindrical form the bouillon set "Apetīte" should be mentioned, produced since 1963. It is so similar to "Aija-2" that it keeps confusing collectors and Riga Porcelain lovers. Please see the photo below to compare.

(from the left) Apetīte buljona komplekts 300 ml, Aija-2 tējas 200 ml,  Aija-2 kafijas 100 ml
The form of "Aija-1" was created already in the beginning of 1970s at the same time as the cylindrical "Aija-2". "Aija -2", unlike its namesake, was designed by the artist Zina Ulste with supple forms, bent lines and raised décor, which makes it rather easily recognizable. The romantic form of the set matched well with flower decols and hand painted ornaments, while the disco rhythms on these sets were much less often heard. Although it is called "Aija -1", this set was produced as the second of both "Aija" - from 1975 until 1977. "Riga porcelain factory" had already mastered the production of thin-walled porcelain at the end of 1960s. In the 1974 the production of the legendary set "Sigulda" began, based on the design of the artist Ēriks Ellers. Because of its convenient size and ceremonious effect created by the forms of the thin porcelain and harmony of the diverse decols, the set became very popular and was produced almost up until the closing of the factory. The collections hold almost 50 different variations of decols – "Sigulda" can compete with the small mocca sets in this matter.

(from the left) Aija-1 kafijas 130 ml, Aija-1 tējas 180 ml, Sigulda 170 ml

"Riga porcelain factory" – having lost the word "faience" in the name and with an updated back stamp - began the mass production of the thin-walled dishes in 1970 and it became its specialty. The first one released was the mocca coffee set "Vita" by Zina Ulste, designed in 1969, followed by mocca coffee set "Marianna" by Ēriks Ellers in 1972 and coffee set "Nelda" by Levons Agadžanjans (1977-1978). Government standards were less demanding of thin-walled porcelain, which allowed for more artistic freedom. These sets quickly became popular and "Vita" holds the record as the longest produced set by a local artist in "Riga porcelain factory" – its form was produced up until the closure of the factory and you can still come across a white, blank "Vita" frequently. It is probably not possible to beat the wide diversity of decols of "Vita" and "Marianna" – the collections hold more than 40 variations of each of these sets and it is definitely not the final number.

(from the left) Vita 60 ml, Marianna 60 ml, Nelda 100 ml