Double Identity

Opening Statements:
When my search for the tea cup began many years ago, my friends and co-workers advised me to look in pawn stores. Apparently they have an assortment of items for sale. I was always dubious because I’ve watched enough Hollywood movies to know better. So wonder of wonders, I managed to visit one last week.
The place was not how I imagined a pawn store would be. There was no greasy guy wearing excessive gold jewellery, just an older man who couldn’t see me come in over his cluttered counter. The place was packed to the rafters with previously loved (second hand) things. But to my overactive imagination, there was an air of dodge. I could imagine a person disappearing without a trace in the dimly lit, claustrophobic, dusty shop should the proprietor so wish.
I walked straight to the crockery in the china cabinet and browsed. No Huguenot Royale. I almost walked out then but being the voracious shopper that I am, I decided to meander. I saw pots and pans, coffeemakers and kitchen dinettes and there in aisle three was a set of white crockery. My heart leapt up as soon as I saw the rosebud on the lid of the teapot. It was undoubtedly a Huguenot Royale.  I recognised the signature embellishments on the tea cups and saucers.
But then I turned it over. Instead of seeing the crest of Huguenot Royale with its cursive authority, there was another name: “La Rochelle RSA” with a fleur-de-lis crest! I turned over the tea cup. It had a Huguenot Royale sticker over the black imprint on the ceramic. I was tempted to peel it off and reveal the writing beneath but I didn’t want to incur the wrath of the store owner, so I put the cup down and left.
I could not wait to get home and Google “La Rochelle”. If I ever thought Huguenot Royale had a small number of hits on Google, La Rochelle’s is positively miniscule. Most of the results were for a crockery pattern of the same name made by the English Johnson brothers. Amazingly though, the Rose Trellis is in the top five hits! The milk jug and sugar bowl were for sale at Cape Collectibles but has since been sold. Another rose pattern, very similar to The Rose Trellis, which I’ve seen listed many times under Huguenot Royale is also under La Rochelle on Google.
The Timeline:
I think La Rochelle was the original company since there was a Huguenot Royale sticker on the bottom of the saucer and “La Rochelle” has much fewer hits on Google.
The Evidence:
I didn’t take any photos because I didn’t have my phone on me (yes, I’m one of those people and yes, I’m kicking myself).  However the La Rochelle imprint confirmed at least one thing; the crockery was made in RSA.
Exhibit 1: Cape Collectibles images
This is a picture of the La Rochelle milk jug and sugar bowl on sale at Cape Collectibles. It is identical in every way to The Rose Trellis (Case #1). 

Closing Statements:
“La Rochelle” is clearly French; so is “Huguenot”. The company was probably started by a French Huguenot descendant in the Western Cape and they shipped their beautiful crockery to all parts of ZAR. As the company grew, they were probably forced to change their name to avoid confusion with the Johnson brothers’ crockery pattern. They also tossed out the standard French fleur-de-lis and developed their own elaborate proud crest, announcing their arrival as a South African brand. 
The Verdict:
Who Huguenot Royale was and where it disappeared to is as mysterious as Zerzura! But this intrepid investigator will get to the bottom of this!
Investigation ongoing!
Many thanks to Steve Davies from Cape Collectibles for his kind permission to use photos of the La Rochelle milk jug and sugar bowl from his website
Steve Davies contact details:
10 Grenache Close.
Zevenzicht Estate.
Langverwacht Rd.
Kuils River.
Ph: 021 903 0320.
Fax:   086 502 2249.

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If you're looking for or selling Huguenot Royale crockery, you are welcome to send me your advert links to post on this blog as long as you grant me permission to publish your photos (credited to you) on this site (with a little blog about your set) and/or any other blog (in case I have to move blog sites on short notice). You will retain ownership of your photos and you are welcome to rescind your permission at any time but you must send me notice in writing/email.

If, by some miracle, I actually scrape together enough information to publish a catalogue of Huguenot Royale (hopefully with some information on the company itself!), I will seek your permission again to use your photos in that publication.

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