Pankhurst (1882-1960), daughter of Emmeline, had just finished one of her many brief jail sentences (and force feeding) when she was commissioned to design the service for the 1909 Women’s Social & Political Union Exhibition.
It was more than her fiery political credentials that won her the job.
She was a promising student at the Royal College of Art in London before dropping out in 1906 to join the WSPU, producing its Votes For Women banners and designing its membership card.
Produced by HM Williamson, Longton, each piece of the service was transfer-printed with the initials WSPU along with an angel, banner and trumpet set against prison bars surrounded by thistle, shamrock, rose and dangling chains.
Some of the sets, selling at 10s. 6d each, comprised as many as 22 pieces but most have been split up and sold as separate items over the century.
This rare surviving complete set of 19, with very little minor damage, sold to a collector bidding via thesaleroom.com just below top hopes at £6500.