There have been dovecotes, or pigeon cotes — homes with “apartments” for domestic doves and pigeons — since before the Romans invaded what is now France. The Romans called them columbaria; in Cornwall they were called culveries; and in Scotland they were referred to as doocots, evoking the calls of the doves. Medieval dovecots were often built of stone; they were usually round with conical roofs. During the 17th century there were more than 26,000 dovecotes to be found in the gardens of English manor houses and monastaries. Some could house as many as 500 pairs of pigeons.
This unusual tea set, made in what is known as the “Dovecote” pattern, was designed by Roger Michell for Carlton Ware and Lustre Pottery in the 1970s. It features white doves alighting on a pink background. Curiously, the word dovecote has also come to mean “a settled or harmonious group or organization” — one that’s as compatible as a flock of cooing doves.