Collection Number: 128
Materials and Techniques: Agateware (Earthenware)
Agateware pottery, from which this teapot is made, imitated the swirling patterns of agate, a semi-precious stone that was prized during the 17th and 18th centuries. The imitation of agate was created by using sheets of different coloured clay that were stacked, cut, rolled and then reformed to create a swirling multi-coloured pattern. This was pushed into two half teapot shaped moulds that were then joined together. The agate pattern was formed so intricately that the joint was effectively disguised, although on this teapot it is just possible to see the bond. During the eighteenth century, the rising popularity of Staffordshire pottery led to the creation of new decorative techniques in the production of tea wares. However, Agateware proved expensive to make and by ca.1760 the technique had become obsolete. The finial on this teapot takes the form of a Chinese lion, reflecting the ongoing popularity of chinoiserie motifs in the decoration of tea wares.
Collection Number: 11
Dimensions: (H)15.2cm (W) 24cm (D) 12cm
Materials and Techniques: Zisha ware, silver mounts
This teapot was created in Yixing using the distinctive red clay for which the region is famous. Known as ‘purple sand’ or zisha, the clay fires to a variety of brown or red colours and is typically left unglazed. Although the Chinese had been brewing tea since the 1300s, the first ‘official’ teapots are considered to be those made in Yixing in the 16th century. The fine texture of the clay as well as the thin walls of the teapots were ideal for brewing tea as they allowed the colour, smell and the flavour to absorb into the clay surface, which in turn developed a seasoning after repeated use. Yixing zisha stoneware was much admired by the ruling classes and began to be exported to Europe in the late 17th century. The simple shape and lack of decoration indicate that this teapot was made specifically as export ware for the European market. It is also fitted with silver mounts that were added in England in around 1790. The finial on the teapot lid takes the shape of a pineapple, a fruit which was traditionally seen as a symbol of hospitality and exoticism in Georgian Britain.
- Collection Number: 11
- Maker: N/A
- Material: Ceramics
- Place: China
- Period: 1700-1800
- Date: 1790