Collection Number: 647
Materials and Techniques: Hard-paste porcelain with gilding
The secret of Chinese porcelain production was finally understood in Germany in 1708 and led to the growth of the European porcelain industry. The discovery of hard-paste porcelain is credited to the mathematician, physicist and physician Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus. Following his death, the alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger began producing porcelain at the Meissen porcelain manufactory, where this teapot was created. The body is decorated with gilt Chinese figures and the spout is shaped to form a dragon. As tea was an exotic drink from China, European manufacturers of the eighteenth century considered chinoiserie decoration to be especially appropriate for teawares. The painters Bartolomaus and Abraham Seuter specialised in painting such figurative scenes that were commonly drawn from contemporary engravings. Based in Augsburg, the Seuter brothers were Hausmalers or house painters who decorated Meissen porcelain in their own workshops using in polychrome enamels, silver and gold.
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