When I first became acquainted with Early English White Ironstone it was the ewers and pitchers that stole my heart. I was fascinated with the variety of shapes and wrote about them in earlier blogs. Each truly had their own personality - from those with the very classic geometric shapes to those with the narrow necks and full bodies pictured as a collection in a black cupboard on the cover of Architectural Digest.
Recently, the early teapots have stolen my attention. The White Ironstone China Association has a wonderful guide to teapots. They explain that tea drinking was widely popular because it was seen to have a medicinal as well as social function. Queen Elizabeth the First, in the late 1500's, had teapots as well as tea imported from China. Tea drinking was very important in the daily life of the British and they continued the custom when they came to America. The English potters began producing white ironstone in the 1840's and paid close attention to the designs of the teapots.
The teapot was a complicated piece to make taking at least 5 separate molds to turn out the body, spout, handle, lid and finial. Most teapots have several perforations, as strainers, where the handle is attached and the lids have a hole to let air in to prevent a vacuum while pouring. As were the ewers, the teapots were made in a variety of shapes - some plain, some elaborately embossed. Each also has its own personality!
Walled Octagon Shape
Brougham & Mayer
SIMPLE AND PLAIN SHAPES
Lion's Head Shape
Bow & Tassel Shape
Burgess & Goddard
EMBOSSED FLORAL SHAPES
Wheat In The Meadow Shape
Powell & Bishop
Budded Vine Shape
Meakin & Co
Bordered Hyacinth Shape
Star Flower Shape
J W Pankhurst
Lily Of The Valley Shape
This is but a small sampling of the teapots made by the very prolific early English potters.
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