ARTIST / MAKER: William Greatbatch (designer)
DATE: ca.1765 (made)
PLACE: Staffordshire (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Lead-glazed earthenware

Before the Victorian age of patented designs, ceramic moulds, glazes and decorative styles were shared and copied among the various potteries of Staffordshire. The potter’s mould for this teapot may have been designed by William Greatbatch (1735-1813), a prolific designer and maker of moulds, who worked in Staffordshire during the second half of the 18th century. The low-relief moulded panels on this teapot are typical of Greatbatch’s designs. The source for these Chinese figures comes from George Edwards and Matthias Darly’s New Book of Chinese Designs, which was published in London in 1754. The swirling lead-glaze colours of this teapot are often seen on the creamwares produced by Thomas Whieldon (1719-95) of Fenton Low, Staffordshire, who also made teapots using the same model. Whieldon played a leading role in the development of metallic oxides and other innovative glazes. These colours would have been sponged or painted onto the teapot to stain the creamware, before being fired with a coat of clear glaze. This technique allowed the colours to flow together, creating a mottled tortoiseshell effect.