At the turn of the 18th century, it became increasingly fashionable among wealthy families in Britain and Europe to commission large porcelain sets from China. Coats of arms would be drawn up in detail and taken to Canton by East India Company merchants. There, Chinese merchants would have the porcelain manufactured and painted to suit Western taste and the coats of arms reproduced onto the porcelain. Commissions such as these could take up to two years, from the time the design was sent to China to the receipt of the finished item. Despite the lengthy process, this type of Chinese porcelain was extremely fashionable in Britain.
This teapot would have originally belonged to a much larger service, often comprising hundreds of porcelain pieces. The arms painted on the body belong to William Webber, who between 1737 and 1751 was Captain and later Director of the British East India Company, completing seven voyages to India, Africa and China.