Considered a great novelty alongside newly-introduced goods such as tea, Yixing wares imported from China were soon copied by European potters. Those working out of Delft benefitted from the Dutch East India Company’s (VOC) regular imports of Chinese ceramic and were first to achieve convincing imitations of Chinese zisha vessels using local clays. As well as achieving the characteristic red colour, the material was impermeable to water even when left unglazed.
The maker of this teapot, Ary de Milde (1634-1708), styled himself ‘Mr Teapot maker’ and wrote in a petition to the Staten van Holland that he had succeeded in imitating the ‘Oost-Indische theepotten’ (East India teapots) requesting that all potters be required to register their marks in order to control competition. The blossom sprig pattern on an even spherical ground is typical of his workshop and he marked his wares on the base with the stamp of a running fox in an oval. De Milde produced red Yixing style wares from about 1680 until his death, when his daughter and son-in-law took over the running of the business until 1724. De Milde’s work had an undoubtable influence on the work by Böttger and the experiments at Meissen to produce hard paste porcelain in Europe in the early 18th century.