DATE: 1750-1760 (made)
PLACE: Staffordshire (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Lead-glazed earthenware (agateware)

This teapot is made from agateware, a type of pottery that imitates the swirling patterns of agate, a semi-precious stone that was prized during the 17th and 18th centuries. The effect was created by using sheets of different coloured clay that were stacked, cut, rolled and then reformed to create a swirling multicoloured pattern. This was pushed into two half-teapot shaped moulds that were then joined together. The agate pattern was formed so intricately that the joint was effectively disguised, although on this teapot it is just possible to see the bond. During the 18th century, the rising popularity of Staffordshire pottery led to the creation of new decorative techniques. However, Agateware proved expensive to make and by ca. 1760 the technique had become obsolete. The finial on this teapot takes the form of a Chinese lion, reflecting the ongoing fashion for chinoiserie motifs in the decoration of tea wares.