DATE: ca.1765 (made)
PLACE: Delft (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Tin-glazed earthenware painted in enamels (delftware)

This teapot was made in the Dutch city of Delft which was renowned for the production of blue and white tin-glazed earthenware. The form of this teapot, which takes the shape of a man holding a tea bowl and saucer, is probably based on the figure of the seated Buddha, most likely a Chinese ‘blanc de Chine’ example. The inspiration to turn the shape into a teapot may have come from the Chelsea porcelain factory who produced squatting ‘chinaman’ teapots from around 1745. An example in the British Museum (museum number 1887,0307,II.12) is dated 1745-49 and features a seated man with a rustic handle, around which is the coiled tail of a snake, which winds round the teapot to form the spout. On another example in the V&A (museum number C.46&A-1938) the spout takes the shape of a parrot. It is thought that the inspiration for the Chelsea pieces came from the range of Grotesque (fancifully decorated) teapots made in France at Saint-Cloud, with which the Chelsea factory manager, Nicholas Sprimont (ca.1716-1771), would have been familiar. A similar example is in the Musée National de Céramique, Sèvres (inv. no. Cl 13343).