ARTIST / MAKER: Minton & Co. (manufacturer)
DATE: 1874 (made)
PLACE: Staffordshire (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Moulded earthenware teapot with lead glaze

In 1793, Thomas Minton (1765–1836) established his ceramics factory in Stoke-upon-Trent, Staffordshire. Minton had previously worked at the Caughley porcelain manufactory, where he created the incredibly successful ‘Willow’ pattern for blue and white wares. In its first decades of production, the Minton factory focused on the manufacture of tea and tablewares ranging from cream-coloured earthenware to hard-wearing majolica, enamelled with vivid lead colours. By the 19th century, Minton was one of the largest and most innovative ceramics manufacturers in Britain. This teapot is modelled in the shape of a smiling monkey clutching a coconut with a bamboo spout, a design which was inspired by an earlier Japanese ceramic form. The design reflects the Victorian fashion for novelty teaware designs which could both impress and amuse guests, and teapots often took the form of fruit and vegetables or humorous, anthropomorphic animals.