This teapot is similar to the pure white and ivory-tinged vessels that were being produced in the Dehua kilns, in the Fujian province of China. These kilns were located near rich deposits of petunse, or pottery stone, that was mixed with the essential ingredient, kaolin, to create porcelain. Dehua wares were highly prized by Europeans, and later became known as ‘blanc de Chine’, a term coined by French ceramic historian Albert Jacquemart (1808-1875). Decorated with prunus branches and flowers, this type of blossom embellishment was very popular on ‘blanc de Chine’ porcelain, which symbolised renewal and perseverance. Silver-gilt or gilt-metal mounts, such as the ones on this teapot, were often added to pieces of Chinese porcelain upon arrival in Europe. This emphasised the rarity and value of these objects while protecting or replacing fragile and broken parts. The mounts on this teapot were most likely added in the Netherlands in the late 17th century. The teapot is similar in form to the first European teapots and would have been used for both Asian alcoholic beverages, as well as for tea-drinking. During the 18th century, Dehua wares were closely copied by European porcelain factories such as Bow and Meissen (see for example CCN.646).
This teapot was once part of the Lady Cynthia Rosalie Postan Collection. The daughter of the 9th Earl of Albemarle, Lady Postan (1918 – 2017) was a prominent porcelain collector but also a secretary for MI5, a translator, editor and a noted horticulturalist.