Teapot and presentoir

DATE: ca. 1760 (made)
PLACE: Staffordshire (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Salt-glazed stoneware decorated with painted enamels

During the 18th century, Staffordshire became the centre of ceramic production in England. Before the Victorian age of patented designs, the various potteries of Staffordshire shared and copied their hollow plaster moulds, experimental glazes and decorative styles, in order to cater to the high demand for fashionable but affordable utilitarian wares. This teapot is made from salt-glazed stoneware, a type of ceramic that was perfected in the Staffordshire potteries around 1720. It is decorated with flowers and a parrot, while the handle and spout are moulded to resemble gnarled wood. This was termed ‘crabstock’, and was a common feature of cheaper English teawares made in the second half of the 18th century due to the fashion for naturalistic ornament. Colourful birds were often used to decorate ceramics during this period due to the fashion for exotic styles.