Teapot and presentoir

ARTIST / MAKER: Worcester porcelain factory (manufacturer)
DATE: ca.1775 (made)
PLACE: Worcester (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain painted in overglaze enamels and gilt

Founded in 1751, the Worcester porcelain factory became renowned for producing affordable ceramic wares for the middle-class. While the factory could not directly copy the hard-paste porcelain produced in China, the inclusion of soapstone into the clay formula allowed the factory to create successful soft-paste porcelain that rivalled that of other ceramics factories during this period. This porcelain was ideal for teawares because it could withstand high temperatures both in the kiln and when used for making tea. Made ca. 1775, this teapot and matching presentoir are decorated with exotic and brightly coloured birds, resembling pheasants. Between 1767-1780, the factory took inspiration from the fashionable designs used at the French porcelain factory, Sèvres, and decorative schemes that combined brightly coloured birds with a background of floral motifs and festoons became part of the factory’s design repertoire. During the 18th century, exotic birds and animals were the subject of much fascination and were admired for their rarity, exoticism and beauty and were therefore a fashionable subject matter for decorating porcelain tablewares.