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Sugar bowl
  • Sugar bowl
    Greatbatch, William, born 1735 - died 1813
  • Enlarge image

Sugar bowl

  • Place of origin:

    Fenton (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1765-1770 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Greatbatch, William, born 1735 - died 1813 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cream-coloured earthenware, with moulded decoration and stained lead glaze

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Kate Bentley

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 53a, case 1 []

Object Type
The sugar bowls made to match Staffordshire teawares usually, as here, had lids to keep the precious sugar clean and dry. They do not have slots for spoons, since the sugar was in lump form, having been broken from a cast 'sugarloaf' and only partially crushed.

Design & Designing
The British way of brewing, serving and drinking tea differed considerably from established Chinese customs. In particular, the addition of milk and sugar was alien to the Chinese, and there were therefore no existing porcelain milk jugs or sugar basins for the Staffordshire potters to copy. Instead, from the 1730s they copied silver jugs for milk, while for sugar they reproduced the form of Chinese porcelain rice bowls, which had flanged rims and drop-in domed lids. This maintained the strong Chinese influence to be found in other types of teaware, and proved a highly practical solution.

This particular mould design has been identified from excavations on the William Greatbatch (1735-1813) pottery site at Lane Delph (now called Middle Fenton) as belonging to the last phase of his work, 1770-1782. Although most of these popular designs were made by several manufactuers, the 'fruit basket' design seems to have been made exclusively by Greatbatch.

By the end of the 18th century, creamware 'sugar boxes' had lost all trace of Chinese influence. The creamware manufacturers' pattern books show a large range of these vessels, all derived from contemporary metalwork shapes.

Place of Origin

Fenton (probably, made)


1765-1770 (made)


Greatbatch, William, born 1735 - died 1813 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Cream-coloured earthenware, with moulded decoration and stained lead glaze


Height: 10 cm approx., Width: 10 cm approx.

Object history note

Probably designed and made in Fenton, Staffordshire by William Greatbatch (born in Staffordshire, about 1735, died there in 1813)

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Barker, David. William Greatbatch, a Staffordshire Potter, Jonathan Horne, London, 1990. See Plate XXVI for a teapot with similar 'fruit basket' pattern, together with an unfired teapot body of the same design, excavated on the Greatbatch pottery site, both in the collection of the City Museum & Art Gallery (now The Potteries Museum), Stoke-on-Trent. This pattern is discussed pp 241-244, where this sugar bowl is illustrated.

Labels and date

British Galleries:
This moulded pattern appears to have been unique to the potter and block-mould maker William Greatbatch. The bowl was formed in a plaster mould, presumably made from an original block mould. The dregs of tea cups were tipped into slop basins before refilling. [27/03/2003]
Basin and cover
Probably made by William Greatbatch, Staffordshire, about 1765-70
Mark: a cross, painted in underglaze purple
Lead-glazed earthenware with applied decoration

C.273&A-1915 Given by Mrs Kate Bentley [23/05/2008]


Ceramics; Earthenware


Ceramics Collection

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