Teapot thumbnail 1
Teapot thumbnail 2
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images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 120, The Wolfson Galleries

Teapot

1800-1825 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Object Type
Red stoneware teapots were used in China in the 17th century because they were thought to make better tea and could be heated with a spirit lamp without breaking. They also became popular in Europe. However, the dry-bodied stoneware was unsuitable for cups or milk jugs, since the rim sticks to the drinker's lips and the unglazed ware stains and cannot be cleaned. With the refinement of an interior glaze, however, stoneware teapots remained in use, even though they did not match the rest of the tea service, which was likely to be made of porcelain.

Style
Avant-garde architects, such as William Chambers and Robert Adam, experimented with the Egyptian style from the 1770s; Wedgwood's catalogue of 1773 presented sphinxes and other Egyptian motifs. But it was not until Napoleon's invasion of Egypt in 1798, that the craze for Egyptian designs really started. It then lasted 10 or 15 years.

Design & Designing
Although the combination of crisp, contrasting ornament with Wedgwood's teapot body is successful artistically, there is almost nothing Egyptian about the shape. Moreover, the decoration was selected at random from an out-of-date source book in Wedgwood's library (Bernard de Montfaucon's L'Antiquité expliquée et representée en figures of 1719) and relied heavily on earlier Italian examples. Nonetheless, the rival Spode factory closely copied the design. By contrast, designers such as Thomas Hope in other branches of the applied arts made use of new publications or their first-hand knowledge of Egypt.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.

  • Teapot
  • Cover
  • Stand
Materials and techniques
Rosso antico (red stoneware), with applied black ornament in relief
Brief description
Teapot and stand in the Egyptian style
Style
Marks and inscriptions
Impressed with the marks 'WEDGWOOD' on stand and pot, and 'Z' on stand
Gallery label
  • British Galleries: Between 1800 and 1820 designers developed an interest in ancient Egypt,as well as Greece and Rome, as a source for design ideas. They used hieroglyphic inscriptions and prints of Egyptian antiquities to decorate modern objects such as this teapot.(27/03/2003)
  • Teapot and stand Made at the factory of Josiah Wedgwood, Etruria, Staffordshire, 1800-1810 Marks: on the stand and teapot 'WEDGWOOD', impressed, on the stand only 'Z', impressed 'Rosso Antico' (red stoneware with applied Black Basalt reliefs) 28 to B-1904 Given by Mr C. B. Farmer(23/05/2008)
Credit line
Bequeathed by C. B. Farmer
Object history
Designed and made at the factory of Josiah Wedgwood, Etruria, Staffordshire
Summary
Object Type
Red stoneware teapots were used in China in the 17th century because they were thought to make better tea and could be heated with a spirit lamp without breaking. They also became popular in Europe. However, the dry-bodied stoneware was unsuitable for cups or milk jugs, since the rim sticks to the drinker's lips and the unglazed ware stains and cannot be cleaned. With the refinement of an interior glaze, however, stoneware teapots remained in use, even though they did not match the rest of the tea service, which was likely to be made of porcelain.

Style
Avant-garde architects, such as William Chambers and Robert Adam, experimented with the Egyptian style from the 1770s; Wedgwood's catalogue of 1773 presented sphinxes and other Egyptian motifs. But it was not until Napoleon's invasion of Egypt in 1798, that the craze for Egyptian designs really started. It then lasted 10 or 15 years.

Design & Designing
Although the combination of crisp, contrasting ornament with Wedgwood's teapot body is successful artistically, there is almost nothing Egyptian about the shape. Moreover, the decoration was selected at random from an out-of-date source book in Wedgwood's library (Bernard de Montfaucon's L'Antiquité expliquée et representée en figures of 1719) and relied heavily on earlier Italian examples. Nonetheless, the rival Spode factory closely copied the design. By contrast, designers such as Thomas Hope in other branches of the applied arts made use of new publications or their first-hand knowledge of Egypt.
Collection
Accession number
28 to B-1904

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Record createdMarch 27, 2003
Record URL
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