In Britain, when shit gets emotional, you know it’s time for a cup of tea. Five words for any situation: “I’ll put the kettle on”. Your friend gets dumped: kettle on. You feel like procrastinating at work: kettle on. Need to diffuse tensions at a multiracial protest and simultaneously trivialise the issues of race and police brutality… tea actually might not be enough, but I hear a can of Pepsi does the trick just fine!
But whether you’re an Earl Grey drinker or a mint tea sipper, a cuppa is likely to have put a smile on your face at some point. Simple pleasures. With that in mind, I’ve picked out three completely contrasting teapots from The Sale Room to show just a small cross-section of the surprisingly interesting world of tea-holding vessels. Let’s start with the most expensive…
- The Qing Dynasty teapot
I wish I could describe this 18th century Chinese Canton enamel teapot as well as the description on the website, but this is pretty impressive:
“The pear-shaped body with two quatrefoil panels enclosing flowers, fruit and butterflies against a yellow ground covered in flowers and foliage, the domed cover C-shaped handle and S-shaped handle decorated in blue with a similar scrolling foliage design, the spout terminating with a phoenix head…”
For word nerds, quatrefoil is from the (old) French for ‘four leaves’. It’s a good lookin’ teapot, as far as teapots go, and costs an estimated £3000 – £5000. I really feel like the rich and Insta-famous should post snaps of their Qing dynasty ceramics more often. Would I pay this much for a teapot? Not for all the tea in China…
- The Art Deco style Lorna Bailey
English potter Lorna Bailey has a pretty distinctive style. Her quirky ceramics earned her an Honorary Doctorate from Staffordshire Uni.
This particular teapot gets my vote for its whimsical Art Deco style. I got my teapot for a few quid ‘down the car boot’ but if you’re a collector of Bailey’s playful pottery, you can pick this up for an estimated £80 – £120.
- The French fancy
This 19th century French ‘veilleuse’ teapot (another word nerd gem) is an unusual one. I hadn’t heard of the style before, but it means ‘night light’ in French. I read up on these teapots on the English Tea Store’s blog so if you’d like to find out more about it, check it out. I don’t want to regurgitate what they’ve already articulated so well, but I would recommend reading this particular post. I’m a massive geek, but I found it quite interesting.
This particular veilleuse teapot is 8″ hight on a burner stand and ‘painted in colours with lovers in a garden and flower sprays’. It’s sale estimate is £40 – £60 and the opening bid is £25. If you’re looking for something cool for a tea-lover, this is an idea. Don’t forget: sometimes you get lucky with auctions and win items for a price that falls well below the estimate.
As always, feel free to share your thoughts, even if (especially if) they’re tea-related puns. Thanks for reading, I hope it hasn’t been too tea-dious…