Porcelain teapots came to Europe from China in the 17th Century. We thank the Portuguese and Dutch sea captains for their wisdom.
China cups followed, in waves. The first teacups were small bowls – they too came from the Orient; handles – the ‘ear’ – were added to the bowls a century later and by the 19th Century when tea became more affordable, the cups became bigger. And because the cups were larger, matching saucers were added to pick up any sloshing tea.
Early British teapots were made of silver and were the norm, but what with one thing or another, drinking tea became the national craze in the 19th Century. This national craze for drinking tea coincided with Queen Victoria’s glorious reign. The Queen’s glorious reign and the national appeptite for tea gave rise to a subset of a bourgeoning manufacturing industry in England: The English Potteries, which produced, inter alia, tea sets to satisfy the national craze.
In Her Ladyship’s opinion, (that would me!), only a fine bone china teapot will do, so when you are shopping for your teapot here is what you should look for:
First, we believe the teapot should be beautiful – of structure and design. And as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, you are the only one to be the judge.
Secondly, the teapot must be easy to lift and your knuckles should not touch the side of the teapot.
Thirdly, the teapot must have a hole in the lid to allow air to enter the pot the tea is being poured. This will stop the spout from dripping and splashing when tea is poured.
And finally, your teapot should have a protrusion on the lid to keep in place while the pot is being tilted.