The Chitra Collection: British and European Pottery and Stoneware

This creamware teapot was made by William Greatbatch circa 1760–65. Greatbatch worked as an apprentice to Thomas Whieldon but left him in 1749 to set up his own factory. He designed and made a vast range of domestic wares, including coffee and chocolate pots, cream boats, tureens, and plates, as well as all types of tea wares in creamware and pearlware. His creamwares included tortoiseshell pieces and a range of moulded and glazed items in the shape of cauliflowers and baskets filled with flowers, among others. He decorated his pieces using sponging or hand-painting, transfer printing, and applied relief work.

John Dwight of Fulham, London, and the Elers Brothers, who moved to England from Holland in the 1680s, started by making salt-glazed stoneware teapots in buff, red, and brown. The salt glaze was created by throwing salt into the hot kiln during firing. The soda in the salt combined with the silica and alumina in the clay to give the vessel a very thin glaze, which meant that any added relief work or decoration retained its definition. Other potters tried to parallel white Oriental porcelain by using a whitish, calcium-rich clay found in Devon. The pots were often decorated with shallow relief work, such as woven basketwork, in the same pale clay. Delftware techniques were also still popular: designs applied with brushes were covered with a transparent lead glaze, which gave a very smooth, shiny finish called “kwaart.” London potters at the Lambeth pottery used a Swedish form of decoration called bianco-sopra-bianco (white-on-white), which painted graceful designs, usually flowers, in opaque white over a gray-white ground to create a very elegant and delicate effect.

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