Collector’s Corner: An Accidental Collection

Collector's Corner: An Accidental Collection
Salt-glazed teapot with hinged pewter lid, unmarked, undated. Photograph courtesy of Unjeria Jackson, M.D.

My teapots range from 200 to 250 years old to very contemporary. A sample of the teapots can be seen in my book, Teapots by Design—A Collector’s Catalogue. The idea of doing a book came about when we were moving from one home to another. I catalogued my collection for my own documentation. As I acquired more teapots, I catalogued them. Eventually, I thought that doing a book would be a great project. So, about 10 years from beginning the initial research on and taking photographs of my teapots, I completed the book, and it was published by Schiffer in 2006.

Over the years, my fascination with teapots and my enjoyment of afternoon tea have led to an interest in learning as much about tea and the history of tea as possible—through extensive reading, by attending seminars and tea festivals, and by having discussions with various professionals in the tea industry. As a result, over the years, I have given numerous talks on the history of tea and the traditional afternoon tea. Some of these talks took place at the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey, where there was an exhibit of some of my teapots from January through April in 2011. It was the ultimate acknowledgement of the beauty, value, and sophistication of my collection.

Collector's Corner: An Accidental Collection
Kutani teapot, Japan, c. 1860. Photograph courtesy of Unjeria Jackson, M.D.

As a collector, I recognize that I belong to a special group of people who find beauty in the things they collect. There is nothing like the satisfaction one feels when acquiring a new object to add to his or her collection. I have become much more selective, but I still purchase teapots. I now receive very few as gifts because I have so many and nobody knows what to get. It never ends—collecting teapots is in my blood, maybe even my DNA at this point. My daughters do not have the collecting bug, but three of the four enjoy drinking tea. Whether they become collectors or not, I hope that they all have as many fond memories of taking tea with me as I have of taking it with my mom.