A little more information has come from the Holburne Museum regarding the teapot. I supplemented this from a search in the V & A’s online collection, where they have a similar teapot, this is the description:
- Yixing made
- 1800-1850 / Qing dynasty
- unglazed stoneware with incised decoration
- teapot of flattened globular form with curved spout and four short tubular projections applied on the body. Brown stoneware incised with a symbol on the side.
Left hand side image, V & A collection, right hand side image Holburne Museum collection
A teapot made in a very unusual form, more like a travelling flask. It is flattened so it can be stored more easily than a rounded form. The only other one I came across in a brief search was in the V & A online collection and was identical apart from the inscription. I found the form had more in common with flattened moon flask shapes, for example this Chinese brown glazed moon flask that is on an auction site, website accessed 22/10/17:
To serve tea while travelling. The tea would be freshly brewed as there is no lid. It has a sturdy stand and large lugs to tip the tea out of. I suppose the question would be did William Holburne take the teapot on his grand tour?
The teapot is a functional item, meaning subscribed to it could be
- cultural origin of teapot – Far East – the site of production
- commodity of tea
- cultural considerations of who could afford to buy such an object
- what kind of person would need a travelling teapot
- connotations of the links with William Holburne’s grand tour – the site of the object
- cultural pilgrimage
Technical aspects that I find interesting – the flattened moon flask shape, slip cast production
Conceptual aspects that I find interesting – links with the grand tour, cultural pilgrimage, accompanying William Holburne on his adventure, colonialism, collecting of foreign objects, cultural capital, layers of society, male succession, symbolism of owning these objects.