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:


moon flask


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

  • functional
  • 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


Initial thoughts:-

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.

teapot sketch1
J Affleck, Ink Sketch, Procreate- IPad Pro, 22/10/17


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