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This teapot was made in Staffordshire, England, the source of much of the china and other pottery sold in the United States before the Civil War. It was decorated with a process known as transfer printing, which allowed the mass production of pottery with more elaborate decoration on it. Less expensive than hand-decorated pottery, these products were widely sold in the United States, mostly to the middle class. The decoration of this pot is typical. Three people are dressed in a way that was vaguely intended to evoke Asia and stand amid ruins that have classically European columns. In the background, mountains drawn in a way that imitates classically Chinese forms, but at their base are sturdy English-style homes. A dog and goat suggest a pastoral setting, but they stand on the large stone blocks of a waterfront. Overall, the scene was created to hint that this teapot was decorated in China, a far more expensive origin than it actually had.


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creator   James Edwards
date   1842-1851
location   Staffordshire, England
width   10.0"
height   8.75"
process/materials   transfer print
item type   Household Goods/Food Service Tools & Equipment
accession #   #MH.D.100

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"Taking Tea"

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