Teapot styles tend to parallel the styles of other objects, from buildings, to art works, to furniture and clothing. The Art Deco period is one that especially stands out and that was reflected in teapot designs. Those designs had a wide range of approaches and materials. Time to go exploring.
When someone thinks of art deco, images of the Jazz Age and bathtub gin come to mind, as does the BBC series of Agatha Christie’s Poirot mysteries starring David Suchet. Art deco only lasted officially about 14 years (1925-1939), dying when the designs began to be mass produced and therefore took on a cheap and gaudy air, but the style has left a lasting impression, so much so that a revival of sorts flared up in the 1980s as a graphic design style and a tie-in with the 1930s film noir sense of glamour in jewelry and fashion. And collecting art deco pieces, especially teapots, is quite the rage even today.
A Few Samples
These show the range of styles, all incorporating the basic ideas of geometry and industrial materials:
- The CUBE Teapot by Grimwades — A model of simplicity of design yet maintaining an aesthetic that pleases the eye and of course is functional. The spout has strainer holes across it on the inside, a feature common in other types of teapots such as Yixing clay pots. You can steep teas loose in this (the kind consisting of whole or broken leaf pieces).
- Sadler Clarice Cliff Style Teapot — The vibrant colors catch the eye without being garish. The shape is functional yet sleek.
- Sheffield Silver and Ivory Teapot — A combination of materials in a practical and eye-pleasing manner. This one dates from 1937 and sold at auction recently for £380.
- Yellow Kitchen Teapot — This bumblebee colored teapot is a more casual example of art deco design. It is a bright yellow with black accent stripes that are ridged to add an extra aspect to its aesthetic appeal.
- Wilcox Silver Plate Teapot — This teapot dates from 1951, twelve years after the Art Deco period officially ended, but is nevertheless in that general style. It’s a very “Aladdin’s Lamp” design with a hinged and finialed lid yet has a basic octagonal shape, as you can see by the base.
Of course, you are going to want to serve an art deco style tea in these. They are going to be teas that are artful and tasty. I would go for a Darjeeling or a lovely Taiwan oolong. You may even want to try a Ceylon green tea or some Nilgiri black tea. Lots of choices!
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