Teapot styles tend to parallel the styles of other objects, from buildings, to art works, to furniture and clothing. Baroque and Rococo are very similar styles, and sometimes Rococo is referred to as “Late Baroque.” Both are known for their frills and embellishments, with Rococo being rather extreme. Some used the term “Baroque” initially to underline the excesses — redundant and noisy details. Time to go exploring.
The Baroque period started around 1600, while the Rococo period in the arts is closely associated with France and two of their monarchs: Louis XV (ruled as King of France and of Navarre from 1 September 1715 until his death on 10 May 1774) and Louis XVI (King of France and Navarre from 1774 until 1791, then King of the French from 1791 to 1792, before his deposition and execution during the French Revolution). However, the two styles prevailed in Britain, Germany, and other countries.
During the Baroque period, the influence of this style was everywhere. In Italy, Caravaggio was perfecting his chiaroscuro painting style. In Bavaria, Czech lands, Poland, and The Ukraine, pear domes appeared on churches and survive today as a quaint and very recognizable feature. Rubens, a Flemish painter, was a proponent of an extravagant Baroque style that emphasized movement, color, and sensuality. Teapot makers picked up this style trend in their wares.
Rococo took these details even further, some say in a way that was meant to emphasize absurdity in Baroque, but others (yours truly included) think this was just human nature pushing the envelope, as the saying goes. Rococo art and architecture were ornate and are characterized by creamy, pastel-like colors, asymmetrical designs, curves, gold, and more playful and often witty artistic themes. Teapots made in this style are no exception.
A Few Samples
I searched online for actual teapots from these eras and found a lot of reproductions, “in the style of,” and “vintage” or “antique” but few actually from this period. No worries. These will still show the range of styles:
- Baroque-style silver teapot with some detail — This teapot demonstrates the beginnings of embellishments that did nothing for functionality but everything for adding visual appeal to teatime.
- Baroque-style Newark Museum display teapot with replaced spout — Porcelain, silver, 1675-1700 (late Baroque). You can see the ornate Asian influence here, a common practice as trade routes with China, India, and other countries brought exotic treasures to the attention of European potters and ceramic artists. They competed by imitating.
- A Rococo Porcelain Veilleuse-Théière — The Porcelain Veilleuse-Théières style of teapots date from 1750 to 1860 (late Rococo to Victorian). Rectangular stand, oval pot, rococo, highly decorated with panels of roses and gilding, other panels rose pompadour. Vieux Paris. Acquired in Paris for the collection. Cream colors and gilding are typical.
- Another Porcelain Veilleuse-Théière — Figurine, man seated on rococo base behind square pot, animalistic spout, boy and girl on stand gaily dressed in flowered clothes in front of shield, white background, much gilding. Acquired in Paris for the collection.
- Silver teapot bursting with details — It almost looks like it’s going to walk away on those ornate legs.
Of course, you are going to want to serve Baroque or Rococo style teas in these. They are going to be teas that are artful and tasty. I would go for Lapsang Souchong which dates back to the 17th century during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). You may even want to try a nice black Ceylon tea (tea growing started in Ceylon as early as the 1700s). A nice Chinese green tea is another choice that will take you back in time. Lots of choices!
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