Here is a very appealing early saltglaze Staffordshire teapot with white pipe clay appliques. The intricate and delicate appliques were first cast separately in molds and applied to the grayish turned body before firing. The teapot is roughly globular in shape, with a white crabstock handle, molded spout and twig finial. The appliques are of central Tudor roses flanked with arabesque motifs. The height is four and three-eighths inches. Saltglaze wares were left unglazed, but during the firing some salt was added to the kiln. The vaporized sodium initiated a chemical reaction with the surface of the clay and created a tight, impervious surface that was ideal for preserving and serving food. It has been said that saltglazed stoneware revolutionized the use of ceramics for preserving foods, especially pickled or other acidic foods. Humphrey Palmer moved his potworks to Town Road in Hanley in 1750, and archaeological digs there have confirmed that virtually identical wares were made at that location. In fact, the same linear appliques of scrolls turned up on shards excavated at the site. Palmer became a large-scale producer of saltglazed pottery in the same period as Whieldon and Wedgwood. This particular teapot was originally sold by Ginsburg & Levy in NYC. Then it passed through the Kanter collection and was sold at Skinner Auctions in 1997 for $2,415. Since it also has a label for the Chappell Collection, I assume that’s where it was until recently. I acquired it at a bargain price and can pass this wonderful teapot along at much less than the 1997 auction price. Black light inspection shows that two places on the handle and the upper section of the spout have been repainted, so the damage underneath cannot be determined, but the repaint is of excellent quality and I’ve left it as is. My opinion is that the upper tip of the spout is original, and the small jutting section just beneath it has been replaced. The finial is a complete replacement, and has not even been repainted. It’s a composition body that was left uncolored because its natural color was pretty close to what was needed. A saltglaze creamjug with apparently identical appliques is in the Weldon Collection.
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