What a find! It is rare to find ANY early 19th C teapot with a bridged spout, and this one was made by the elusive "Factory Z". Factory Z is noted for making very high quality wares from about 1790 to 1820. Ceramics researchers had been trying to attribute these pieces for years, and it has recently been determined that the maker is Thomas Wolfe. I date this teapot c 1810.
This teapot is lavishly decorated and trimmed with "silver lustre" (actually made by using platinum salts). The hand painted red and blue flowers and designs are in the Japan style popular then.
The teapot is in excellent condition. There are no chips, no cracks, and no repairs. The teapot lid has a chip on the interior collar, which can't be seen when the lid is in place. Both pieces ring when tapped. It's about 10" long and 6-1/2" high. Although unmarked, it sports the distinctive "flattened drum strainer" of Factory Z.
I just received an email from Philip Miller, noted author and researcher of British ceramics. He wrote: "One day I hope to publish a book on Thomas Wolfe but in these days of recession it is hard to persuade a publisher. I am looking into the possibility of publishing it my self as a PDF which would allow me to constantly add to and revise as new information becomes available.
Your teapot is a very good example of Wolfe's wares and I would like to include your photo in any work. I will spend time looking at the many treasures in your shop, how good that the web makes it possible for me to browse across the pond."
For other examples of this "New Oval Shape with Bridged Spout and Lid Restrainer" by Factory Z, visit the website of Norwich Castle Museum.
Photos can also be found on page 202 of "An Anthology of British Teapots" by Miller and Berthoud; page 503 of "Staffordshire Porcelain", edited by Geoffrey Godden; and page 159 of "A Directory of British Teapots" by Berthoud and Maskell. Also, the scholarly Northern Ceramics Society showed a teapot in their 2012 Exhibition which was identified as "Factory Z, probably Thomas Wolfe at Stoke".
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