Childs Miniature Transferware Teapot
WOMEN'S TEA PARTY for SUFFRAGE
Ford & Challinor Staffordshire England c 1870
This is striking child's miniature toy teapot c 1870. Originally been part of a complete children's toy tea service, the tiny teapot stands just 3-1/2 inches tall on a raised pedestal base and measures 5 inches long. Transfer printed in a rich and earthy forest green against a creamy earthenware with a pearlware glaze. The teapot features a naive depiction of three women sitting at a tripod table having a tea party. The teapot repeats on both sides of the pot. The detailing is impeccable considering the diminutive size of the piece.
Sometimes (but not on this piece) this image is found paired with the motto: LADIES ALL I PRAY MAKE FREE AND TELL ME HOW YOU LIKE YOUR TEA
It has been said that this image and associated motto were used as a subtle expression of support for the early women's suffrage movement in England in the 1860s. According to one auction house, this motif ‘calls for the freedom of women, an early reference to the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848’. The image may memorialize this landmark event in the history of women's liberation, which called for an improved role of women in society. Significantly, the convention was signed at a round, tripod-legged mahogany tea table like the one illustrated on the teapot. (The table is now in the collection of the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC.)
The teapot is unmarked. The pattern is commonly associated with the Staffordshire pottery makers Ford & Challinor (1865-1880) in England. The teapot is in great condition, with no chips cracks or repairs. A bit of roughening at the side of the spout, stilt marks on the top rim crazing and other minor typical firing imperfections consistent with age. The design is elegant and striking, an exciting commemoration of a historical event. The tiny teapot will make a sweet addition to any collection of children's early wares or collection of early women's history. Offered as is.