Saturday, October 24, 2009

Cadogan Teapots

The story goes that Lord Cadogan, 1675-1726, fell in love with these little Chinese wine pots and imported them into England to serve tea. The story may or may not be true--some say it was Lady Cadogan who brought them to England. But that's not really here or there except to explain the name.

At any rate, these little pots, which only hold about a cup, were then adapted and manufactured in the English potteries.

Many Victorian examples were larger, brown and with the figure of a squirrel on top.

As you can see, there is no lid. Yet it pours out liquid.
How can that be? The secret of how they work can be seen in this modern glass one.

Inside, an inverted funnel shape is the key. The wide part of the funnel is part of the base; the small opening is at the top.

To fill, turn the pot over (be sure to stop the end of the spout with your finger) and fill with liquid. Turn it right side up again by gently laying it on it's side and inverting. (The side-turn keeps the hole at the top of the funnel clear, although a few drops may escape.)

The liquid that was poured into the top when the vessel is inverted will pool into the bottom of the pot. The liquid cannot rise higher than the top of the funnel-opening. The pot can be filled as high as the inside funnel and up part of the spout. The bottom of the spout is located rather low on the pot for this reason.

For the potter, they are easier to make than you would think. The trick is to make the inner funnel first, then pull the outer walls of the form up around it, leaving the inner cavity fat at the bottom and closing the vessel in at the top. The spout is attached just the same as with a regular teapot, but you must smooth the inner seam without being able to see it.

Here's one I made and (hopefully) it will be accepted into a show coming up.

4 comments: said...

So cool! I would have been totally flummoxed about how to use that pot. I hope your pot gets into the show- it looks great. Thanks for sharing that little history lesson. Do you know any resource for researching potters marks for contemporary studio potters?

clayartist said...

The only place I know current potter's marks are being registered is through Potter's Council.
Http:// Check out their webpage.

Ben Ide said...

Beautiful pot and a very interesting design. But how do you clean them out? (Obviously, teabags would never work in one of these.)

clayartist said...

You just clean them by rinsing out with hot water. Even this could be considered heresy by died-in-the-wool tea-drinkers who believe the build-up of tea over bisque enhances the taste over time.

I wouldn't recommend putting cream inside unless you're going to be diligent in washing it out right away. Even so, I personally wouldn't do it because of the risk of spoiling.

Vinegar, wine, tea, maybe soy sauce would be the best kind of choice to put into this pot.