Brown Betty Teapots: Form And Function

Brown Betty teapots are considered by many to be the best teapot design in existence. The red clay they are made of and the round design are two reasons for that illustrious distinction. They have withstood the test of time and remain revered for their look and style.

The originals were made of red clay from that found in Stoke-on-Trent, a city in Stratfordshire. This special material somehow permits maximum heat retention. This area of Great Britain is known as the hub of the pottery industry in England. This same clay can still be seen on the unglazed underside of the lid and the bottom.

The shape is also of importance. The earliest examples were thin and tall, much like a modern coffee pot. As time passed, the round shape was achieved. This helps to give the tea a less bitter, more flavorful taste. This is due to the freedom of the leaves to move about during brewing.

The glaze used on these pieces is a manganese color. The color and style are based on one developed in the 1700s by the Marquis of Rockingham. The color of the glaze gives the Brown Betty part of its name. In production, the glaze is permitted to run down the sides of the piece. This creates the signature streaking.

Originally the teapot was made for daily use by the general public. It was a durable and economical product that served its purpose well. It reached its peak of popularity in the Victorian era. At the time it was considered to brew the best tea.

Brown Betty teapots are still made by hand in England. Collectors and tea drinkers enjoy them for their whimsical appearance and their useful value. Even though they are only produced in their native Great Britain, they can be purchased throughout the world.

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