Steeped in Teapots
Numbering more than 400, there’s a teapot to satisfy every taste in this collection!
What started out as a lark in 1980 has turned into a collection numbering more than 400 items and counting. It was then that my friend Clare Smith decided to follow the trend of her friends who were collectors.
“Everybody was collecting spoons. I had two teapots, so I thought, why not collect teapots?” she says.
It didn’t take long before family took her seriously and then her friends jumped on the bandwagon, too. Now any time someone sees a teapot that looks unique or may not already be owned by Clare, they purchase it for her as a gift to add to the growing collection.
Clare’s collection includes teapots constructed of many types of materials, including metal, wood, cloth, ceramic, paper and glass, just to name a few. Some come from distant lands such as Russia and Poland, or are of Oriental origins. There are wonderful Royal Doulton pieces, and fun novelty teapots for Christmas and Easter. She also has a teapot village as well as a few precious silver teapots that have been in her family for generations. Then there are those in the shape of animals, or featuring animals, including several funny ones that you just have to see to believe.
Then there are all the other items Clare owns that feature teapots, including earrings, necklaces, paperweights, doorstops, key hooks, light switch covers, candles, photo holders, cookie cutters, night lights and a perfume bottle! Clare even has a musical teapot that functions much like a music box. Tea concoctions are always a part of the recipe books Clare has on hand and she has a set of miniature teapots that showcase various inventions over the years; for example, one is in the shape of a refrigerator and indicates the year in which the refrigerator was invented. The set has become somewhat of a history lesson, sitting on shelves in the kitchen.
Except for a few of the miniatures, she has received very few duplicates over the years. Her husband Bruce tried for a number of years to limit the teapot gifting to just her birthday and Christmas, but the lure of the pots has become too great. Few can resist a new teapot for Clare when they come upon one while shopping—especially if it’s one that is definitely not yet in her massive collection.
All are displayed on shelves in various rooms of the house, with only the laundry room and lower bathroom not featuring any items from the collection. Bruce and Clare look at each other, somewhat perplexed as to why those two spaces have escaped adornment…for now.
When asked if Clare ever envisioned the collection growing as large as it has today, she laughs.
”No. Never did I think it would get as big as it is has.” And it continues to grow, even if a few pieces do get put to good use when company comes over.
Above and below: a small sampling of Clare’s varied and extensive collection.