SEVEN FAS­CI­NAT­ING FACTS ABOUT

THE ‘ BROWN BETTY’ TEAPOT

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Style News -

Pour your­self a cuppa and learn more about this 300-year-old Bri­tish icon

1

The Brown Betty’s ori­gins go all the way back to the 1690s, when Dutch broth­ers John Philip and David Elers be­gan re­fin­ing a seam of red clay in Stafford­shire. They made some of the first red-ware pots, de­signed to with­stand the ther­mal shock of boil­ing water, and in so do­ing pro­vided a vi­tal cat­a­lyst for the ce­ram­ics in­dus­try in Stoke-on-trent.

2

Why is it called the Brown Betty? The Brown part is ob­vi­ous, but the Betty may have orig­i­nated from the pop­u­lar­ity of the name El­iz­a­beth in 19th-cen­tury Eng­land. Many peo­ple had ser­vants with this name, of­ten short­ened to Betty, and one of their key tasks would have been to serve the tea.

3

No­body knows who orig­i­nally de­signed the Brown Betty, but it re­mains the most man­u­fac­tured teapot in Bri­tish his­tory.

4

Its

glossy choco­late-brown glaze ( known as a Rock­ing­ham glaze) hand­ily ren­ders tea stains in­vis­i­ble. How prac­ti­cal!

5

The Brown Betty has lasted be­cause it works so well. Its round shape is per­fectly suited to brew­ing tea: it’s easy to swirl the leaves around and the red clay re­tains heat bril­liantly.

6

De­spitenot been its safe hum­ble­from fak­ers. na­ture, Avoidthe teapot in­au­then­tichas im­ports and buy from Cauldon Ce­ram­ics, the old­est re­main­ing man­u­fac­turer, based in Tun­stall, Stafford­shire. Its Brown Bet­ties are still made from the same seam of red clay un­earthed all those years ago, and cost from just £18.40 (cauldon­ce­ram­ics.co.uk).

7

London-based ce­ram­i­cist Ian Mcin­tyre, who has de­signed table­ware for Hay and An­other Coun­try, is a huge fan of the Brown Betty and is work­ing on a project to put it back in the spot­light. Sup­ported by the Bri­tish Coun­cil, he’s col­lab­o­rat­ing with Cauldon Ce­ram­ics on a new ver­sion, to be launched next year.

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