A perfect pot for your tea leaves: Sadler vintage china teapots

I’m at home this week as we do some decorating to our flat.  While the thought of all the painting and decorating is slightly daunting, one thing that I’m looking forward to is being able to have proper tea breaks with tea brewed in a teapot!  Usually during the week, I have to make do with teabags.  Although there are lots of really tasty tea bags or ‘temples’ around (my current favourites are Dr Stuart’s Detox tea and Pukka’s Three Ginger tea) drinking tea made in a teapot is undoubtedly more special.

A picture of a gold swirly vintage Sadler teapot

Many makers of vintage china tea sets also made teapots.  Royal Albert made many tea (and coffee) pots to complement its cups and saucers as did Royal Stafford.  Colclough and Royal Vale, however, didn’t seem to make many tea sets containing teapots.  We’ve had lots of queries about teapots for the popular Ballet and Harlequin designs but we haven’t ever seen any so I assume that none were made in these patterns.

A picture of a vintage Sadler teapot in a carousel shape

One of the most prolific companies specialising in teapots was James Sadler and Sons Ltd.  The company was founded in 1882 in Burslem, one of the main Staffordshire pottery towns.  The first teapots that the company made were their Rockingham Browns or ‘Brown Betty’ teapots as they became known.  These were made from earthenware and had a clear glaze which retained their terracotta colour.  Others have the terracotta base underneath but have been glazed in different colours on the rest of the body.  The later teapots were made from white clay with a variety of patterns ranging from flowers to crinoline ladies to lavish swirled designs.

A picture of a vintage Sadler teapot with crinoline lady picture

I had assumed that novelty teapots were a relatively recent invention but Sadler was making novelty shapes from the 1930s, including racing cars and tanks!  The original company lasted until 2000, when it was bought by Churchill China who took over their brand and design although they didn’t take over the factory.  I think Sadler teapots are made in India these days.

A picture of a vintage Sadler teapot

Although Sadler teapots are no longer made in the UK, the original UK-made ones are so sturdy that I think they’ll continue to feature in afternoon teas for many years to come.  As for my tea breaks, I’ve already used my teapot twice this weekend to try some new loose leaf teas.  I’m sure it’ll get plenty more use by the time the week is over!

Rach x

A picture of a vintable cream and gold Sadler teapot A picture of a vintage Sadler teapot with blue flower pattern A picture of a vintage Sadler teapot with crinoline lady picture A picture of a vintage Sadler teapot with a rose pattern

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4 responses to “A perfect pot for your tea leaves: Sadler vintage china teapots

  1. So, this may sound like a silly question, but if there is crazing on the inside of a sadler teapot, if it still safe to use? I just bought one and noticed the crazing, and am a little worried.

    • Hi Elizabeth, I’m really sorry about not seeing your comment until now. It went to my junk folder somehow. As you can see in my reply to Jake, there are different opinions about whether it’s safe to use a teapot with crazing. One view is that it’s okay if the crazing is on the outside but that it might be better to use a teapot for display if it has crazing on the inside – see the link I posted in my other reply.

  2. Hiiii. I hope you reply to my query. Is it safe to still use crazed sadler teapots? Did the company ever declare their use of lead-free paint in their decorations? I have several pieces with crazings, and I am very half-hearted with my use of them. Any tips to avoid crazing? Do wee have to prewarm the pot prior to pouring hot water into it to avoid thermal expansion? Thank you

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