This teapot is part of the Darcy Collection by Alison Appleton.
The Darcy Collection was inspired by Regency England (1811-1820) when taking tea was often at the centre of refined social life. Earl Grey was prime minister and Jane Austen was creating her literary masterpieces.
Teatime in the Regency
By the Regency period tea was a well-established social ritual, though the concept of 'high tea' (as a meal served between lunch and dinner) would not be introduced until later by the Duchess of Bedford.
There are five types of tea that would have been available to Regency England: white, yellow, green, oolong, and black (the most popular). Tea was always served hot, with milk and sugar for enhancements, and always served in order of social status.
In 1784, Richard Twining, chairman of the tea dealers' guild, persuaded the government to reduce the import tax on tea, making it much more affordable. By the 1800's tea was widely drunk by the middle classes. So, by the Regency, tea as a ritual had been deeply established in most English households.
But there was no Earl Grey tea during the Regency. Earl Grey tea was not created until sometime in the 1830s and named after Charles Grey, second Earl Grey, and Prime Minister of England from 1830-1834. It is a black tea infused with bergamot and aromatic citrus oil.
The Darcy teapot
The Darcy teapot is made from black clay with a wooden handle. The lid is made from porcelain and delicately hand-painted with peonies and cherry blossom. It has a capacity of 950ml and comes with a fine stainless steel filter, so that it can be used with loose tea. The teapot comes presented in a floral-design gift box.
The design is an expression of treating tea as a special ritual.