Brown Betty Teapot
A Brown Betty teapot is round in shape and glazed with manganese brown color called Rockingham glaze. These traditional English teapots made of clay were most popularly used in the Victorian era and although they are still used today by a lesser population, the authenticity of their make is often questioned.
History of Brown Betty
The original Brown Betty teapots that were retrieved in 1695 from a site in Stoke-on-Trent in Britain were created out of red clay. Since this clay could retain heat better than the others, it was extensively used for making these teapots in the seventeenth century. However, these early versions were tall and resembled the coffee pots. The round shaped Brown Betty evolved in the nineteenth century and is continuing to this day. The Rockingham glaze brushed on these teapots was allowed to drip down the sides. This gave the pots a streaky finish once they were fired.
These teapots were at their peak of popularity in the Victorian era, when tea brewed in them began to taste excellent. This was credited to the pot’s design which allowed the tea enough room to swirl around freely as the water was poured into it, thus, allowing the tea to release more flavor, greatly reducing the bitterness.
Modern Day Brown Betty Teapots
Currently, the authentic Brown Betty teapot is created exclusively by Cauldon Ceramics of England. Replicas of these pots however, can be found by the other manufacturers of England, and also of China, Malaysia and Japan. The counterparts of Brown Betty which are made in China are regarded low in quality. Also, the modern variations of these teapots are not even as heavy as the fine quality Brown Betty teapots of the yesteryears. Complaints of a flawed lid and dripping spout have been found to be more frequent with the new models of these formerly fine teapots of England. The flaws have been traced to the lower quality, thinner clay used in creating the new teapots.
Brown Betty Teapot Buying Tips
#1. Originality: The teapots marked with ‘Cauldon’ at their bottom are thought to be the authentic Brown Betty, made in England. The authenticity should thus be checked when buying these teapots. The original teapots also bear a Union Jack sticker. Imported handmade Brown Betty can also be purchased if they have been made in Old Caledonia Mills of the Stoke-on-Trent.
#2. Size: Brown Betty teapots are available in various sizes and tea sets that include 2, 4, 6 and 8 cups. A four cup Brown Betty makes 24 ounces of tea and so, depending on the quantity of the tea that is to be prepared in it, a smaller or a larger teapot should be purchased.
The Rockingham glaze used in the Brown Betty teapot, was first developed by a company in England by the name of Swinton Pottery.