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The decoration of eighteenth-century teapots was derived from numerous sources. Chinese prints inspired the relief-molded panels on the hexagonal teapots on the right, while fascination with natural history in the 1760s led to the popularity of cauliflower-shaped teapots like the example seen here. Other teapots made political statements in the form of slogans or portraits, as seen on the teapot here with an image of The King of Prussia. Porcelain teapots imported from China, like the version on the left painted to look like a pink lotus blossom, remained the most prestigious and expensive option for English consumers.

Tea bowls, which were used for taking tea during most of the eighteenth century, were modeled after porcelain imports from China. By the time cups with handles gained popularity in the 1780s, tea was more commonplace than exotic. The convenience of the handle outweighed the appeal of the earlier “Chinese” form.