Tea caddy with “The Tea Party” and “The Shepherd”

Josiah Wedgwood British
After a print by Robert Hancock British

Not on view

This tea caddy represents one of Wedgwood’s most popular designs known as The Tea Party, based on a print by Robert Hancock first published in a pattern book in 1756. Transfer printing refers to a technique developed around 1752 of transferring an engraved design directly onto the ceramic object, thereby allowing greater consistency, accuracy, and legibility in firing decorated wares. On one side of this caddy, a black servant stands next to a couple seated on a bench enjoying their tea al fresco. The reverse side shows a seated shepherd tending his flock. For eighteenth-century consumers, this popular design celebrated the twin pleasures of tea drinking and bucolic landscapes enjoyed by the English gentility. Today, the caddy’s subject matter also evokes the ties that bound the trade routes bringing tea and sugar into England with the exploitative mechanisms of slavery.

Tea caddy with “The Tea Party” and “The Shepherd”, Josiah Wedgwood (British, Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent 1730–1795 Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent), Creamware; transfer printed, British, Etruria, Staffordshire

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