One of my favorite things in my personal collections is my small individual size teapots. Many of these tiny teapots were made by the English pottery company, Sadler. James Sadler and Sons LTD. was a pottery manufacturer in Burslem, Stoke-On-Kent, UK founded in 1882. This company specialized in “Brown Betty” teapots and later made many other styles of porcelain teapots. They began making other shapes of teapots in the 1930’s and grew their line to include up to 840 styles of teapots. After over 100 years of production, the Sadler Company was disbanded in April 2000 when Churchill China purchased the right to use the Sadler company brand name and designs.
While Sadler made many other types of teapots, I only collect their practical Brown Betty pots. The beautiful mottled brown glaze and stripes of muted color are so appealing. My collection includes only one all brown pot and that one is used for some of the best brewed loose leaf tea.
A Brown Betty teapot is a roundish shape, brown in color, utilitarian teapot usually made from a red clay. This red clay first discovered in the late 1600’s in the Stoke-on-Trent area of Britain resulted in a ceramic that seem to retained heat better and subsequently was used for teapots and other utilitarian serving pieces. The Brown Betty teapot got their name from the brown Rockingham glaze used in the final firing of these pots.
During the Victorian era, these little Brown Betty pots were considered perfect for brewing the perfect cup of tea. The round shape allowed the tea leaves more room to freely swirl around as the water was poured into the pot, releasing greater flavor and creating less bitterness. As for keeping the tea hotter longer? Yes, it does a very good job of keeping my tea warm, especially if covered with a tea cozy.
My collection includes several pots that have the same coloration but that is because I cannot pass up one of these little pots. I love the play of color against the deep brown glaze. Three of these pots while all the same colors and pattern, have subtle differences in the thickness of lines and the shading in the mottled glaze lines. The bottoms have two types of marks; the one is a stamp with the company logo the other is on the solid brown pot.
Two of the pots in my collection are only marked “Made in England”. No indication of which company made the pots but they have similar coloration and glazing to my pots marked “Sadler” yet I question their authenticity. They have some questionable differences. If you look closely at the knob on the lid, there is a difference in the thickness of the button. On the Sadler pot, the button is flattened somewhat and on the England pot, the one glazed with a mottled blue, it is more round. Also, the handle on the lavender and gold glazed Sadler is wider and easier to hold while the handle on the England pot is thinner and a little more difficult to control when pouring tea. Nevertheless, they are glazed with similar colors and make a lovely addition to my collection.
My other Sadler pots are in similar stripes and colors. I love the peach and lavender stripes of the tiniest pots. These pots only hold about 2 cups of tea but are the perfect size for a breakfast tray.
One pot still retains its protective packing so, I believe this one has never been used. With all ceramics, it is quite difficult to ascertain if it was ever used. Especially in the case of a teapot glazed in a dark brown.
If you’re out at an estate sale and see a Sadler teapot, I hope you appreciate the heritage of these little serviceable teapots and think about adding a Sadler teapot to your tea table or kitchen. If it’s a Brown Betty, pick it up, they usually don’t command much money but they will keep your tea hot longer than any other pot.