A Royle's Patent Self-Pouring teapot. Manufactured by Doulton Burslem. The teapot is decorated with a floral design with white flowers and foliage on a pale blue background. The pewter lid which originally came with the teapot is missing. The spout is broken.
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There is something very civilised about brewing a big pot of tea for guests and family, perhaps served alongside a plate of biscuits and tiny sandwiches. However, this vision of graceful hosting can sometimes be shattered by the reality – a large teapot filled with tea can be extraordinarily difficult to actually pour! That is where Victorian inventor John James Royle comes in. After seeing Victorian women struggling to pour these enormous pots of tea for family and friends, he had the bright idea of inventing a self-pouring tea pot, to help make domestic life just that much easier. Puke Ariki’s example is missing the key element of a lid, but a fully functional self-pouring tea pot also has a lid with a hole in the top. The user would lift the lid and cover the hole with their finger, and then push it back down. This releases a cup of tea without having to lift the teapot from the table, as the pressure inside forced the tea up the curved spout.

Puke Ariki’s example has clearly seen some hard days requiring a lot of tea drinking. It is missing its lid and has a number of cracks and chips, but its delicate patterning combined with its sturdily useful design suggests it may have been well used in its day!
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