British potters invented pearlware, with its distinctive blue-tinged glaze (made using cobalt and lead) in an attempt to replicate the bright white hue of Chinese export porcelain. The lid originally belonged to another teapot of about the same date; at the time it entered the Mead’s collection, it had been “married” to its present base.
The Mead’s collection of ceramic teapots owes much to the generosity of one woman: Winifred Earl Leffert (1903–1995), a book designer, watercolor painter, and philanthropist who married the Amherst alumnus Robert A. Arms, Class of 1927, in 1952. (A gallery in this museum and Amherst College’s Music Center bear their name.) Leffert inherited some of the teapots she donated from her first husband, Carleton Macy, and his former wife, Helen. Distinguished collectors in their own right, the Macys donated nearly two hundred pieces of English salt-glazed stoneware to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1934. (EEB July, 2011)