The sugar bowls made to match Staffordshire teawares usually, as here, had lids to keep the precious sugar clean and dry. They do not have slots for spoons, since the sugar was in lump form, having been broken from a cast 'sugarloaf' and only partially crushed. The British way of brewing, serving and drinking tea differed considerably from established Chinese customs. In particular, the addition of milk and sugar was alien to the Chinese, and there were therefore no existing porcelain milk jugs or sugar basins for the Staffordshire potters to copy. Instead, from the 1730s they copied silver jugs for milk, while for sugar they reproduced the form of Chinese porcelain rice bowls, which had flanged rims and drop-in domed lids. This maintained the strong Chinese influence to be found in other types of teaware, and proved a highly practical solution. This particular mould design has been identified from excavations on the William Greatbatch (1735-1813) pottery site at Lane Delph (now called Middle Fenton) as belonging to the last phase of his work, 1770-1782. Although most of these popular designs were made by several manufactuers, the 'fruit basket' design seems to have been made exclusively by Greatbatch. By the end of the 18th century, creamware 'sugar boxes' had lost all trace of Chinese influence. The creamware manufacturers' pattern books show a large range of these vessels, all derived from contemporary metalwork shapes. English creamware sugar bowl press-molded in the "fruit basket" pattern picked out in green, grey, yellow, and brown, which is part of a probably assembled set consisting of a teapot, coffeepot, cream pot, sugar bowl, and tea canister by Staffordshire potter William Greatbatch (1735-1813). Greatbatch was a well-known Staffordshire potter, who also worked for Thomas Whieldon and Josiah Wedgwood as a supplier of molds and ceramic wares. According to Barker and Halfpenny: "This is an extremely common creamware type, often attributed to Leeds, Whieldon and Wedgwood. Examples occur with a range of handle and spouts, and yet all can be now shown to have been produced by Greatbatch. There are no pieces known which might have been produced by any other potter; every vessel form identified has been recovered from the Greatbatch site. This type appears to have been produced over a period of nearly twenty years, with its greatest popularity being in the years 1765-1770. The details of the vessels' modelling do not change, a fact which points to the use, over many years, of just one set of block moulds. The earlier basket of fruit wares have a darker cream-coloured glaze and basketwork handles or spouts are typical. The later examples of this type have a much lighter glaze, which has a hint of green, and indented-loop handles are the most common type used." Most fruit basket wares have some coloring, painted on to the wares when they were in biscuit state; the colors were applied underglaze in the form of metallic oxides which flowed when glazed and fired. This sugar bowl's, inset cover has a flower finial over a band of tightly-woven basketweave and the molded, scrolled tops of the brown and green handles. The bowl is encircled by molded, assorted fruits and leaves piled into the basket, occasionally spilling over the sides, and the basket handles rise up the sides continuing to the lid; over a diagonal trelliswork panels; over a band of horizontal basketweave over the footed base. Base is stained.
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