I’ve a little teapot, short and stout…

This is the story of a teapot — a very special little teapot –a strangely configured teapot and, as it happens, a coffeepot to match.

My new vintage brown tea & coffee pots from England

It all started with a DVD Paul and I were watching one night a little while ago. We have a boxed set of DVDs of some plays by Terence Rattigan, a British playwrite, that turned out to be very good viewing. Each play is so different. One was only a short little one, and then we watched his play called “French Without Tears.”

Various versions of this play have been made and filmed, but this version stars Anthony Andrews and Michael Gambon, two of my all-time favourite actors. The play takes place in France at the home of a French professor where several students (adults) are gathered to learn French for various reasons. Anthony Andrews was learning it to become a diplomat. Anyway, the point of this story is the teapot.

Most of the play was centered around a big farmhouse table where all the characters would gather each day to eat and have conversation. There was always a brown teapot in the middle of the big table, and one or another of the characters would be pouring out tea or coffee for the others from it.

Paul didn’t notice it at first, but I did, right away. The teapot, which was similar to what they call a “Brown Betty” in England, was quite different in that the handle was on the side and not at the usual back of the pot. It was situated at 90 degrees from the spout, not at 180 degrees from the spout, if you can picture that. Well, you don’t have to picture it, just see the teapot itself on this page above and below, which is now my new teapot!

My new vintage brown tea & coffee pots from England

I was fascinated by this design. The following day I went online and started scouring the web for a teapot like this. They are very rare and not easy to locate. I did find one on EBay but I think it had been sold. I found a picture of one on a personal blog, and the owner was just showing it off as a strange looking teapot but she didn’t really know anything about it.

Then I found a picture of a small one at a website called Oh So Vintage. Ruth, the owner, is located in Hampshire, England, and she had this cute little brown teapot for sale at her shop! It came with a coffeepot, also with the handle on the side just like the teapot, and they were marked for sale at the incredibly low (in my opinion) price of 12 pounds sterling for the pair of them.


My new vintage brown tea & coffee pots from England

However, there was one little glitch. It said on her web site that this item was “not appropriate for shipping out of the UK.” Oh No!

Where there’s a will, there’s usually a way (in my book), so I wrote Ruth an email right away and put it to her – I loved that little teapot (and coffeepot, as well) and if I offered her more money, would it be possible to ship it across the pond to me, if she would just wrap it up really well so it wouldn’t break on the journey?

The next day I heard from Ruth. What a champ! She said that, as it happened, her husband was going to be flying across the pond in a few days’ time as he had business in the U.S., and that if I wanted, I could buy it now and she would see if she could wrap it up and fit it in his luggage. He would then post it to me by mail once he was here in the U.S.

I said “Yes, please!” and pretty soon she had wrapped it up and wrote me back saying it would, indeed, fit in his luggage. He was going to Philadelphia and he could take it with him and mail it up to me when he got here.

Oh, I was over the moon happy. I went ahead and bought it on her site and by the next day all the arrangements were made, her husband took off for the U.S., and true to his word, and Ruth’s word about wrapping it up really well, the teapot and coffeepot arrived here within a few days’ time without any problems.


I just love it. With the little 90 degree handles. You can see I have another brown teapot that sits with these vintage ones. It’s one I bought from a British website and it’s not technically a Brown Betty, but it’s pretty close. The style is a bit different, but I like it just the same.

My new vintage brown tea & coffee pots from England

So that’s the story of my little vintage teapot from England. Ruth also mentioned that this set actually belonged to her mother who collected vintage pots like this. So I assured her that I would love them and care for them and that I’d send her a photo of where they were finally living now, here in my dining room. I hope she is happy with everything about them now. I am still in awe that they were not that expensive, were made in England (Royal Worcester) and that the whole transaction went so smoothly.

Again, thanks Ruth, if you ever pop in here and read this entry, for everything. I love your vintage items on the web site and wish I could afford to buy some of that linen you have there, but as it happens, I am making a New Year’s resolution in a couple of days’ time which is to be FRUGAL for a change. That means no more buying things I don’t NEED. It will be hard for me, but I really need to stop spending money and start saving it again. I have all I could want here now so away we go…into the year of frugality – 2013! I hope that by announcing this resolution here, it will be easier for me to resist my natural inclination to purchase things which, thanks to this internet thing we have now, is all too easy!

Back to basics for me, and my needlepoint project that I’m working on. That keeps me out of trouble for long periods of time lately!



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17 Responses to I’ve a little teapot, short and stout…

  1. Bex says:

    Thanks for dropping by Ruth! We do love the little teapot and coffeepot here, and I thank you again for being so accommodating (not to mention your husband’s part in all this).


  2. Ruth Tapping says:

    Re the above comment – I am proud, they couldn’t have gone to a better or more appreciative new owner!


  3. Maggie says:

    Beautiful! Seems these would be a bit of a challenge for those of us who are left handed? That could be solved by always having a right handed person handy to serve the tea!


  4. Bex says:

    Oh, and BTW, I didn’t mention it before, but do you see that little “hooked round rug” that my teapots are sitting on? My dearest friend, “Sandy from Iowa” made that for me one Christmas. It’s the sweetest little thing. I’ve had it positioned in all different parts of the house, and now it seems to have found it’s kindred home. Thanks again, PB!


  5. Bex says:

    Reenie, if I didn’t LOVE it (the “marquee”), I wouldn’t have put it on my page! I do, I do. Thank you!

    I finally used my little funny brown teapot yesterday. It was fine. It poured easily, however, I have to say that if I had found the much larger version, say a 6-8 cup pot, I would have had a hard time pouring it out as my wrists are not that strong. But this little one, which holds almost a mug of liquid, was easy-peasy. Of course, I had a cup of Yorkshire Tea in it…


  6. Reenie says:

    The two pot story is lovely. Does it feel more logical with the different placement of the handle? It kinda makes sense to have the handle on the side. One can see the liquid better as it pours. I know you love England so � will you have a chance to return?

    (Smiling over the marquee feature. I haven�t mentioned it before because I�m now just catching up with posts. I�m so glad you like it. Thanks, Eric.)


  7. crochetlady says:

    My fascination is with teapots for two cups. One you have right away while the other brews the next teabag. I have two of those pots now. I do need to set them up as a display though. I love how you have yours set up.


  8. Carol says:

    Love this.


  9. mz. em says:

    What a wonderful history to have behind your tea pot and coffee pot. I have seen pots with the handles to the side. I believe it to be to keep the steam and the lid from burning your hand.

    I just love your stories. And, many successes to your resolutions.


  10. Nina Camic says:

    It reminds me of a story that had a similar theme but a different ending. My ex and I (this was decades ago) stayed at an inn once somewhere in the heart of England and we fell in love with the cherry pie that was served to us as we pulled in late at night. I wrote (snail mail those days) and asked for the recipe. Those sweet innkeepers responded that they were so pleased at our dedication to that pie, that they were sending us not only the recipe but a pie as well!

    I watched the mail daily, for months, for any sign of that pie. It never came. I’m sure some customs agent took it right out of circulation and dumped it (or ate it). But I’ll always remember the generosity of the English couple who so wanted to give us their pie.

    Maybe it’s not really your story, but something in the way you described your acquisition of the tea (and coffee) pot reminded me of it.


  11. ~ Sil in Corea says:

    How good of them both to ”go the extra mile” for you. They ARE Lovely pots!


  12. TopsyTurvy says:

    Great story! But I’ve got to ask, is it actually easier to pour the tea or coffee with the handle at that angle? I can’t help thinking it would be harder.


  13. Eric Mayer says:

    Neat story and neat teapot. I have never seen one with a handle like that? How well does it work?

    Nice painting by Reenie today also.


  14. Bex says:

    Absolutely Joan! Amazing and very wonderful indeed.


  15. Joan says:

    Isn’t the World Wide Web wonderful!!!


  16. Bex says:

    Thanks, Sandy my darling. It’s because of you that I can appreciate a “vintage” item these days. I know you are the expert and some of your love for old things is rubbing off on me! You are my inspiration!


  17. sandy from iowa says:

    Great story how they came to live with you…I am sure she is very proud of the new home they got.


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