The Bonhams Tea Party – World’s Largest Teapot for Sale

bonhamsteapotJust as drinking tea has become an institution around the world, the British are rather partial to a cup or two themselves and international fine art auctioneers Bonhams has just the thing to quench a whole tea party. An extraordinary teapot that is capable of holding some 1,024 cups of tea and needs two strong men to lift it is to be sold by the auction house on Thursday 6 October in Chester. It is thought to be the largest teapot ever made.

The teapot was produced by the Gibson pottery in around 1907-10 and is believed to have been a  promotional piece. The pot was press moulded in two halves and fired in a bottle kiln that had to be adapted to house the huge pieces and to accommodate a saggar in the form of a brick wall built around them.

According to the Potteries Museum and Art Gallery in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, three teapots were made but by the mid 1950s only one of them was thought to have survived. Its whereabouts remained a mystery to all except its current owner until last year. Family history purports that the vendor’s grandfather, a china and glass retailer in Bolton, was given the teapot during the 1930s by the proprietor of Gibson in exchange for a dinner service he had ordered for his daughter’s wedding.

The globe-shaped teapot is decorated with printed, painted and aerographed flower sprays against a graduated green and yellow ground, and has a handle and spout in solid burnished gilt. A teapot of standard size, which sits on top of the domed cover highlights the sheer scale of the piece. To find out more about Bonhams in Chester, please visit

Estimated at £1,000-1,500, the teapot will be on view at Bonhams in Chester from Sunday 3 October until 7 October, when it is to be sold.

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