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Blue jasper teapot with Shylock & Portia sprigs: C.109 & A-1992

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Object information

Current Location: Gallery 27 (Glaisher)


Blue jasper teapot with Shylock & Portia sprigs


Production: Neale & Co. (Probably)
James Neale & Co. ((alternative name))
Neale & Wilson ((alternative name))




Blue jasper ware with sprig decoration in white.

Pale blue jasper teapot decorated with engine-turning and with moulded and applied white jasper reliefs. Oval with straight sides, flat shoulder with a circular scalloped gallery surrounding the almost flat cover which has a pierced ball knob; straight sloping spout moulded in two halves and having sixteen holes forming a lozenge behind it in the wall of the pot; ear-shaped handle with a cusp on the lower side. The lower edge is decorated with a white 'rope' over which there is a zone of engine-turned basket weave. Above on one side there is a white relief of Elizabeth Inchbald as Lady Abbess in the 'Comedy of Errors', flanked by two plants and two small trees, and on the other side a white relief of Charles Macklin as Shylock in the 'Merchant of Venice', flanked by two plants and two small trees. The top edge is decorated with pierced white overlapping circles. The cover has a central knob with white horizontal white band, surrounded by alternating four-petalled flowers and addorsed leaves. The lower part of the spout is moulded in relief with acanthus and the handle is reeded and has an acanthus leaf at the top and a smaller one at its base. The underside is flat, with a slight, wide foot-rim.


History note: Bought from Mr Derek Manning, Cambridge

Legal notes

Purchased with the J.R.V. Smyth Fund.

Measurements and weight

Height: 12.2 cm
Width: 10.9 cm

Relative size of this object

10.9 cm12.2 cm What does this represent?

Relative size of this object is displayed using code inspired by Good Form and Spectacle's work on the British Museum's Waddeson Bequest website and their dimension drawer. They chose a tennis ball to represent a universally sized object, from which you could envisage the size of an object.

Place(s) associated

  • Hanley ⪼ Staffordshire ⪼ England

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bought (1992) by Manning, Derek


Late 18th century
Circa 1785 CE - 1790 CE


James Neale, a London pottery and glass merchant, took over Church Works, Hanley in 1778, including the stoneware business set up by Humphrey Palmer c.1759. Robert Wilson ran the practical side of the business, which continued under various names, including James Neale & Co. and Neale & Wilson until1792. It continued under Robert Wilson and his son David until 1818. The Hanley site produced fine white stonewares and, from the early 1780s, a limited range of jasper tea and ornamental wares, mainly in shades of blue.

Jasper, an unglazed fine stoneware with an impervious surface sheen, was introduced by Wedgwood in the mid 1770s. Other factories, including Neale, soon produced their own versions. Jasper was made in white or solid colour, often blue, and later by dipping in coloured slip. The coloured body was then decorated with sprigs - designs formed in small plaster, clay or brass moulds – applied when the clay was leather hard.

The sprigs of theatrical characters on the sides of the teapot were modelled after prints dated 1785 of 'Mrs Inchbald in the Character of Lady Abbess' in Shakespeare's 'Comedy of Errors' and of 'Mr Macklin in Shylock' in the 'Merchant of Venice', after J.H. Ramberg, which appeared in John Bell's 'The Dramatick Writings of Will. Shakspere: With the Notes of all the various Commentators complete from the best editions of Sam. Johnson and Geo. Steevens', Printed for and under the direction of, John Bell, British Library, Stand, 20 vols., London, 1785 or a later edition. See Documentation, Carde and Pendergast, 2004.

This teapot is very similar to a marked Neale & Co example in the V&A collection and has features (notably cover and handle design) similar to those on another jasper teapot in the Fitzwilliam Collection, also marked Neale & Co. (C.1 & A-1908)

School or Style


People, subjects and objects depicted

Components of the work

Body Length 13.1 cm
Handle-spout Length 23.5 cm

Materials used in production

blue and white Jasper ware

Techniques used in production

Moulding : Pale blue jasper ware, moulded, and sprig decorated

Inscription or legends present

Inscription present: faded ink

  • Text: Mrs Siddons/as
  • Location: Undersied of base
  • Method of creation: Rectangular paper label inscribed in black ink (faded)
  • Type: Label
  • Text: Garrick as Shylock/Mert. Venice
  • Location: Underside of base
  • Method of creation: Rectangular paper label inscribed in black ink (faded)
  • Type: Label

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.109 & A-1992
Primary reference Number: 71295
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Wednesday 15 July 2020 Last processed: Thursday 8 April 2021

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

Citation for print

This record can be cited in the Harvard Bibliographic style using the text below:

The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Blue jasper teapot with Shylock & Portia sprigs" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-01-31 09:29:42

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