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Teapot with Thorns: C.10 & A-2003

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Teapot with Thorns


Potter: Keeler, Walter




Cream earthenware teapot and cover decorated with 'Whieldon-style' green and yellow glazes

Cream earthenware, the body thrown, with moulded spout, and handles, decorated overall with green glaze, and splodges of yellow glaze. The pot has a flat base with a projecting edge, straight sides, curved shoulders, and a short neck formed by two rings. On one side, near to the handle, there is an ? impressed yellow motif of concentric circles. The curved spout is fluted and has a yellow thorn projecting on one side. The tall handle over the top is ridged and twisted and has two pairs of yellow thorns at the front and back. The circular cover has a cylindrical lower part which fits inside the pot, and an almost flat top with a central ventilation hole, and a small handle of the same type with two yellow thorns.


History note: Purchased by the donors from Adrian Sassoon, 14 Rutland Gate, London, SW7 1BB

Legal notes

Gift of Nicholas and Judith Goodison through the National Art Collections Fund

Measurements and weight

Height: 28 cm

Place(s) associated

  • Penalt ⪼ Monmouthshire ⪼ Wales

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Given (2003-10-20) by Goodison, Nicholas and Judith


Early 21st Century
Elizabeth II
Production date: AD 2002


Text from object entry in A. Game (2016) ‘Contemporary British Crafts: The Goodison Gift to the Fitzwilliam Museum’. London: Philip Wilson Publishers: Walter Keeler studied at Harrow School of Art and Hornsey College of Art. He established his first studio in Buckinghamshire in 1965, moving to his current studio in Wales in 1976. Keeler draws on the rich traditions and histories of functional English pottery forms to create his striking domestic wares. His fifty-year career as a potter has been matched with important work as both teacher and archivist. He was Professor of Ceramics at the University of the West of England (1996–2002) and was co-founder and Associate Director of the National and Electronic Video Archive of the Crafts (NEVAC) at the same university. He has also lectured on and demonstrated his craft at museums and festivals all over the world. Keeler first came to prominence with his experimental use of the salt-glaze process – an example of which is owned by The Fitzwilliam Museum (C.38 & A-1985), purchased from Henry Rothschild in 1985. In the 1990s, following his research at the University of the West of England and a study of eighteenth-century lead-glazed North Staffordshire wares made by Thomas Whieldon (1719–95), Keeler began his own experiments with layers of colour applied to earthenware bodies. The thorn-like extrusions on the handle of the present teapot were prompted by spurs on a fragment of clay pipe found on one of his many mudlarking expeditions along the Thames. Walter Keeler: ‘The pottery tradition is at the heart of all my work … I discovered pottery as a boy, becoming intimate with fragments of ancient pots picked up on the beaches of the Thames in London … I hope my pottery brings with its seriousness some humour and sensual pleasure.’ A life history interview with Walter Keeler is available at

Walter Keeler's pots decorated with coloured glazes are flamboyant interpretations of mid-18th century North Staffordshire wares made by Thomas Whieldon and other potters

School or Style

Studio Ceramics

Components of the work

Glaze composed of oxides
Base Diameter 13.5 cm
Handle-spout Width 22.6 cm

Materials used in production

cream Earthenware
green and yellow Glaze

Techniques used in production

Glazing (coating)

References and bibliographic entries

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.10 & A-2003
Primary reference Number: 95739
Entry form: 191
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Tuesday 8 December 2020 Last processed: Thursday 1 April 2021

Associated departments & institutions

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

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2023) "Teapot with Thorns" Web page available at: Accessed: 2023-03-22 12:14:09

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