A teapot stand has both a practical and aesthetic use. It acts as a protector between the hot teapot and the surface that it is placed upon. Additionally, it is one of many ornamental additions to antique tea services. Teapot stands can be crafted in a variety of materials; in addition to impressive antique silver examples, decorative pottery stands are also common.
The teapot stand was an integral part of a tea set in the early 1800s. Rarely would a stand have been crafted separately to a set, as a stand-alone item. However, as many antique sets have been split up over the years, it is now possible to buy antique teapot stands as a single item. During the 1800s, the prominent ritual of tea making had led to the invention of many accessories; trays, tea caddies, tea strainers and sugar bowls to name a few.
In order to maintain a cohesive look to the tea table, teapot stands traditionally matched the teapots that were placed upon them. This meant that the teapot stand would be the correct shape, style and design as the teapot in use. It was not common for teapot stands to be sold or made separately from their corresponding teapots. For example, if there was a certain pattern applied to the circumference of the teapot, a matching pattern would likely be found spanning the surface of the matching stand.
Teapot stands can be found in many designs and styles. Popular shapes throughout history include pear-shaped, bulbous, oval, spherical and bullet-shaped.
A common type of stand is that associated with the spirit kettle. Although not a teapot, spirit kettles are very similar in purpose. Their stands are noteworthy as they feature a candle holder, which is used to keep the water warm.
Another similar design is the tea urn stand. As with spirit kettle stands, tea urn stands often incorporated their own lamp so that the water in the urn remained at a consistently warm temperature.
One further variation on this theme is the teapoy, a design that consists of a tea chest upon a three-legged stand. Despite the fact that this item may not have originally had anything to do with tea (the word "teapoy” is actually of Indian origin), the purpose of the teapoy has changed over the years, potentially due to confusion caused by the word tea being in the name. Now, teapoys are often used in the same way as tea stands – as somewhere to position your teapot or full tea set.
Teapot stands can come in many different shapes and sizes, so if you’re looking for a cohesive collection of teaware, the best option is to buy a complete tea set. View our full range of teaware and tea trays at AC Silver.