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The most rare and valuable teapots are found in the historical collections of decorative art and design. Large holdings in silver, porcelain and pottery represent worldwide cultures from the early 18th to mid 20th centuries. The silver teapots and tea sets represent the Colonial to Modern periods from makers such as Paul Revere, Christopher Dresser, Joseph Hoffman, the Bauhaus and Georg Jensen. The pottery and porcelain form an encyclopedic array of factory production across England, Europe, Asia and the United States that includes Staffordshire, Wedgwood, Meissen and Sevrès.

Other categories expand on notions of teapot form and function. There are teapot-shaped baskets and mineral carvings. There are brewing machines, commercial tea dispensers and brass samovars. There are oversized teapots that advertise and commemorate.

Tableware is a readily accessible component of the historical collection that highlights styles of the 1930s, ’40s, ’50s and ’60s in particular. These teapots in ceramic, glass and metal illustrate the rise of industrial design and consumer culture.