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Tea drinking had evolved by the 18th century into an elaborate ritual that exhibited the social sophistication of its users. This mass-produced teapot allowed the less-wealthy to participate in an activity that had originally been confined to the leisured rich. This lustre-ware teapot was intended to look like the more expensive sterling silver, but the difference in cost between the two was considerable, making it available to more people. Its silver appearance is owed to a finish of platinum salts over a clay body. The pot is shaped like other tea vessels, both metal and ceramic, that were in fashion in the 19th century, complete with bands of gadrooning, a compact but generous body, and an ear-shaped handle.
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