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posted: 10/5/2013 5:51 AM

Poring over the details of a lovely English teapot

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  • Pretty red roses and a crackle celadon-green glaze make this Royal Winton teapot a charmer.

    Pretty red roses and a crackle celadon-green glaze make this Royal Winton teapot a charmer.
    SHNS photo courtesy Joe Rosson and Helaine Fendelm

By Helaine Fendelman and Joe Rosson

Q. I have this teapot and am curious to know if it has any monetary value. It is marked "Royal Winton, Grimwades, Made in England 5489." What can you tell me?

A. This teapot is very pretty with its single red rose and leaves on the lid, and another rose with its leaves forming the handle. It is very English, very romantic and the sort of equipment that might get a lot of use in an English -- or Canadian -- household.

The story of this teapot begins with Leonard Lumsden Grimwade (sounds like a "Harry Potter" character), who was born in Ipswich, England, in 1864. At 16, he left home and moved to Hanley in Staffordshire, the heart of the English ceramics industry.

There he became a modeler (someone who assembles ceramic figures) and a decorator in one of the potteries. By the time he was 20, he wanted more. Leonard opened his own factory in Stoke-On-Trent, Staffordshire, and a year later was joined by his older brother, Sydney (or Sidney) Richard Grimwade.

At some point, third brother Edward joined his siblings and Grimwade Brothers was founded in 1885 (one authoritative source says 1886), and in 1892 they built Winton Potteries to make earthenwares, majolica and china. The Grimwade brothers were successful and began acquiring other potteries, including Stoke Pottery, the Atlas China Company and Heron Cross Pottery.

Eventually, the company employed more than 1,500 workers, making it one of the largest potteries in Staffordshire. One reference says that, in 1913, King George V and his wife, Queen Mary, visited a variety of ceramics facilities in Staffordshire and the queen purchased a tea set from the Grimwade enterprise in the "Queen Mary" chintz pattern.

This may have helped the company when it started using the trade name "Royal Winton" in 1930. Usually such a company's utilization of the word "Royal" required that the company supply goods to the royal family and apply for the right to employ the word "Royal" in a mark or logos. There is no record of this formal process having happened.

The mark found on this eapot was first used in 1934 and continued to be found on Grimwades "Royal Winton" wares until 1950, when a fancy script "Royal Winton" replaced this backstamp. Therefore, the teapot in today's question was made between 1934 and 1950, which means that it is certainly "vintage," but not antique.

We mentioned the "Queen Mary" chintz pattern, but this was only one of the many chintz patterns (i.e., floral patterns reminiscent of English chintz fabric) made by this highly regarded company. There was "Summertime," "Balmoral," "Anemone," "Crocus," "Cotswold," "Delphinium," "English Rose," "June Festival," "Mayfair" and "Rose Du Barry," to name just a few.

Grimwades "Royal Winton" became known as the "Rolls-Royce" of chintz, but, unfortunately, this teapot is not part of that series. Still, it is a very attractive piece and the raised roses make it attractive to collectors of teapots and 20th-century English ceramics.

At the moment, prices for English ceramics tend to be down, and this lovely teapot with its crackled celedon-green glaze should be valued for insurance purposes in the $75-$100 range -- if it is in perfect condition.

• Contact Helaine Fendelman and Joe Rosson at Treasures in Your Attic, P.O. Box 18350, Knoxville, TN 37928.

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