|Bohea Tea Cannister|
The Victoria & Albert Museum
A fitting container for valuable tea, this tea canister and cover are made of salt-glazed stoneware. Rectangular, with a flat top and wooden cover, it is painted in strong colors with small figures in landscapes and, on the front, in a panel surmounted by a mask and flanked by flowers, urns and scrollwork, reads the inscription, "FINE BOHEA TEA."
This sort of domestic, ceramic tea canister tended to resemble miniature versions of the dramatic japanned metal vessels from which loose tea was dispensed in shops. This particular example was most likely made at one of the Yorkshire pottery concerns rather than in Staffordshire.
The fine quality and condition of this piece suggests that it was infrequently, if ever, used and may, in fact, have been employed as part of a shop window display.