Price & Kensington Teapots
A teapot is the vessel used to infuse tea leaves in hot water and consists of a pouring spout (which can have a built-in strainer), a handle, a lid sometimes with a small hole to alleviate pressure when pouring, and the main vessel, usually globular in shape. They can be made of glass (enabling you to see flowering teas blossom and regular tea brewing) , ceramic, metal or silver.
It is believed that the teapot originally derived its shape from the wine ewers and ceramic kettles that came from China when tea was originally shipped to Europe in the 17th century. An alternative theory is that the original shape may have come from Islamic coffee pots.
The world owes tea to the Chinese, but the design of the teapot to the Europeans. The first ceramic teapots were heavy with short straight replaceable spouts. These teapots broke easily, so at the beginning of the 18th century the East India Company (the main tea importers) commissioned Chinese artists to create teapots to the company's design. China's porcelain was more durable and, as porcelain can withstand sea water damage, the East India Company placed the pots in the cargo areas of the their ships with the tea being stored on top in the dry. This arrangement also gave the ships better ballast in the cargo areas making them more stable during their voyage.
Around the mid-1800's, William Cookworthy discovered a way to produce porcelain similar to the Chinese and founded a works in the town of Plymouth, UK. At first, of course, the designs of the European pots were influenced by the Chinese designs.