With teapots making a resurgence in Kiwi kitchens it is hardly surprising that a stunning collection of the vessels is selling fast at Rayner Brothers Gallery in Whanganui.

The exhibition named Shall I be Mother? attracted plenty of buyers when it opened on August 9 and curator Paul Rayner said sales have been steady ever since.

"They are from the estate of one collector whose family wish them to remain anonymous.

"It is such an eclectic collection and I think there is something to appeal to every tea drinker or collector."


Olivia Worrall, who works at the Cuban Belle Cafe next door to the gallery, had popped in for a look at the exhibition several times.

"I'd like to own a really nice teapot and I think I know which one I'd like to buy," she said.

The collector lived in Australia for many years and there are a number of bespoke creations by Australian potters as well as classic models from famous English pottery houses.

A vast array of modern and classic teapots are included in the collection. Photo / Bevan Conley
A vast array of modern and classic teapots are included in the collection. Photo / Bevan Conley

There are examples representing every decade from the past century including an art deco teapot with matching milk jug and sugar bowl designed by celebrated ceramic artist Claris Cliffe.

From tiny, one-cup capacity pots to mega-sized creations, the teapots vary in functionality.

"Some of them are obviously not good pourers," Rayner said.

"Their function is purely decorative."

There are Christmas-themed pots, comic-book heroes, Elvis Presley on a motorcycle, various animals and birds, Toby jugs, a Russian samovar and even an ornate teapot-shaped handbag.


Teapots were invented in China during the Yuan dynasty, founded by Kublai Khan in 1279, and despite the commercial manufacture of teabags since the early 20th century, teapots, whether for their form or function, are still in demand it seems.

Shall I be Mother? is showing at Rayner Brothers Gallery, 85 Glasgow St, until September 7.
Gallery hours are 11am until 3pm Wednesday to Friday and 10am until 3pm on Saturdays.