The Brown Betty Teapot: re-imagined for the 21st century

The Brown Betty teapot was once in its produced in its millions but in recent decades has been overlooked. The ceramic artist Ian McIntyre is hoping to change this by re-imagining the design of the teapot for the 21st century. McIntyre, who studied 3D Design at Manchester School of Art, is currently undertaking a Collaborative Doctoral Award with the School of Art, York Art Gallery and the British Ceramics Biennial.

His research focuses on how to refine the design of the Brown Betty teapot and create a new version that reinstates the best elements of the original design.  He is also researching the history of red earthenware production in Stoke-on-Trent and is working with Cauldron Ceramics, producers of the Brown Betty.

McIntyre has made use of the Trade Catalogue Collection, held at All Saints Library, to source original images of the Brown Betty for his research. A selection of Trade Catalogues is on display in our Spotlight Gallery on the ground floor of All Saints Library until 20 October 2017. Read more about the collection here.

The teapot will be launched at the British Ceramics Biennial in Stoke-on-Trent, which runs from 23 September – 5 November 2017,  and currently graces the cover of the latest edition of the Crafts Council’s Crafts magazine.

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Kotha and Kantha

Currently on display in our ground floor Spotlight Gallery is a small exhibition of traditional Bangladeshi embroidery. It was produced last year by a group of ten women who participated in the project Kotha & Kantha: Bangladeshi Women’s Memoir held at Manchester Central Library and run by the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Education Trust and Centre (AIUC). Project Administrator Jo Manby explains more about the project and what it set out to achieve.
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FEAST – Setting the Table

Last year we were delighted to work with Laura Mansfield and Elisa Oliver from the Manchester School of Art on a project inspired by our Home Studies Collection. Laura and Elisa secured funding from the Arts Council to invite a group of academics, artists and writers to undertake a period of research into the Home Studies Collection in order to develop a series of contemporary responses to the historical material.

The group consisted of Catherine Bertola, Augusto Correiri, Bryce Evans, Beryl Pattern, Rachel Rich  and Susanna Worth. Their research was presented in a series of public discussions held here at Special Collections between April-July last year and is now available in a newly published book of essays. You can read a hard copy of the beautifully designed book in our Reading Room and it is also available to download here.

Weekly Home Hints

This week’s handy hint should guarantee a good night’s sleep! It’s taken from Home Hints for the Modern Housewife, published in London by Featherstone Press Ltd in the 1940’s.  This book is part of the Home Studies Collection which contains over 700 historical cookery and household management books from the past 300 years.

Will Mellor: Arts and Crafts book artist


Will Mellor (1885-1966) was apprenticed as a bookbinder and studied at the Manchester School of Art between 1903 and 1909. He excelled in book design and illustration, calligraphy and fine bookbinding, winning many School awards, as well as national prizes and free scholarships. His work was noted and illustrated in the leading art and design magazines of the day.

A beautiful exhibition of books by Mellor has opened today in our Spotlight Gallery on the ground floor of All Saints Library. Continue reading