Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Wesley Teapot

I've been meaning to post an article about one of my recent acquisitions, about which I have been quite excited.  Time, however, has gotten away from me . . . until now.  (At least I'm taking a couple of moments to get this up!)

Recently I found on an ebay auction one of the Wesley teapots.  As a big Wesley fan and a drinker of tea, it seemed like a perfect fit for me!

The original was a gallon-sized teapot used by the Rev'd. Mr. John Wesley for thirty years.  It is displayed in the Museum of Methodism at City Road Chapel (i.e., Wesley's Chapel) in London.  Josiah Wedgwood, the famous potter to the Queen, presented Wesley with the teapot in 1761.

The one that I purchased is an exact replica in quart size.  It was reproduced by Wedgwood in 1908.  The floral pattern, known as "Wesley Blue Calico," is still used by Wedgwood on various items.  Josiah Wedgwood described the origin of the "Wesley Blue Calico" as follows:

"The wreath around the blessing is suggestive of Mr. Wedgwood's flower garden where he and Mr. Wesley first met, and where their lifelong friendship began; The single flowers above the spout are England's national flowers - the rose for England, thistle for Scotland, the shamrock for Ireland; The design in band around the bowl and on the lid of the teapot was taken from a dress belonging to the young woman who later became Mrs. Wedgwood and the grandmother of Charles Darwin."

On one side of the teapot there is a prayer that says:

We thank thee Lord for this our food
But more because of Jesus's blood
Let manna to our Souls be given
The bread of Life sent down from Heaven
On the other side (as shown in the picture) one finds the "Wesley Grace," which was written by John Cennick, the first Methodist lay preacher.  It reads, as follows:
Be present at our Table Lord
Be here and everywhere ador'd
These creatures bless & grant that we
May feast in Paradice with thee.

(And, yes, the above reflects the actual spelling!)  -  The Wesley Grace is still sung by Methodists of various stripes to the tune of Old 100th ("Doxology").  It is sometimes sung prior to coming to the Lord's Table for the sacrament.  At other times it is sung prior to a church dinner.  -  It appears in The United Methodist Hymn, though strangely (and wrongly), "These creatures . . ." is changed to "Thy creatures . . ."

Much of the above information came from Treasures of the World Methodist Museum located at Lake Junaluska, NC, and printed by Biltmore Press, Asheville, NC.

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