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Wedgwood Black Basalt Basket Tea Pot. Circa 1780 .Photo MS Rau Antiques

7" wide x 4 1/8" high. Stamped "WEDGWOOD" over impressed ', and I marks. Price: $2,450

This excellent antique Wedgwood teapot is crafted of black basalt, long recognized as one of the firm's finest creations. Crafted in the popular round form with a parapet lip and an articulated sibyl finial, this exceptional pot displays a rare, engine-turned basket weave design on the body, spout and handle. This teapot is a study in timeless design and exhibits Wedgwood's remarkable genius for innovation.

Josiah Wedgwood began production of black basalt in 1768, and it soon became one of the company's most popular wares. His invention was a marked improvement on the stained earthenware known as "Egyptian black" made by other Staffordshire potters. Wedgwood also outdistanced his competitors by creating black basalt versions of antique vases using the ancient vases themselves as his models. Today, the wares crafted of this beautiful pottery are highly desirable and sought by collectors.

MS Rau Antiques. www.rauantiques.com