Kettle and stand

ARTIST / MAKER: Paul Storr (maker)
Storr & Mortimer (retailer)
DATE: 1838 (made)
PLACE: England (made)

Silver kettles first appeared at the end of the 17th century and served to replenish empty teapots, which were small at this time. To keep the water hot, they were supplied with stands fitted with a spirit burner that warmed the underside of the kettle, allowing the silver to act as a heat conductor. The handles were usually made of wicker or wood, or with ivory disk inserts that provided insulation from the boiling water. Due to the weight of a full kettle, they were often positioned next to the tea table on a stand and used with the assistance of a servant. As such a large and impressive silver item, kettles became a focal point of the tea ceremony and an obvious expression of wealth.

This kettle and stand was made by Paul Storr (1770-1844), one of the most celebrated English silversmiths of the 19th century. Initially, his work was retailed by Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, but Storr went on to form his own partnership from 1823-1838 with John Mortimer, a silver retailer based at 13 New Bond Street. This kettle, retailed by the firm, is modelled in the shape of a melon with a blossom finial, conforming to the fashion for naturalistic forms and shapes. Melon-shaped teawares and mustard pots were inspired by 18th century Dutch silverware and were widely available during the 1830s. Storr produced melon-shaped teawares in many variations. A teapot in the Chitra Collection (CCN 109), made by Storr in the same year, is also modelled in this shape.