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 large and impressive silver items, kettles became a focal point of the tea ceremony and an obvious expression of wealth.
This kettle and its matching stand were made by Paul Crespin (1694-1770), a renowned 18th century goldsmith of Huguenot descent working in England. Following his apprenticeship to Jean Pons in 1713, Crespin entered his first marks between 1720 and 1721 and succeeded in gaining a high reputation for producing silver of exceptional quality. The simple, globular design of this kettle is typical of the type produced at this date and earlier.