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.
The globular hot water kettle was a standard form in England in the 1720s, when this example was made. Typically, they feature U-shaped swing handles wrapped in wicker, work usually undertaken by specialist basketmakers such as William Scott. His surviving ledgers document the wrapping of six silver kettle handles for Paul de Lamerie in 1727 (Banister, 1967). By the 1730s, globular kettles were being chased with flamboyant rococo decoration which is typical of much of de Lamerie’s later output. A talented craftsman and an exceptional businessman, de Lamerie was one of the greatest Huguenot silversmiths working in Britain during the 18th century. The son of French Protestants who fled from France following the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, he was brought to London when his parents decided to settle in England in around 1691.
The arms on this kettle are those of Putland of Bray Head, Co. Wicklow, and Sarsfield Court, Co. Cork, probably for John Putland of Dublin (1709- 1773). John Putland married Catherine, daughter and eventual co-heir of Sir Emanuel Moore, 3rd baronet, of Ross Carberry, Co. Cork, M.P.