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 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. As tea became cheaper, teapots and kettles became larger, making it more difficult to lift a heavy, full kettle. In making this example Storr adopted a new tilting design, allowing the kettle to remain on the stand when water was poured into the teapot. It is decorated with chased blossoms, pronounced curves and asymmetrical motifs that are typical of the Rococo revival style, which became fashionable throughout Europe during the 19th century. It is also fitted with an unusual leather handle rather than the more common wood or wicker. The arms on this kettle, which are engraved on the back opposite the spout, are those of Pearse impaling Williams, for Brice Pearse (d.1852) of Monkham House, Essex and his wife Harriet Georgiana (1800-1880), eldest child of Sir Robert Williams 9th Bt. (1764-1830) of Penrhyn, whom he married in 1826.