Tea set

ARTIST / MAKER: Dass & Dutt (manufacturer)
DATE: ca.1890 (made)
PLACE: Kolkata (made)

The teapot in this silver tea set is stamped on the base with the inscription ‘Dass & Dutt / Bhowanipore / Calcutta’. Along with the cities of Cuttack, Dacca and Monghyr, Calcutta was considered to be a centre for the production of Indian colonial silverwares which, from the second half of the 19th to the first half of the 20th century, primarily catered to a British clientele. This was a lucrative period for local and British silversmiths, who set up prolific workshops in the district of Bhowanipore and specialised in repoussé silver, a technique in which the reverse of the silver vessel is chased to create surface decoration in high relief. This tea set is richly decorated with scenes of rural life in India, showing Bengali villages with children playing among trees and foliage. As opposed to hunting and battle scenes which were fashionable in some Indian regions, village scenes were typical of Calcutta silver and of Dass & Dutt’s output.