Tea set

ARTIST / MAKER: Marius Hammer (maker)
DATE: 1910-1920 (made)
PLACE: Norway (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Silver, cloisonné enamel

Marius Hammer, who founded his workshop in Bjørgvin (West Norway) in 1871, was one of the most prolific silversmiths of the 19th and early 20th centuries, producing a wide range of tableware, cutlery and jewellery. In around 1880, he began to specialise in the production of opaque or translucent enamelled metalworks, the fashion for which was flourishing in Norway’s tourist market. This tea set is decorated in a style reminiscent of Old Russian ornament, which looked to historic Russian styles and which was revived in the mid-19th century. This style was considered particularly tasteful for teawares.
This tea set is decorated with cloisonné (translating to ‘partitioned’) enamels, an enamelling technique used to create coloured ornament onto metal objects. Glass paste coloured with iron oxides is applied into the empty spaces of a wire framework, bent or hammered into a desired pattern and placed on the metal surface. The vessel is heated at a 800°C to fuse the glass paste to the metal and transform it into vitreous enamels. As enamels tend to shrink when cooling, these processes are repeated several times before the whole surface is polished to a high sheen.