This teapot is decorated using the technique of cloisonné enamelling, whereby thin metal wires were soldered onto the surface to form cloisons (‘cells’). These cells were then filled with brightly coloured glass powder and fused to the metal under intense heat to produce a smooth finish. Many Russian silversmiths reintroduced this technique in their work from the 1870s, but cloisonné is known to have been employed in the Kievan Rus (now Belarus, Russia and Ukraine) from the 11th century, when it was referred to as finift or ‘shining stone’.
This teapot was made by Ivan Saltykov and although white beadwork and blue enamel ground is often found on his work, rarely did he use this combination as an all-over motif. Saltykov was an enameller and silversmith active in Moscow between 1882 and 1908. His workshop produced decorative objects and tablewares, using vibrant enamels characteristic of Russian silver produced in the second half of the 19th century.