ARTIST / MAKER: Lucas van Giffen I (maker)
DATE: 1743-1744 (made)
PLACE: Netherlands (made)

Although tea was initially regarded by the Dutch as a medicinal beverage with little connection to respectability, by the early 18th century the habit was an exotic novelty amongst the Dutch upper-class. This pear-shape teapot typifies the early European silver examples which were inspired by Chinese ceramics vessels.

The maker of this teapot, Lucas van Giffen II (1751-1791), came from a family of silversmiths becoming a master of the craft in 1722. During his career he was a highly regarded craftsman and in 1782 was commissioned by the city of Groningen to manufacture a silver box with the city coat of arms engraved on it. Dutch silver teapots like this example often display sculptural elements of the earlier Baroque style, and much more elaborate ornament than their British counterparts. The bands of fluting were a decorative motif popular in the Netherlands in the early 18th century with decoration influenced by the ‘floris’ style, a blend of French and Italian elements.