ARTIST / MAKER: Hendrik Jan Spanjer (maker)
DATE: 1722-1723 (made)
PLACE: Netherlands (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Silver with wooden handle

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, who typically drank green tea infused with saffron and other herbs. This pear-shape teapot typifies the early European silver examples which were inspired by Chinese ceramics vessels. Dutch silver teapots like this example often display scultural elements of the earlier Baroque style, and much more elaborate ornament than their British counterparts.

This teapot was made in the Dutch city of Groningen in the first half of the 18th century, by which time tea drinking was fashionable and widespread among the elite. The part-fluted body is decorated with rich repoussé ornament of shells and foliate scrolls on a stippled ground. The raised, scalloped foot on which this teapot rests would have been intended both as an element of decorative interest but also to prevent the hot content from damaging table surfaces.