Teapot and leather case

ARTIST / MAKER: Nicolas Berleur (maker)
DATE: 1792 (made)
PLACE: Liege (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Silver and silver-gilt with carved and ebonised wood handle and finial, leather case with velvet lining

This gold and silver teapot was made by the Belgian silversmith Nicolas Berleur and is accompanied by an unusual leather case. Leather and wood cases such as this were made to protect valuable objects from damage. Large sets within a fitted box, known as nécessaires (travelling services), were designed to accompany European aristocracy on their travels. Nécessaires not only featured fitted compartments for each object, but often had pockets for stationery and money. Unlike in the Netherlands, neighbouring regions such as Belgium were not prominent tea-drinkers and it is likely that this teapot and its case was an unusual commission.