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tlineopen  American Silver before sterling
tline3open  Unmarked teapot

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Author Topic:   Unmarked teapot
ahwt

Posts: 2173
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 04-03-2007 11:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Shown below are the bandings that are used on the top rim overhang, the middle overhang as well as the base of a teapot. The middle band extends outwardly from the height of the tea pot and has four leaf and flower designs equally spaced around its circumstance. The upper band also extends outwardly to form an overhang, but does not have the leaf and flower designs. The bottom band is identical to the upper band, but extends downwardly and completes the pedestal to the ball feet. These same design elements are repeated for the creamer and sugar. The handle of the teapot has a leaf design band that is overlaid on the top and is bent over to conform to the undermost sides of the handle. The leaf design stops at one end with what appears to represent the end of a leaf while the opposite end has the appearance of being cut from a plant.
The sugar bowl uses the same banding as the tea pot while the creamer uses the same around the base, but has a smaller version of the banding around the top rim and middle overhang. Also a smaller version of the leaf and flower design is used on the middle overhang of the creamer. A silver design is applied to the top of the handles of the creamer and sugar bowl that represents a leaf cut at one end and overlaid on the top and uppermost sides of the handles. I think that the attachment of the leaf to the handle of the sugar bowl and creamer flows better that that on the tea pot. If the tea pot handle had the cut end of the leaf starting at the ebony spacer rather than spaced from the spacer a better transition would have been made. Nevertheless I love this form for a tea pot.

No maker's mark is on this set. I believe that it is American from about 1810, perhaps from Philadelphia. The latter is of course pure speculation and is simply based on my feeling that the best American silver was make in Philadelphia during this time period and I love this design. The bottom of the tea pot is marked with 27 oz and has radiating lines lightly cut from a center punch mark. Nothing is marked on the bottom of the creamer or sugar bowl.

I am not sure if any of the banding shown here should be included in the glossary of American silver milled banding as it is not marked as to maker and the banding itself is fairly simple. I have seen English tea pots, from this time period that used milled banding in an overhang manner as in this tea pot. These tea pots were all properly marked with the English hallmarks.

I am curious as to the difficultly in attaching the banding as an overhang in this manner. The banding would seem to be easier to solder to a surrounding piece if it could be curved on along its length rather along its width. Maybe on of our silversmiths could answer this question of how flexible a milled band is along is side as opposed to its length and how many individual pieces where made to form the final pot. I think that the lid, the pot between the upper and middle band, the part between the middle band and the top of pedestal, and the part between the top of the pedestal and the bottom band would have all been separately made and the assembled together. Then the finial, handle, spout and feet would also have to be made and assembled to the body. All in all this form was a very complicated one to make, but I am glad that some unnamed silversmith did make it.

Below is the handle of the teapot.

The handles for the creamer and sugar are identical and below are pictures of the creamer handle.

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swarter
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Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 04-04-2007 02:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Although I agree that the date of this set could be as early 1810 (the use of ball feet tends to be early in the Century), and that much Philadelphia selver of the period was of of superlative quality, I would not rule out New York, which also produced some fine silver. This pot shares a number of design features or themes, which while not all identical, are shared with a teapot marked by Hugh Wishart -- ball feet, vertical gadrooning (rather than the usual slanted form) on the milled bands, the use of what might be called four floral spandrels interrupting the milled band, and the use of an acanthus leaf on the handle. There is, of course, no substitute for finding an identical examploe with a mark - perhaps one of out viewers knows of one.

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swarter
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Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 05-14-2007 06:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is the Wishart pot mentioned above:

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ahwt

Posts: 2173
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 05-15-2007 10:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Swarter, thanks for showing the Wishart teapot as the type of construction is very similar. I spoke to a silversmith in Atlanta recently and he indicated that the bending of the milled band in this manner would not be difficult.

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Ulysses Dietz
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Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 05-19-2007 03:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
THe lack of any mark suggests that this trio was part of a larger set, for which only one piece, such as a coffeepot or some other form (a tray???) bore the maker's mark. It's a very English looking set, which is no surprise, and stylistically right on the money for what the Brits were making at the same time. The appearance of the silver handle is pretty early (I don't expect silver handles on teapots until the late 1820s...) but the handle shape seems very like Philadelphia sets of that time.

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DB

Posts: 252
Registered: May 2006

iconnumber posted 05-19-2007 10:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
18th century teapots with silver handles do exist, but are almost always Scottish, see this example from my collection, made in Edinburgh 1761, maker: James Oliphant

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ahwt

Posts: 2173
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 05-21-2007 07:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ahwt     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
DB that is very attractive teapot, is the type of the bird recognizable? A close-up picture of the bird would be interesting.

The fact that the Scots were the first to use silver handles is interesting. Early Kings Pattern spoons and forks in the United States had the pattern limited to one side and it is commonly stated that this follows the frugal practice in Scotland. Is there any truth in this statement? Being the first to use silver for the handles does not seem to follow the typecast of being frugal.

In England was there a definite time period when ball feet were in style? Most of the American designs seem to have come directly from England and I thought that ball feet started shortly after 1800 and were out of style by the 1830s. Of course there was a lag time between the latest English styles what was fashionable in the United States and of course there were times when wars tended to decrease our interest in things English.

My tea set does not have a waste bowl and it may be that this was the piece that was marked. Though the years we have brought several waste bowls that were separated from the rest of the set and for some reason all the waste bowls are marked. It seems to be quite common today to sell waste bowls by themselves and I think when family silver is divided the waste bowl is one of the first to be separated from the set.

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DB

Posts: 252
Registered: May 2006

iconnumber posted 05-21-2007 04:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for DB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

Here is a close-up of the bird finial. I am not even attempting to identify this bird, as shown in an earlier contribution about shell-shaped ladles - I am zoologically challenged.

Tea sets with ball feet date to 1800-1820, but timelines are never so strict, as conservative customers might order sets with ball feet still later on.
Scottish as in frugal can also mean quality minded, a silver handle lasts much longer and is more beautiful - just think of all the broken, bleached out wooden handles on old teapots.

And thanks re compliments for the teapot - yes, one of the pieces which makes my heart "beat faster" when I look at it.

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jersey

Posts: 1203
Registered: Feb 2005

iconnumber posted 05-21-2007 08:48 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a guess (shades of Harry Potter), it Reminds me of a Phoenix bird. Love it! It's a beautiful piece enjoy it!
Jersey

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