Object Description

A rare early English silver teapot of simple plain form. Britannia standard silver* Pear shaped with domed hinged cover and original wooden handle. Hand engraved to the front is a five lion armorial within an incised shield. Early teapots were of small capacity because of the rarity of tea. Contains 570 ml. Weight 425 grams, 13.6 troy ounces. Height 14 cm. Spread 19 cm. London 1719. Maker Richard Bayley.

Biography – Richard Bayley was apprenticed to Charles Overing in 1699 and turned over to John Gibbons in 1704. Free 1706. First mark entered in 1708 at Foster Lane, London, 2nd mark 1720, third mark 1732. Warden of the Goldsmiths Company 1746-8. Prime warden 1751*. He was known for his good plain hollow-ware such as tankards, jugs, tea and coffee pots.

His son, Richard, was apprenticed to Samuel Spindler in 1713.

Object Literature

*Britannia Standard. In 1696, so extensive had become the melting and clipping of coinage that the silversmiths were forbidden to use the sterling standard for their wares, but had to use a new higher standard, 95.8 per cent. New hallmarks were ordered, “the figure of a woman commonly called Britannia” and the lion’s head erased (torn off at the neck) replacing the lion passant and the leopard’s head crowned. This continued until the old standard of 92.5 per cent was restored in 1720. Britannia standard silver still continues to be produced even today.

Early teapots were of small capacity because of the rarity of tea. Although there are a few 17th century teapots in existence, there is little likelihood of finding one dating before 1710. The earlier the teapot the smaller they tend to be as tea was a very expensive commodity until the middle of the reign of George I.

Object Condition

This rare little silver teapot is in very good condition with no damage or restoration. Stamped underneath with a full and clear set of English silver hallmarks, the lid has the Britannia mark. This pot has been water tested and doesn’t leak. It pours beautifully.
Please note that this item is not new and will show moderate signs of wear commensurate with age. Reflections in the photograph may detract from the true representation of this item.

Object Classification

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