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The silver teakettle first appeared at the end of the seventeenth Century and was used to replenish empty teapots, which were very small. As additional water was poured into the teapot, the tealeaves were recycled and, since some time would have elapsed, it was essential to keep the water hot. Teakettles became a focal point of the tea table, and resembled the teapot. Kettles were used to keep the water hot and were placed on stands near the tea table. Given the substantial weight of a full teakettle, kettle stands were designed to be sturdy, with their tripod feet frequently being wider than the top. The tops of kettle stands were usually circular and with an edge; and the height enabled the hostess to lift the kettle comfortably. Kettle stands are illustrated in early Georgian portrait groups, such as ‘An English Family at Tea’ by Joseph Van Aken (c.1699–1749), dated c.1720, an oil on canvas housed in the Tate’s collection. This is an informal group portrait of an unidentified family and their servants, which demonstrates the ceremony of tea-drinking in the 1720s. Tea was an expensive commodity, as were all the items related to its consumption: the tea table; the silverware; and the porcelain. The kettle lamp sits to one side of the central tea table, placed on a mahogany kettle stand. Such stands were usually kept a safe distance from guests. The tea box is shown in the foreground and its contents were normally kept locked. One of the sitters measures the valuable tealeaves from the tea canister. The drinking of tea demonstrated wealth, domesticity and genteel informality, epitomising civilised behaviour in the eighteenth Century.
‘Tea Urns, Kettles, & Stands’ in Tania M. Buckrell Pos, ‘Tea & Taste: The Visual Language of Tea’ (Schiffer Publishing, 2004), pp.110-114.
|Height||71.00 cm||(27.95 inches)|
|Width||48.25 cm||(19.00 inches)|
|Depth||43.00 cm||(16.93 inches)|
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