2025

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Superb Three-Piece Indian Silver Tea Set

Kutch or Karachi, India
circa 1900

height of teapot: 16.3cm, width of teapot: 22cm, weight of teapot: 684g, combined weight: 1,613g

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Provenance

UK art market

This elegant colonial Indian tea set is fashioned from high-grade, solid silver. Each piece has been finely chased with typically Kutch scrolling flowers and foliage against a finely tooled background and within ribbed borders.

The foot of each piece is wide and flared and similarly chased.

Teapot has a domed, hinged lid topped with a cast leafy finial. The sugar bowl has a similarly decorated lid.

The handle of both the teapot and creamer have ivory insulators. It is unusual for the creamer or milk jug to have such insulators, but would have more easily permitted the serving of heated milk.

The sugar bowl is large relative to the rest of the set – the set obviously was intended for someone with a sweet tooth!

The set is typically Kutch in motifs other than the fact that the scrolling leaf and flowerwork is contained within panels. This extra detail suggests a Karachi provenance. Wilkinson (1999) observes that as a result of the 1899 famine in Kutch many silversmiths left Kutch and settled in Karachi where they re-established their workshops. They soon developed a style that is distinctive from, although similar to, the work that continued to be done in Kutch. The decoration often is divided into panels, as with this set, the relief is slightly higher, and flower motifs are employed, again as with this set. The work often is of a very high standard and the compositions carefully presented.

References

Dehejia, V., Delight in Design: Indian Silver for the Raj, Mapin, 2008.

Wilkinson, W.R.T., Indian Silver 1858-1947, 1999.

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