Published 3rd January 2013
Possibly the two most impressive lots due to be auctioned in the Silver section of our three day fine art auction are not the oldest. They both relate to that great British obsession of tea drinking and all the paraphernalia that goes into making a good cup of tea.
The first is a large Edward VII rectangular tea or serving tray, decorated with scrolls and foliage, with a gadrooned border. The tray measures 81cm wide and weighs 166.10 troy ozs. It was made by the renowned Goldsmiths and Silversmiths Co and assayed in London in 1904, the estimate is £2,800-£3,200.
The second lot is more modern than the first, but this wonderful Elizabeth II five-piece tea and coffee service would sit well on the tray. The service made by another top company, that of Garrard & Co and was assayed in Birmingham in 1956. The service is of lobed form with scroll and acanthus leaf decoration, it weighs a total of 97.23 troy ozs and is estimated at £1,500-£1,800.
Not directly related to tea but could make a useful tea caddy is an Edward VII Arts and Craft influence casket with strapwork hinges and beaten panelled sides on swept feet. The makers were John Thomas Heath and John Hartshorne Middleton and it was assayed in London in 1901. It weighs 18.62 troy ozs and is estimated at £200-£300.
This brings us back to tea and not only one of the greatest exporters, but the most influential current collectors market is China. Lot 211 is a Chinese silver tea kettle stand and burner. Decorated with traditional designs of dragons, birds and flowers, the frame is designed to look like bamboo shoots. It was produced by Hung Chong who worked both in Shanghai and Canton in the late 19th / early 20th century. It weighs 42.37 troy ozs and carries an estimate of £1,000-£1,500.