And just when you thought you'd seen everything.....along comes an antique French sterling silver lidded sugar bowl decorated in Chinoiserie style. Most evident of course in the finial of the lid, where sits a chinese flutist, who looks like he just finished his meditation and now concludes with a musical expression of satori. The unusual ovoid shape of the bowl with fluted sides, curved panels engraved with flowing blossoms and foliage similar to that found on wall panels, silk brocades, hand painted papier mache trays, tea caddies, furniture ......but not so much in silver. Just looking at the variety and elegance of thispiece has me designing my next room! (Ilove tocreateliving spacesthat are complete realizations of a different time or a place; the Santorini room, the French formal room (certainment!)) Chinoiserie became popular in Europe in the 1700 and 1800's, as travel to the orient in search of tea, silk, porcelain and, dare I say, opium, excited the imagination of artists and pleased royalty. Actually, it is somewhat surprising that teapots did not develop more chinoiserie expression in design given the connection between tea and the orient. Well, here we have one, thanks to Parisian mastersmith Martial Fray, 1849. The only one I've ever seen. The teapot is in perfect condition. It bears a coat of arms, two rampart lions, a knight's helmet and a heart pierced with an arrow.
Marks: The Minerve 1st titre: .950 sterling guarantee and the maker's punch for Martial Fray, Paris 1849.
Dimensions: Lid is 4.25" long, 3.25" wide, 3" high and weighs 121 grams. The pot is 8" long, 5" wide, 4" high and weighs 470 grams. Total weight is 591 grams [bj95]