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Teapot

Teapot

  • Place of origin:

    Hamburg (made)

  • Date:

    1928 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Slutzky, Naum, born 21894 - died 1965 (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Chromium plated brass with ebony knop

  • Museum number:

    CIRC.1232-1967

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This teapot was one of the most successful of Slutzky’s designs and is not an unique piece as was originally thought when it was acquired by the V&A from Gesche Ochs in 1967. Two further examples exist in Italian and German collections respectively and it is on record that yet another was initially in the possession of the Hamburg architects, Karl Schneider and Herbert Sprotter .

The first mention of this teapot design is in March 1929 when Slutzky lent an example in electroplated nickel silver to his first exhibition at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg. It was exhibited along side an accompanying coffee pot (also designed in 1928, its present whereabouts is unknown) of tall, cylindrical form with a handle, knop and spout very similar to those of the teapot . These two vessels in turn bear a remarkable similarity to the teapot and coffee jug in a silver tea and coffee service, designed and made by Slutzky in either 1927 or 1928 and published in the magazine, Die Baugilde in the issue of April 10, 1928 . The only significant difference between the silver vessels and the later versions in nickel silver is in the design of the handles. The earlier, silver vessels have a handle composed of a straight ebony rod, set at an angle to the perpendicular and attached to the main body by horizontal flat strips whereas the later nickel silver designs have handles which are reminiscent of the more conventional “C” shaped handle and are attached to the body by short sections of hollow tube. It is now established beyond reasonable doubt that this group of vessels including the V&A teapot date from the late 1920s during Slutzky’s period in Hamburg.

Physical description

Teapot, brass with a matt chromium finish and an ebony knop. The pot has a circular body standing on a round rim, with a semi-circular handle and a small diagonal spout which narrows towards its tip. The knop has a round, flat ebony top; the handle has two ebony inserts for insulation and a small, metal ball near the top for a thumb rest.

Place of Origin

Hamburg (made)

Date

1928 (made)

Artist/maker

Slutzky, Naum, born 21894 - died 1965 (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Chromium plated brass with ebony knop

Marks and inscriptions

No marks

Dimensions

Height: 17 cm, Width: 24.5 cm maximum, Depth: 15 cm

Object history note

Modernism Exhibition RF.2005/362

Historical context note

Naum Slutzky had a distinguished career as an inspirational teacher, both in Germany and in England as well as the distinction of being one of the most original jewellers to be associated with the Bauhaus. His jewellery designs are characterised by a simple, elemental elegance where the geometric construction is pared down to the irreducible minimum. Even such features as the clasp on a bracelet have an engineered simplicity which was typical of Slutzky’s approach to his metalwork designs.

Naum Slutzky, born in Kiev in 1894, the son of the goldsmith Gilel Slutzky, emigrated to Vienna in 1905 where he first trained as a jeweller under Anton Diamant. From 1908 to 1912, he was a student of goldsmithing under Cheine Litweie. He briefly worked for the Wiener Werkstätte between 1912-13 before undertaking engineering studies (1914-19) at the Technical High School along with formal artistic training at the Viennese Art School. In December 1919, Slutzky was invited by Walter Gropius to be an assistant in the metal and goldsmithing workshops of the Weimar Bauhaus, working with Christian Dell and Laslo Moholy-Nagy. By 1922, he had risen to be a master goldsmith but by 1924, he had left and for the next three years, split his time evenly between Vienna and Berlin. Between 1927 and 1933, he practised as an interior designer, lighting consultant and goldsmith for the retailer, Kaufmann of Hamburg.

It was during this period in Hamburg that Slutzky began to be included in a number of important exhibitions. In March, 1928, he contributed a number of drawings and lighting designs to the Hamburg Secession exhibition; in the Hamburg Neue Secession exhibition of April, 1930, held in the Hamburg Kunsthalle, Slutzky contributed lamps and jewellery. He is also recorded as a exhibitor in the Deutsche Werkbund exhibition, held at the Societé des Artistes Décorateurs in Paris that same year and at the Hamburg Secession exhibition, held at the Kunstverein (March – April, 1931) his work was represented by a series of watercolours, drawings, metalwork and jewellery. In was during this period in the late 1920s that he met and became friendly with Gesche Ochs who was to become an important patron. Some examples of Slutzky jewellery and this teapot were acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum from Gesche Ochs in 1967.

Forced to flee to Britain from Germany in 1933, he first started working as a designer for the well established Birmingham lighting firm, Best and Lloyd but by the following year, he was a employed as an art teacher at the progressive school, Dartington Hall, in Totnes, Devon where he remained until 1940. After the war, from 1946-50, he was a tutor in jewellery design at the London, Central School of Arts and Crafts and from 1950-57, he was a lecturer in Product Design in the Department of Industrial Design at the Royal College of Art. He spent the final years of his career as Senior Lecturer in Product Design at the Birmingham School of Arts and Crafts (1957-64) and Professor of Industrial Design at Ravensbourne College of Art, Bromley (1965). He died on the 4th of November, 1965.

Descriptive line

Chromium plated brass, ebony knop, Germany, Hamburg, 1928, designed and made by Naum Slutzky.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Rudolf, Monika. Naum Slutzky, Meister am Bauhaus Goldschmied und Designer [Naum Slutzky, Bauhaus Master, Goldsmith and Designer] Stuttgart, Arnoldsche, 1990 p.169 ill. ISBN 3-925369-06-6
Wilk, Christopher (ed.) Modernism : designing a new world 1914-1939. London: V&A Publications, 2006 Number: 1851774777 (pbk.)
Weber, Klaus, Die Metallwerkstatt am Bauhaus, Berlin: Bauhaus-Archiv - Museum für Gestaltung, 1998.

Labels and date

Teapot
1928
Naum Slutzky (1898-1965)
Brass with a matt chromium surface and an ebony knop.
17.5 x 24.5 x 15 cm
V&A Circ. 1232-1967

This teapot was one of the most successful of Slutzky’s designs and is not an unique piece as was originally thought when it was acquired by the V&A from Gesche Ochs in 1967. Two further examples exist in Italian and German collections respectively and it is on record that yet another was initially in the possession of the Hamburg architects, Karl Schneider and Herbert Sprotter .

The first mention of this teapot design is in March 1929 when Slutzky lent an example in electroplated nickel silver to his first exhibition at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg. It was exhibited along side an accompanying coffee pot (also designed in 1928, its present whereabouts is unknown) of tall, cylindrical form with a handle, knop and spout very similar to those of the teapot . These two vessels in turn bear a remarkable similarity to the teapot and coffee jug in a silver tea and coffee service, designed and made by Slutzky in either 1927 or 1928 and published in the magazine, Die Baugilde in the issue of April 10, 1928. The only significant difference between the silver vessels and the later versions in nickel silver is in the design of the handles. The earlier, silver vessels have a handle composed of a straight ebony rod, set at an angle to the perpendicular and attached to the main body by horizontal flat strips whereas the later nickel silver designs have handles which are reminiscent of the more conventional “C” shaped handle and are attached to the body by short sections of hollow tube. It is now established beyond reasonable doubt that this group of vessels including the V&A teapot date from the late 1920s during Slutzky’s period in Hamburg. [2006]

Production Note

Reason For Production: Private

Materials

Brass; Chromium; Ebony; Ebony

Techniques

Electroplating

Categories

Containers; Metalwork; Tea, Coffee & Chocolate wares

Production Type

Limited edition

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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