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Hot water jug

  • Place of origin:

    Sheffield (made)

  • Date:

    1785-1790 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Sheffield plate (copper plated with silver)

  • Credit Line:

    Wolseley Bequest

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 118; The Wolfson Gallery, case 8

Object Type
Hot-water jugs were an essential feature for the making and serving of tea. Since tea for much of the 18th century was relatively expensive, the hostess refreshed the existing brew with hot water rather than brewing fresh leaves for each pot. It appears that by the latter part of the 18th century, a tea service was frequently purchased piecemeal.

Design & Designing
Faceted vessels, such as this hot-water pot, were popular on account of their classical associations despite the fact that the ridges, of those made in Sheffield plate, were particularly prone to wear, allowing the copper core to become exposed. The popularisation of the Neo-classical style through the proliferation of designs for Sheffield plate led to its steady decline.The limited ability of Sheffield platers to transfer silversmithing techniques such as casting and engraving to Sheffield plate also precipitated change. As engraving directly on to the surface of a plated vessel ran the risk of exposing the underlying copper, chasing and machine stamping became increasingly common.

Materials & Making
Sheffield plate was discovered in about 1742 by Thomas Boulsover (1704-1788), a Sheffield cutler. The introduction of Sheffield plate revolutionised the plating industry, for it offered an effective, relatively cheap, supremely versatile and durable plating technique which could convincingly imitate the surface appearance of solid silver.

Place of Origin

Sheffield (made)


1785-1790 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Sheffield plate (copper plated with silver)


Height: 30.73 cm, Width: 15.75 cm

Object history note

Made in Sheffield

Labels and date

British Galleries:
Under the influence of Neo-classicism, chocolate and coffee pots were often based on ancient Greek forms such as the 'oenoche' or wine jug. From the 1780s, facetted bodies like this one became fashionable, increasing the reflectiveness of the silver and matching the glitter of its 'bright-cut' engraving. [27/03/2003]


Tea, Coffee & Chocolate wares; Metalwork


Metalwork Collection

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