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  • Place of origin:

    Birmingham (made)

  • Date:

    1857 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Elkington & Co. (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Electroplate and ivory

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Elkington & Co. Ltd.

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 123, case 4

Object Type
This teapot was used for making tea by infusing tea-leaves in hot water, in much the same manner as today. The teapot form originally evolved in Europe from that of the Chinese wine pot. By the 19th century the British taste for tea was well established. Tea wares in a variety of materials from expensive silver to cheaper earthenware catered for a wide market. This teapot in electroplated nickel silver appealed to a consumer who wanted the look of silver but at a budget price. A similar engraved teapot was being offered by the manufacturers Elkington & Co. for £4 in a catalogue of 1869. A silver teapot could cost twice as much as this.

Afternoon Tea
The idea of a formal afternoon tea, taken by family and friends at about 4 o'clock emerged to fill the gap left by a later dinner hour. Dining in Britain grew progressively later. In the mid-18th century fashionable society dined between 3 and 4 o'clock but by the early 19th century 7 or 8 p.m. was the rule. Afternoon tea provided welcome refreshment and an added social engagement between lunch at 1 p.m. and the later dinner hour. Apart from tea, thin bread and butter, cake and fresh fruit would be offered. Tea could also be served at other afternoon events such as the more elaborate 'At Home' teas which combined refreshment with entertainment or at a later high tea ( a more substantial meal).

Physical description

Electroplate, ivory protective strips, ivory finial engraved

Place of Origin

Birmingham (made)


1857 (made)


Elkington & Co. (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Electroplate and ivory

Marks and inscriptions

Maker's marks of Elkington & Co.
"On Base: E&Co, E, M, &Co, S
Incised: P, 3900, 3-leaf clover
1857 scratched on base."


Height: 16 cm, Width: 25 cm, Depth: 15 cm, Height: 22 cm with lid up, approx.

Object history note

Made by Elkington & Co., Birmingham

Descriptive line

Electroplated nickel silver with ivory additions, Birmingham, 1857, made by Elkington & Co.


Nickel silver; Silver; Ivory


Electroplating; Engraving (incising)


Tea, Coffee & Chocolate wares


Metalwork Collection

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