Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Hot water urn

  • Place of origin:

    Birmingham (probably, made)

  • Date:

    1800-1820 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Copper-rich alloy, patinated, with brass tap; the handle missing

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs Curtis

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 118; The Wolfson Gallery, case 1 []

Object Type
Urns to contain hot water for making tea and coffee were used in Britain from about 1770 until well into the 19th century. The hot water was drawn off by using the tap at the front of the urn. The interior is fitted with a tube, within which is a heated cast-iron ingot. This kept the water hot.

Ownership & Use
Hot water urns stood on a side-board or dresser. They were made in a variety of materials, including silver, Sheffield plate, brass and copper. Copper urns were the most popular, the surface either deliberately patinated to a dark colour or, as with this example, polished bright and then lacquered.

Design & Designing
These urns were intended to form part of the furnishings of a dining room, and therefore were well-designed, imposing vessels. This urn supported by reeded columns is in the fashionable style of the 1820s, when Neo-classicism was still very popular.

Place of Origin

Birmingham (probably, made)


1800-1820 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Copper-rich alloy, patinated, with brass tap; the handle missing

Marks and inscriptions

The tap stamped 'P' and 'S' and on the inner sleeve 'cc'

Object history note

Probably made in Birmingham

Labels and date

British Galleries:
This urn was designed for a prominent position on the tea table. The spherical body is constructed of two sections and was manufactured from metal sheet by the spinning process. To keep the water hot a red-hot iron bar was placed in a sleeve inside the urn to heat the water. [27/03/2003]


Metalwork; Tea, Coffee & Chocolate wares


Metalwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.