Miniature Kettle thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Miniature Kettle

Ca. 1740 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Silver toys were not only playthings for wealthy children. The term toy included any knick-knack or fashionable trinket for adults, as well as a child’s plaything. Silver toys copied the exact details and proportions of normal sized pieces. They occur in an exuberant variety of subject and size ranging from domestic utensils to elaborate furniture. Several explanations of these objects have been tendered; that they were part of the furnishings of dolls’ houses, that they were trade samples made in miniature for convenience and security, that they were practice pieces for apprentices, that they were a fashionable novelty for adults to collect or that they were simply the playthings of rich children. In 1571, the daughter of Henry II of France ordered a set of small silver ‘pots, bowls, plates and other articles,’ to give to a royal child. The high point of production in London was the first half of the 18th century. Some pieces such as the fireplace or the plate stand were made to furnish dolls’ houses, others such as the tea table and chocolate pot helped little girls to behave like ladies. Because they were light and small, silver toys are not fully hallmarked. The form of the maker’s or retailer’s mark helps to date them.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 3 parts.

  • Miniature Kettle
  • Miniature
  • Miniature
Materials and Techniques
Silver - flat chased and crested
Brief Description
Silver, mark of William Beilby and J Bainbridge, Durham, about 1740
Credit line
Bequeathed by Mrs D. S. F. Campbell
Historical context
D.S.F. Campbell Bequest

This is a collection of silver toys, mainly English dating from the 17th and 18th centuries with some Dutch pieces, said to have belonged originally to Queen Victoria. According to Mrs Campbell’s papers, they were given by the Duchess of Kent to Mrs Salina Bracebridge, née Mills, in recognition of her work with Florence Nightingale in the Crimea, c.1855.
Summary
Silver toys were not only playthings for wealthy children. The term toy included any knick-knack or fashionable trinket for adults, as well as a child’s plaything. Silver toys copied the exact details and proportions of normal sized pieces. They occur in an exuberant variety of subject and size ranging from domestic utensils to elaborate furniture. Several explanations of these objects have been tendered; that they were part of the furnishings of dolls’ houses, that they were trade samples made in miniature for convenience and security, that they were practice pieces for apprentices, that they were a fashionable novelty for adults to collect or that they were simply the playthings of rich children. In 1571, the daughter of Henry II of France ordered a set of small silver ‘pots, bowls, plates and other articles,’ to give to a royal child. The high point of production in London was the first half of the 18th century. Some pieces such as the fireplace or the plate stand were made to furnish dolls’ houses, others such as the tea table and chocolate pot helped little girls to behave like ladies. Because they were light and small, silver toys are not fully hallmarked. The form of the maker’s or retailer’s mark helps to date them.
Collection
Accession Number
M.256 to B-1976

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record createdSeptember 10, 2004
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