Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
British Galleries, Room 125, Edwin and Susan Davies Gallery

Kettle

ca. 1885 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Object Type
Dresser's copper tea kettle combines traditional European features drawn from sturdy brass cooking pots of the 16th and 17th centuries with elements typically associated with his personal style at its most inventive. Characteristic elements include the use of simple bold forms such as the three straight, spike legs and the straight handle, attached to the body by bridging struts rather than being shaped and attached directly to the body (a feature directed adapted from Japanese precedents).

Materials & Making
Dresser was inspired by the Japanese tradition of juxtaposing different metals and 'mokume' (a mixed metal sandwich forged to give the appearance of wood grain) but as the British hallmarking laws prohibited the mixing of gold and silver with base metals, experiments in combining metals were reserved for copper, brass and iron.

Design & Designing
Dresser's most innovative designs were for objects to be made in metal. Unlike his designs for ceramics and glass which often resemble plant forms in their shape, ornamentation or colouring, his metalwork designs tend to be fully abstracted from their organic source, frequently employing symmetrical, rectilinear shapes and undecorated surfaces.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Kettle
  • Lid
Materials and Techniques
Spun copper and cast brass, with ebony handle
Brief Description
Kettle, copper, brass, composition handle and a wooden knop, London ca. 1885, maker's mark of Benham and Froud, designed by Dr. Chrstopher Dresser.
Dimensions
  • Height: 25.3cm
  • Including handle and spout width: 22.2cm
  • Depth: 15.5cm
Marks and Inscriptions
Trade mark of Benham & Froud
Gallery Label
British Galleries: Dresser was inspired by the Japanese tradition of combining different metals. The British Assay Office prohibited mixing gold and silver with base metals, and so his experiments were reserved for combinations of copper and brass. The use of these cheaper materials suited Dresser's ambition to make 'art' objects available to a wider buying public.(27/03/2003)
Object history
Designed by Christopher Dresser (born in Glasgow, 1834, died in Mulhouse, France, 1904); made by Benham and Froud, London
Summary
Object Type
Dresser's copper tea kettle combines traditional European features drawn from sturdy brass cooking pots of the 16th and 17th centuries with elements typically associated with his personal style at its most inventive. Characteristic elements include the use of simple bold forms such as the three straight, spike legs and the straight handle, attached to the body by bridging struts rather than being shaped and attached directly to the body (a feature directed adapted from Japanese precedents).

Materials & Making
Dresser was inspired by the Japanese tradition of juxtaposing different metals and 'mokume' (a mixed metal sandwich forged to give the appearance of wood grain) but as the British hallmarking laws prohibited the mixing of gold and silver with base metals, experiments in combining metals were reserved for copper, brass and iron.

Design & Designing
Dresser's most innovative designs were for objects to be made in metal. Unlike his designs for ceramics and glass which often resemble plant forms in their shape, ornamentation or colouring, his metalwork designs tend to be fully abstracted from their organic source, frequently employing symmetrical, rectilinear shapes and undecorated surfaces.
Collection
Accession Number
M.30&A-1971

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record createdMarch 27, 2003
Record URL