For sale is this rare modernist, aesthetic, sterling silver tea set by Christopher Dresser. Dresser is without doubt the father of both modern and commercial design. Pieces that are designed by Dresser in sterling silver are rare.
The teapot is of modernist conical form with classic Dresser ebonised handle. The teapot includes an integral infuser, itself a delight, (see images). The sugar and jug have matching design with silver handles.
This tea set is marked for Elkington 1899, therefore made within Dresser’s lifetime though slightly after it was originally designed. Dresser did well documented designs for Elkington (c 1884-1888) but the teapot to this set is in fact a registered Dresser design for Hukin and Heath in May 1878, for a teapot with stand. Unrelated to its date of design, this is model number 1878 (see Harry Lyons, “Christopher Dresser”, page 196). For a single sterling silver teapot to this design, marked for Heath & Middleton, 1895, see Lyon & Turnbull, March, 2015 auction.
The teapot to this set carries this Hukin and Heath model number. This almost certainly means Hukin and Heath made the tea set for Elkington as retailer. An identical sterling silver tea set is known in a private collection with marks for Hukin and Heath.
Plated examples of this teapot with stand and warmer can be found on display at a number of museums including at the V & A Museum (ref M.935-1983). This exact tea set for sale is published in Chris Morley’s book “Dresser’s Decorative Design”, page 212.
Condition is excellent and the tea set is a heavy gauge of silver.
Price range: POA
Maker: Elkington & Co (See write-up)
Designer: Christopher Dresser
Date: 1899 (designed 1878-1885)
Marks: E&Co, London d (teapot), Birmingham z (jug and sugar), 1899
Material: Sterling silver, ebonised wood
Size: 13.5 cm tall, 23 cm max width (teapot)
Weight: 820 grams, 28.9 oz total.