This remarkable melon-shaped silver-gilt teapot and stand, hallmarked
for 1812-13 and 1813-14 respectively, were made by craftsmen employed
by the famous silversmith Paul Storr (1771-1844), who managed a
manufactory in Soho for the royal goldsmiths Rundell, Bridge & Rundell
between 1807 and 1819. The pieces were ordered when Beckford was
completing and settling into his huge house, Fonthill Abbey in Wiltshire,
and receiving an increased income from his Jamaican estates as a
result of the rise in the price of sugar.
Beckford was particularly interested in earlier artistic styles
and the teapot and stand are a curious combination of European and
Eastern models. They are certainly influenced by Chinese ceramics
and possibly by Indian hardstones and Chinese bronzes. Beckford
and his friend and agent Gregorio Franchi probably supplied Storr
with notes and either sketches or prints for these exceptional items.
Both pieces were purchased by the National Museums of Scotland in
1977, with support from the National Art Collections Fund.