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Lot 471

A rare and possibly unique Elkington & Co electroplated kettle designed by Dr Christopher Dresser

A rare and possibly unique Elkington & Co electroplated kettle designed by Dr Christopher Dresser circa 1867, model no.10272, registration number 22867, the domed body on four bar feet, with angled slender spout and handle over, the flat cover with knob stamped marks, 24cm. high

Catalogue Notes

This kettle represents the earliest provable Dresser design for electroplated silver. The Kettle`s pattern number 10272 places the design to 1866-1867. In 1865 The Building News, page 916, stated that Elkington were producing Dresser`s electroplated silver designs, and Widar Halen, in his Christopher Dresser, Phaidon 1990, confirms that these appear in the company records from about 1866-1867.

As this example was not manufactured until 1884 (year letter Y) and its design not registered until 1885 (no.22876), the design initially appears to be later and of less importance than the iconic undecorated Hukin & Heath and Dixon & Sons designs by Dresser of 1878-1879. These have previously been regarded as evidence of a fundamental shift in Dresser`s design philosophy after his visit to Japan in 1876-1877. The 1867 date of the design of this Elkington kettle contradicts this notion and advances Dresser`s electroplated silver designs by a decade.

Although metalwork designs annotated `Dresser` are recorded in the Elkington pattern books from 1885, there are earlier examples (including this kettle) which retained their old pattern numbers when old pattern books were updated; these earlier original numbers were then carried forward to new pattern books and included amongst the later designs.


Harry Lyons Christopher Dresser, The People`s Designer 1834-1904, ACC page 193 plate 368 the original drawing annotated `Dresser` reproduced.

Aspects of British Design 1870-1930 The Journal of The Decorative Arts Society, number 9 (1985), Christopher Dresser: Designs for Elkington & Co by Adrian Tilbrook, page 26 plate 7a the original design reproduced.

Widar Halen Christopher Dresser, Phaidon, page 145 for a discussion on Dresser`s early designs for Elkington.


Private collection.

* The description of the above lot by the auctioneer in the language of the auction is the governing description. Any translation using Google translate is a guide only - its accuracy cannot be guaranteed and it is used at your own risk.
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51-61 Castle Street Salisbury Wiltshire SP1 3SU United Kingdom
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Tags: Book, Journal, Letter
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