Antique George I Silver Octagonal Coffee Pot

Date: 1715

Maker: Francis Plymley

Country: England

Stock Number: 9201


A rare early antique silver coffee pot (or chocolate pot) with domed lid and wooden side handle. Dates from the first year of George I's reign. Britannia standard* silver. Lovely plain style with simple reed borders and the straight lined octagonal shape is a very desirable feature. To the front is a hand engraved cartouche containing an armorial. Weight 529 grams, 17 troy ounces. Height 25 cm. Spread 16 cm. London 1715. Maker Francis Plymley.

Literature: Coffee and chocolate were brought to England in the mid 17th century and were established as part of social life by the end of the century. Coffee pots can be found from the 1680's onwards. Initially, these tall form pots were used for both coffee and chocolate however we now term chocolate pots to be those with either a removable finial or removable lid for inserting a swizzle stick. We also nominate some early side handled pots as chocolate pots.

Matching tea and coffee sets were not made in any quantities until the mid 1780's and water jugs made before this time are comparatively rare. These have a short pouring spout as opposed to the coffee pot spout which starts from halfway down the body. Any early water jugs were probably used also for coffee and chocolate.

*Britannia Standard. In 1696, so extensive had become the melting and clipping of coinage that the silversmiths were forbidden to use the sterling standard for their wares, but had to use a new higher standard, 95.8 per cent. New hallmarks were ordered, "the figure of a woman commonly called Britannia" and the lion's head erased (torn off at the neck) replacing the lion passant and the leopard's head crowned. This continued until the old standard of 92.5 per cent was restored in 1720. Britannia standard silver still continues to be produced even today.

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