Teapot, from six piece silver coffee and tea service

Accession Number

Teapot, from six piece silver coffee and tea service

Samuel Kirk

Object Creation Date
circa 1850

Medium & Support

8 7/8 x 10 3/4 in. (22.4 x 27.2 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. George G. Cameron

Subject matter
Many silver luxury items in Colonial America were imported from Europe, but by the late 17th century American silversmiths began producing spoons, tankards, and tea services for domestic use and display, many of which emulated the aesthetics of British and Northern European design and ornament. The Tariff of 1842 imposed heavy taxes on imported goods to America, such as silver, which, along with a flourishing economy following the Civil War and an increase in the demand for elegant dining silverware, led to an increase in production. As the industry grew from local workshops to large factories, American silver manufacturers, such as Kirk & Sons and Tiffany & Company were established.
Kirk & Sons, one of the oldest American silver manufacturers, was established in 1815 by Samuel Kirk in Baltimore, Maryland. Their work became renowned for its high-quality, durability and ornate beauty. Kirk reintroduced American silver-making to the tradition of repoussé, a technique of silver design in which the surface pattern is created by beating or applying force to the reverse side to produce the desired design in high relief. The popularity of Kirk & Sons’ work reflected the emergence of the Rococo Revival style in 19th-century America which was characterized by elaborate decoration and ornamental opulence.

Physical Description
Short, squat silver pot with short spout, finial-topped lid, tall square handle and opulent repoussé decoration

Primary Object Classification
Decorative Arts

Primary Object Type
coffee service

Collection Area

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& Author Notes

Web Use Permitted

On display

UMMA Gallery Location ➜ AMH, 1st floor ➜ 103 (Marvin H. Davidson Gallery)