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A "JAPANESE" STYLE BACHELOR TEA SET
This "bachelor" tea set (for its small size has
been intended for a single), hallmarked for London
1879, has been made by William & John Barnard,
belonging to one of the most famous families of
silversmiths of the Victorian period.
The style of this tea set, consisting of a teapot, a
milk jug and a sugar bowl, is known as "Japanese",
especially for the particular decoration of clear
Eastern influence. Here, also the shape of the
individual pieces (especially the teapot) is
inspired to terracotta models in use in China in the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, though not
originally designed for tea but to contain other
type of beverages, like wine.
The "Japanese" style, also known as the Aesthetic
Movement, formally exploded after the Philadelphia
Centennial Exposition of 1876. Its influence in
Great Britain is documented since in 1868, but is
only after 1880 that this style consolidated its
influence, mainly as a result of trips to Japan by
Christopher Dresser, following the opening of trade
with this country by Great Britain.
The Aesthetic Movement, like the Art Nouveau, found its
roots in the reaction to the Industrial Revolution in England in
the middle of the 19th century and emphasized art in the
production of furniture, metalwork, ceramics, stained glass,
textiles, wallpapers, and books. It was related to other
movements such as symbolism or decadence represented in France,
or decadentismo represented in Italy, and may be considered the
British version of the same styles. This style is considered
practically abandoned by 1901, at the sunset the great success
of Oscar Wilde.
The major artistic expression of the Aesthetic Movement on
silver artifacts can be found in works by Tiffany and Co. in
USA, mainly where silver was combined with copper and others
metals. No similar examples occurred In Great Britain, because
the only metal that could be used together with silver was gold.
The naturalistic design of this set includes many of the
typical "Japanese" decorations: flowers, birds, ginkgo leaves
and peacock feathers. Apart from design and decoration this tea
set contains other features connected to the Aesthetic Movement.
In particular it was manufactured using a manual technique (the
seaming) in a period where the contribution of machine for
manufacturing silverware was the rule.
Dimension and weight:
Tea pot: 13.5 cm tall, 16 cm wide. Weight 282 g.
Milk Jug: 5.8 x 4.7 x 6 cm tall. Weight 80 g.
Sugar bowl: 11 cm across and 7 cm tall: Weight 136 g.
Overall weight 508 g.