Material and Medium: Pewter
Dimensions: Overall (A: Teapot): 130 x 175 x 110mm (5 1/8 x 6 7/8 x 4 5/16in.)
Overall (B: Sugar basin): 73 x 120 x 80mm (2 7/8 x 4 3/4 x 3 1/8in.)
Overall (C: Sugar Basin): 65 x 110 x 70mm (2 9/16 x 4 5/16 x 2 3/4in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: 1979.793
This is a cream or milk jug made of electroplated Britannia metal. It is part of a three piece tea set.
The standard mix for Britannia metal is approximately 93% tin, 5% antimony and 2% copper. In order to discover the metals present in the jug we visited Sheffield Analytical Services at Sheffield Assay Office. The jug was tested using a technique called X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF). This is a non-destructive method, meaning that objects are not in danger of being marked or damaged in any way. An x-ray is fired at the sample which penetrates the top layer to a depth of 0.01 - 0.1 mm beneath the surface. The material then itself generates x-ray radiation that varies according to its composition. The results showed that the outside of the body is 92% tin, 4.4% antimony, 2.5% copper, 0.9% silver and 0.6% lead. Inside is 78% tin, 19% silver, 2.7% gold. The recipes tended to vary between different makers and depended on the process used and the type of objects being made. The gold inside tells us the interior has been gilded (coated with a thin layer of gold) to prevent tarnish. The small amount of silver on the outside shows that the silver plating is quite thin.