Richard Morton & Co.
Material and Medium: Old Sheffield Plate, wood
Dimensions: Overall: 255 x 100 x 220mm (10 1/16 x 3 15/16 x 8 11/16in.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: L1943.17
This object is a coffee pot and was made around 1765. It is made from Old Sheffield Plate, which was invented in the city in the 1740s. Old Sheffield Plate is a form of silver plate in which a thin layer of silver is fused onto a copper ingot (bar). The ingot was then rolled into sheets and used to make objects. The silver plate on this teapot has worn away during its lifetime, exposing large areas of copper on the body.
Coffee was first brought to England by Turkish traders. Like sugar, coffee was imported from Jamaica and also from America during the 1700s. It was initially very expensive. Coffee was generally drunk at breakfast in wealthy homes.
A large number of coffee houses opened in towns at this time, which were usually attended by men. Drinking coffee was considered to be incredibly fashionable, though some groups were concerned about its effect as a stimulant.
The price of coffee had reduced during by the late 1700s and far more people could afford to drink it in their homes.
Although coffee was not drunk in China, its popularity meant that porcelain manufacturers in the country began to produce small coffee cups along with tea wares for export to Europe.
This object is part of the Bradbury Collection.