Dutch silver tea caddy

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Dutch silver tea caddy


Jacobus Potholt

Middelburg, 1734

176 grams; 14 cm high


Maker’s mark I/ POTHOLT is attributed to Jacobus Potholt. Neither many data about Potholt have been registered other than that he became a master-silversmith at the Middelburg silbversmiths’ guild in 1699, nor many objects of his hand are known. This silver tea caddy is a quality item, made by Jacobus Potholt in 1734. This implies that he must have worked at least till 1734, having been 55-60 years of age at that time.


Futhermore, according to a guild invoice of 13 April 1711 Jacobus Potholt made a standing cup and cover for the Guild of Grocers, Pharmacists, Tabacco and Sugar dealers. Lambertus van der Toren, his fellow silversmiths’ guild member, did the gilding for this cup and cover, while his other fellow, Willem du Pré took care of the coat–of-arms on the cup. This cooperation is a good example of the way in which silversmiths used to work together within their guild.


As known, a VOC office was based in Middelburg. Initially, the focus was on trade in spices. In the 18th century the focus shifted to trade in silk, tea and porcelain.


The design of this tea caddy is derived from a classical ornamental garden vase. During the reign of Louis XIV, the French Sun King, garden vases did not only play a prominent role in the extensive parks, as they did in Roman times, but also vase-shaped ornaments appeared in architecture and sculptureIn the early 18th century silversmiths in France and in England adopted the vase shape for their largest silver objects, for example for a wine fountain with a spout in the form of a garden vase. After 1720, due to Daniel Marot’s designs, the classical vase shape was used for smaller silver objects in the Netherlands, like coffee urns, tea caddies, mustard pots and liturgical cruets.



-Sotheby’s Londen, 4 juli 1983, lot 303


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