Sugar basin

1850-1851 (hallmarked)

Angell, Joseph (the younger)

Height: 16 cm, Width: 17.8 cm, Depth: 15 cm

M.27C-1983 MET

Sugar basin from a tea service by Joseph Angell II, silver, parcel-gilt with enamel; London hallmarks for 1851-52.

Sugar basin from a tea service by Joseph Angell Junior; silver with coloured enamels, raised, chased, cast handles. The tea and coffee service consists of a coffee pot, teapot, milk jug and sugar basin. Each piece is of the same general shape although the coffee pot and jug are of a more attenuated form. Each item rests on scroll feet, the lower body of concave, faceted shape swelling to a rounded, angular plan. The upper body of each is of similar, concave, faceted form to that of the lower part and terminates in a regular, scrolled rim. Domed faceted lids surmount the coffee pot and teapot with angular pinnacles forming the knops. The handles of each object are angular with stylised, leaf ornament. The spouts of the coffee pot and teapot are similarly moulded; the milk jug has a wide, flowing lip. This service is decorated with inset, angular silver panels inlaid with translucent enamels coloured green and purple interspersed with tongue shaped, raised reserves which have been engraved with stylised, geometric patterns. The style of the service is an eclectic mixture of 19th century Gothic Revival, Near Eastern and rococo motifs.

Object Type The form, decoration and colour are combined with great verve in this piece from a tea and coffee service. The enamelled decoration is especially fine, with inset medallions of purple and green translucent enamel, reminiscent of the work of leading Parisian goldsmiths of the time. The success of French goldsmiths with the technique of enamelling was much admired and envied in England. People The designer of this piece, Joseph Angell, inherited the London silversmithing business founded by his father. In addition to the medal awarded in 1851, he won prizes for his enamelled silver at the New York International Exhibition of 1853 and for work shown at the International Exhibition of 1862. Historical Associations Joseph Angell was a member of the Society of Arts, where the idea for the Great Exhibition originated. He showed pieces of enamelled metalwork at one of their meetings in spring 1851, as a foretaste of his display later in the year. In his own catalogue, published under the title Descriptive Particulars in 1851, he stated that his exhibits were made expressly for the exhibition within five months. The enormous price of £120 asked for the tea and coffee service, which reflected the complexity of its construction, was three times that of a conventional service.

Made in London by Joseph Angell (born in London, 1816, died in Brendon, Devon, 1891) From a tea service. Great Exhibition of 1851, Joseph Angell jun. won a medal for his enamel work, bronze medal in New York in 1853, and also received an award at the 1862 exhibition. Angell worked in Clerkenwell in the 1850s and employed 35 men and boys (see Culme). Neg._No: HG 1606 (SET)

Location: British Galleries, room 122f, case 4

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