Original Victorian Era British Silver Plated “Britannia Ware” Cold Water Ewer Presented to Capt. Kirby in 1877

Item Description

Original Item: One of a Kind. Britannia Ware, also called Britannium or Britannia metal, is a specific type of pewter alloy, favored for its silvery appearance and smooth surface. The composition by weight is typically about 92% tin, 6% antimony, and 2% copper. Britannia metal is usually spun and stamped rather than cast. After the development of electroplating with silver in 1846, Britannia metal was widely used as the base metal for silver-plated household goods and cutlery, such as this wonderful example.

Here we have a very nice late Victorian Ewer for Cold Water, made from several pieces of silver-plated Britannia Ware, all custom made. There is an internal porcelain coated water vessel with a spout, which rests inside the outer embossed shell. This helps insulate the water inside and prevent condensation on the outside. The exterior is embossed with all types of wilderness scenes, presumably from the Canada region. There are also some early hunting scenes, and to top it off is a Putto angel riding a fish or sea serpent on the lid. Overall the ewer measures about 14 inches tall, 7 inches wide crosswise, and 11 inches wide across the handle and spout.

The sides of the ewer have panels for engraving, and one has a very nicely executed presentation inscription:

Steamer Flora
By a few of his
personal friends

A truly magnificent presentation item. We have unfortunately not been able to find much about "Captain Kirby", however there were many prominent individuals with that last name in the Great lakes region involved with steamers. The bottom of the ewer indicates it was made by MERIDEN, and there are patent dates from 1868 on the bottom as well. Under the lid on the interior container there is a patent date of 1872.

Very attractive, and ready to research and display!

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