Inscribed Electroplated Teapot
This teapot is in the style of the late 18th century, with beading around the rim and base and bright-cut decoration on body, lid and spout. However, its metal handle with ivory or bone insulators identifies it as a Victorian copy and judging by the lettering of the engraved inscription, it dates from about 1890. Beneath the base the initials R.P are struck in an oval punch. This is probably one of the marks used on electroplated wares by Robert Pringle of Clerkenwell Road, London EC1. Pringle set up in business as a silversmith in 1835 and the company he founded continued trading until ca. 1965. The electroplating process was invented by Elkingtons in about 1840 and the teapot also bears the mark EP (for electroplate). The noticeably yellow colour of the base metal substrate where it shows through, raises the possibility that it may be brass rather than the more usual nickel alloy commonly known as ‘nickel silver’ or ‘German silver’.
The inscription Prize for Hound Puppy Crafty is engraved in a shield on the side of the teapot and refers to the practice of entrusting foxhound puppies to hunt members for training. The prizewinning owners’ initials TCG are in a similar shield on the opposite side of the pot and probably identify Thomas and Clara Gilbert, from whose family the teapot was acquired by the present owner. Thomas Gilbert was for many years an active member of the Old Surrey Foxhounds.
- Bury, Shirley, Victorian Electroplate, Country Life Collectors’ Guide (Hamlyn, London, 1971)