Paktong, an alloy of copper, zinc and nickel, was imported from China in limited quantities and known in 18th century England as tutenag or Chinese white copper. Hollowware accounts for a very small percentage of surviving paktong artefacts and this sauceboat is an exceptional rarity.
The sauceboat has a deep, helmet-shaped body, raised on three modified hoof feet with shell knees, and a flying scroll handle. The body is raised from substantial sheet metal and has a cast, applied rim. The handle and feet are castings; each foot has a small hole at its junction with the body to allow hot gases to escape during the brazing process.
It is a handsome model, whose sophisticated lines and assured craftsmanship indicate the work of a silversmith. The generous proportions and sturdy handle and feet suggest a date in the 1760s. Later in the century the flying scroll handle declined in popularity, perhaps due to an inherent weakness at its junction with the rim of the body.
- Keith Pinn, Paktong: the Chinese Alloy in Europe, Antique Collectors’ Club, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1999, ISBN 1 85149 324 7
- Alfred Bonnin, Tutenag & Paktong, Oxford University Press, Humphrey Milford, 1924
- W D Johns & Katherine Coombes, Paktong, The Ceramic Book Company, Newport, Monmouthshire, 1970