Cornelius Kierstede (American, 1674ca. 1757)
Silver; Overall: 10 1/8 x 10 5/8 in., 1481.7 grams (25.7 x 27 cm, 47.638 troy ounces); Diam. of base: 7 3/8 in. (18.7 cm); H. without handle: 7 7/16 in. (18.9 cm)
Bequest of James Stevenson Van Cortlandt, 1917 (40.145a,b)
As in England and the Netherlands, tea drinking became increasingly popular in colonial America, creating a demand for specialized tea equipment such as teapots, sugar bowls, and creampots. This bold, pear-shaped teakettle with bail handle is an extremely rare form in American silver. Its decorative bird's-head spout, distinctively Dutch in inspiration, enlivens the unadorned body, which probably sat on an accompanying spirit-lamp stand. The kettle descended in the de Peyster family to Anne (Stevenson) Van Cortlandt (17741821)whose initials are engraved in script on the side of the bodyand, ultimately, to the donor.