Jean-Martin Winoc Du Moulin

Not on view

With the importation into Europe of tea from the Far East, coffee from the near East, and chocolate from the Americas, special vessels for the brewing and serving of these new beverages were required. At first all three of these beverages were regarded as medicinal which limited their popularity and only gradually did these drinks gain acceptance in the home. Tea drinking was introduced in France toward the end of the seventeenth century. By 1687 silver pots for the serving of tea are listed in the inventory of Louis XIV’s plate. Very few such early French teapots are known to survive other than one marked by the silversmith I.C., Paris of 1699/1700, also in the Met’s collection (48.187.78) In fact, silver teapots are not at all common in France as compared to Great Britain and those that exist are frequently made in Lille and its surroundings.

Mrs. Wentworth acquired several mid-eighteenth-century French teapots, such as this one made in Bergues in Northern France but hall-marked in Lille. The vessel has a pear-shaped body consisting of eight panels that are continued on the cover. A small floral finial surmounts the lid. The swan’s neck spout terminates in an animal’s head. A series of small holes on the inside of the pot serves as a built-in strainer keeps the tea leaves from blocking the spout.

Since tea was served hot, the pot had to be constructed so that it would not be too hot to pour, and most vessels were therefore supplied with a wooden handle. Here the handle is attached with two threaded cylinders.

Daughter of one of the founders of the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company, Catherine D. Wentworth (1865–1948) was an art student and painter who lived in France for thirty years. She became one of the most important American collectors of eighteenth-century French silver and on her death in 1948 bequeathed part of her significant collection of silver, gold boxes, French furniture, and textiles to the Metropolitan Museum. The collection is particularly strong in domestic silver as illustrated by this teapot.

Teapot, Jean-Martin Winoc Du Moulin (1727–1766, master ca. 1750), Silver, wood, French, Bergues (Lille Mint)

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