A pair of elegant silver tea caddies

Hendrik Swierink (circa 1693 Zwolle - Amsterdam 1767), Amsterdam, 1751

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A pair of elegant silver tea caddies

Marked: on the reverse base of each container:

Maker’s mark: HA with crossed, waving leaves between, in a flowerpot-shaped shield = Hendrik Swierink, Date letter: Amsterdam, R in a circle, Amsterdam, 1751, Town mark: three crosses in vertical shield below an imperial crown, Amsterdam, 1734-1751, Hallmark: Provincial lion passant to left below a crown, Holland, 1734-1751

Each of facetted rectangular form, the stepped and reeded, protruding base on four scrolling, acanthus and scallop, bracket supports, a cut-out scallop apron between, whereby each downward swept patel is engraved with stylised foliage within a hatched border, the smooth upper body applied with rocaille garlands, below a recessed and stepped, canted neck and pull off domed and engraved cover rising to vase-shaped baluster finial.

Tea was a luxurious commodity in the Netherlands. The Dutch got acquainted with this exotic product during the first decade of the century, after the founding of the East India Company VOC in 1602. The flourishing trade with countries in eastern Asia meant that larger consignments were only reaching the country on a regular basis from circa 1650. Like so many new products, tea was an exotic new article that was initially thought to have medicinal properties. Towards the end of the 17th century tea was being drunk as a luxury beverage as it was extremely expensive. The demand was boosted to such high levels that price rose to as much as a hundred guilders per pound. Because tea was so expensive, the first silver utensils in which to keep tea and dispense it appear in the Netherlands toward the end of the 17th century. The earliest known Dutch silver caddies date from around 1695. During the 18th century, different qualities of tea were introduced, allowing more people to buy it. During the second half of the 18th century, the better qualities of tea were still very expensive.

Hendrik Swierink was born in Zwolle circa 1693 and established himself as a silversmith in Amsterdam in 1726. In 1733 he married Catharina van Huet. The couple lived at Rozengracht, and had two children. Their son Barend, who also became a silversmith, married in 1772, when his father Hendrik had died. Swierink was considered one of the best silverworkers of the Louis XV period.

With A. Aardewerk, The Hague TEFAF 2011, their stock number 10032 on a label on the reverse;
Private collection, Netherlands

Associated Literature
Karel A. Citroen, Amsterdamse zilversmeden en hun merken, BV Noord-Hollandse Uitgeversmaatschappij, Amsterdam, 1975, n° 365, p. 73, the mark of the silversmith and a partial listing of his production

Hendrik Swierink (circa 1693 Zwolle - Amsterdam 1767), Amsterdam, 1751

height 13.3 cm, width 8.4 depth 7.2 cm

Weight: 239 and 243 grs

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