An important early George I bullet teapot

Colin Campbell, Edinburgh 1714, Assay Master Edward Penman, the plain spherical bullet shaped body with a tapering straight spout, wooden C scroll handle with raised thumbpiece, the circular pull off cover with knopped finial, raised on a circular flared foot
14.5cm high, 17.2oz
Estimate £4,000-6,000

Christies London, 25th June 1969, lot 129
Sotheby's London, 29th November 1972 lot 76
Koopman Antiques, London
Private collection by descent

This is the earliest recorded Scottish teapot, matched in date with one other by Colin McKenzie. Both dating from 1714 - 1715 it is interesting to note they are made by master and apprentice, showing not only the control that McKenzie had within the Edinburgh market but also the skills of a newly trained silversmith. Colin McKenzie was without doubt one of the most important makers in Edinburgh in the early 1700's and the legacy he left through his apprentices would follow for decades to come.

Colin Campbell was made a Freeman of the Incorporation of Goldsmiths of the City of Edinburgh only two years previously in 1712, and appears to have had a successful early career. Valuable commissions such as this would rarely have gone to a relatively in experienced and newly established Goldsmith; however, the accomplished manufacture of this piece shows the skill Campbell had. Interestingly he is not just copying a style laid down by his master, or another maker, but expanding the design to what would become the standard and popular bullet teapot. The other recorded early teapots made in Edinburgh are all of apple form with tapered body and without a foot. This example with a foot stopped the immediate need for a simple teapot stand, which are also recorded at this early period.

This example must be considered the forerunner of the bullet teapot and the model from which others were designed and made. This bullet style synonymous with Scottish silver can now be traced further back than originally considered.

Sold for £13,750 (buyer's premium included)