Earliest recorded Scottish teapot sold at auction for £13,750
A highlight of the 2013 Scottish Silver & Accessories auction was this George I bullet teapot. This piece dating from 1714 is one of the earliest recorded Scottish teapots, selling on the day for £13,750 (premium inclusive).
One of the earliest Scottish teapots recorded it is by maker Colin Campbell and matched in date with just 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.