|George II Miniature Silver Coffee Pot - John Hugh Le Sage
Period: George II
Year: Circa 1740
Silversmith: John Hugh le Sage
Price: $ 5 000.00
Weight: 88 grams
Dimensions: 11.0 cm height.
Condition: Very good. Small hole/ split, 5 mm, above top handle (hidden by hinge), below coffeepot rim on join. Small dent to base in rococo, above foot, under spout.
Description: An extremely rare miniature silver coffee pot by the Huguenot John Hugh Le Sage, subordinate goldsmith to the King. The coffee pot is early Rococo style, with relief chasing of flowers and scrolls around the base and border below the cover. As is expected with early Rococo (1740 - 1750), large areas are left blank, only after 1750 did full Rococo develop which filled in the blanks. The swan neck spout is leaf wrapped, and the wooden handle has a typical double C scroll. The lid, which is richly decorated, has a stepped dome cover and acorn finial. The pot also has a tucked in base and stand-away hinge. The only hallmarks are the makers mark (script JS underneath crown) struck 3 times on the base (Grimwade 1680, Jacksons pg 192). As per the plate act of 1739, silver toys were exempted from assay, and only required the makers mark.
A number of silver toys have been attributed to John Hugh Le Sage, many of which today reside in museums, including the Henry Ford Museum (USA) and the Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A, London). The V&A has a very similar miniature coffee pot by Le Sage with similar shape, hinge and acorn finial, but without the Rococo decoration (which is pictured in the book "Miniature Silver Toys", Victor Houart, pg 191). A miniature coffee pot and chocolate pot, both by Le Sage and in the Victoria and Albert Museum, are also pictured in the book "Silver Toys and Miniatures" by Miranda Poliakoff, page 31. Poliakoff also discusses the different sizes of silver miniatures, from the very small intended for dolls houses, to larger ones such as this example that were made for nursery play, as depicted in a painting by Hogarth (pg 35).
This miniature coffee pot has been included in an inventory of all known silver by John Hugh Le Sage, in an article entitled "The Le Sage family of Goldsmiths circa 1695 to 1812", by Judy Jowett, Silver Studies Journal 28, 2012, pg 153, on page 166. Jowett records that around 1740 Le Sage "made a quantity of toy items either for adult doll houses or for his own family, for at the time he had 4 children under the age of 9" (pg 156). The inventory records a number of other miniatures from 1740, including a collection in the V & A Museum, tea tray, equipage, chocolate pot, molinet, sauceboats, saucepan, flagons, tankard, tea caddy, coffee pot, poker, salver and standish.