Victorian British Tea Service, Aesthetic Style, circa 1880
Particular and rare service 4 pieces tea / coffee in Sheffield Plate with relative tray. The drawings, elaborated and detailed, on the 4 pieces and on the tray are obtained with the acid engraving method so as to bring out the ornamental motif in relief, the handles are in ebonized wood. The great importance of this decorative composition is its pure Aesthetic style. Aestheticism was a movement that embraced literature, philosophy, the figurative arts and also influenced the production of furniture, porcelain, silver and silver plate . The fundamental principle of the movement ("art for art’s sake") consisted in seeing art as a representation of itself, contrasting itself with materialism, utilitarianism and the dominant prejudices of Victorian society.
The father of English Aestheticism is considered Walter Pater, his true prophet is Oscar Wilde. In the figurative arts, Aestheticism made fundamental and elegant use of nature, especially flowers, birds, ginkgo leaves and peacock feathers. Aestheticism shared certain affinities with the French Symbolist movement, the Arts and Crafts Movement, and sponsored Art Nouveau.The service in question, beautiful example of Aestheticism, is quite rare since the Aesthetic movement was prevalent only from about 1880 to about 1890 and there are not many surviving objects of this particular style. The marks on the object show us that it was produced by the Johnson and Co. Birmingham silversmith between 1879 and 1899. Coffe pot height 21 cm, tray 64x36 cm.