A Scottish George II silver coffee urn, Alexander Johnston, Dundee, 1742
Lot 314*Y
A George II Scottish silver coffee urn by Alexander Johnston, Dundee 1742
Sold for £18,125 (US$ 29,006) inc. premium

Lot Details
A George II Scottish silver coffee urn by Alexander Johnston,  Dundee 1742 A George II Scottish silver coffee urn by Alexander Johnston,  Dundee 1742 A George II Scottish silver coffee urn by Alexander Johnston,  Dundee 1742 A George II Scottish silver coffee urn by Alexander Johnston,  Dundee 1742 A Scottish George II silver coffee urn, Alexander Johnston, Dundee, 1742 A Scottish George II silver coffee urn, Alexander Johnston, Dundee, 1742
A George II Scottish silver coffee urn
by Alexander Johnston, Dundee 1742
The plain egg shaped body, set on three equally spaced cabriole legs with paw feet, the looped serpent like handles with upward reaching mythical head terminals, the hinged lid with plain bun finial, with ivory fan spigot and mythical head spout, the upper body chased with floral, shell and scroll decoration the front and reverse crested, height 29cm, weight 47.5oz.

Footnotes

  • The arms are for
    BALFOUR of Balbirnie impaling CALDOR of Castlemartin
    (The bottom right hand quarter of the wife's side of the cartouche has been excluded possibly due to lack of space)

    Although 16 Scottish coffee urns of this type and period are known to exist they were all manufactured in Edinburgh. Alexander Johnston, who had served his apprenticeship with a leading Edinburgh maker would have been well aware of the contemporary Edinburgh fashion.

    Johnston led a fascinating life. When not making silver, he was an active Jacobite and as a member of Bonnie Prince Charlie's Life Guards, he was on the winning side at the Battle of Prestonpans in 1745. His fortunes suffered a downturn at the Battle of Culloden and he was subsequently captured by the Hanoverian forces.

    Although coffee was widely drunk by wealthy Scots in the eighteenth century, few coffee pots have survived and, until recently, the exact function of the two handed coffee pots was not known. It was believed they may have been used for holding hot water or making tea. Research in the ledgers of the Edinburgh goldsmith John Rollo, however, has revealed a bill for a coffee pot weighing 62 ounces - double the weight of the conventional single handed coffee pot – which has led specialists in the field to conclude confidently that this refers to the two handled version.
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