Antique bronze teapots are quite a rarity, and this one more than most. They were favored in China and Japan, so are generally Asian in design. In fact, I've seen no other example crafted in the European Art Nouveau manner. It may have originated in the East, meant for the export market. On the other hand, it could be French. The French did lovely bronze work and might have incorporated certain details from the East (such as the dragonlike handle and finial in the form of an ancient Oriental melon bead), elaborating these with Art Nouveau scrollwork. The foofy floral base of course is pure European Art Nouveau, as are the winglike shapes decorating the spout.
Condition of this piece is marvelous. There are just a few minor dings difficult to notice. Even the silvered interior -- an extremely uncommon feature -- is sound. A few patches of tarnish remain inside, but the pot's been given a fairly thorough polish. Normally I leave things in as-found condition, but in this case the patina was just too thick for proper appreciation of the gorgeous forms. Size is about 7 inches by 11 inches and provenance is an English estate.
Obviously this is a splendid display item, but it can also be used. Serious tea-drinkers have always loved bronze pots, because the density of the material keeps tea warm far longer than ceramic or any other metal.
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