Samuel Kirk & Son - The Roosevelt Family (Eleanor & Franklin Delano) Repousse Chinoiserie Hot Water Kettle, c. 1880
Of oblong shape, this outstanding kettle displays the wonderful floral repoussé work that Kirk is so famous for. In addition, it features rare and fine chinoiserie details. The fixed handle with ivory insulators is shaped like a pagoda, with a pair of sea creatures at the top holding a pearl between them. This sea creature motif is repeated where the handle and the spout join the body: each issuing forth from the mouth of a repousséd sea creature head. On top of the hinged lid is a beautifully cast and chased Asian figure seated on a large tasseled cushion. (Possibly he is a tea merchant.)
Scrolling legs at the corners of the detachable base feature foliate chasing and terminate with bold rocaille (asymmetrical decoration based on shells) pad feet. Even the burner is repousséd.
Eleanor Roosevelt divided the Roosevelt family heirlooms equally between the children shortly after the death of Franklin in 1945. As part of a large assembled service of (mostly) Kirk repoussé tea wares that had belonged to her mother Anna Hall Roosevelt, this kettle went to her son Elliott and it was displayed in the 'Rooseveltania' exhibit of 1961.
This kettle is marked underneath both the body and burner 'S. Kirk & Son' and '11 oz' (sterling). This piece measures 13.125 inches high, weighs 67.4 troy ounces and is in excellent condition (except that something may be missing from the Asian man's hand).
Provenance: Anna Hall Roosevelt Eleanor and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Elliot Roosevelt previous owner.
Exhibitions: 'Rooseveltania', Minneapolis Museum of Art, 1961.