James Sharp Teapot

Robert Smythier (British, 1633-1689)
Charles II Teapot c. 1675
Silver, wood
6 1/4 × 7 1/8 × 4 1/8 in.
Kamm Collection 2012.124

This early English teapot was made during the reign of King Charles II by silversmith Robert Smythier. It features an engraved heraldic image for Archbishop James Sharp (Scottish, 1618-1679) and the See of St. Andrews. The shield has a diagonal cross on the left for St. Andrews, and on the right are two crosses over a star for the Sharp family arms. Above the shield is the bishop’s hat.

The significance and special provenance of this teapot is noted in the English publication Notes on Antique Silver, Summer 1943 by Commander G. E. P. How:

“The Charles II teapot… [is] of immense historical importance both as the earliest recorded teapot in its low form and because of its association with the famous Archbishop Sharp of St. Andrews…. On the side of the pot are the arms of the Archbishop, who was assassinated on Magus Moor in 1679, and the pot can therefore definitely be dated before this year. It was probably ordered by Archbishop Sharp or given to him, possibly by the King, during his visit to London in 1675. This pot was sold recently [1943] at a country house sale by the widow of a direct descendant of the Archbishop himself.”