Lisbon, António Firmo da Costa, 1804-1810
Cast, chased, engraved, chiselled silver
Inv. 401/1 to 5
This elegant, almost miniature tea service comprises five pieces: a teapot, a milk jug, a sugar bowl, a box for tea and a slop bowl. The pieces are all faceted into flat or curved surfaces, while the smooth silver is enhanced by delicately engraved neoclassical motifs inspired by the Adam style. One of the most striking characteristics of the service is the influence of English silverwork, which was more prominent than French creations at the time due to the close political and economic relations between Portugal and England and the large British population in Porto, who were active in promoting this trend.
This high quality tea service was produced by silversmith António Firmo da Costa, who made eight of the other pieces in the museum collection. Its unusually small size and clever inclusion and interpretation of neoclassical themes make the tea service an expressive example of one of the most interesting aspects of Portuguese silverwork during the reign of Queen Maria I.