This concept of a metal tripod kettle-stand is undoubtedly inspired by solid silver precedents, with removable trays, such as those featured in Hogarth's painting The Marriage Contract. Of the six or so of these recorded, perhaps the most celebrated are the Bowes kettle and stand by Simon Patin of 1724, which is now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Earl of Exeter's of circa 1725, which is now in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London (M. Clayton, The Collector's Dictionary of the Silver and Gold of Great Britain and North America, Woodbridge, 1971, pp.410-12). Two silver tea tables, as opposed to silver kettle stands, both circa 1742, are also known. One is in the Kremlin, Moscow, and the other was in the collection of the Duke of Portland, the latter having a wooden frame enclosed in sheet silver. (E.A. Jones, Catalogue of Plate belonging to the Duke of Portland at Welbeck Abbey, 1935).
John Cornforth discussed the subject in 'The Marriage of Silver and Brass', Country Life, January 8, 2004, pp. 60-63, noting that while no solid silver furniture could be identified in 18th century inventories, there were a number of references to silvered brass chandeliers, sconces and branches; furthermore he illustrates a number of silvered brass items of exceptional quality including a kettle stand. Silvered brass sconces were noted in an inventory at Erdigg where, in the drawing room the seat furniture, pier glass and table were of silvered gesso. Cornforth suggests a close connection between silvered brass and gesso furniture and the activities of tea-making and the serving of food. This concept is further reinforced by five silvered brass salvers and two brass kettle stands, all dating from circa 1740-50, which relate closely in design to the present lot (see R. Gentle and R. Feild, Domestic Metalwork 1640 - 1820, rev. ed., Woodbridge, 1994, pp. 293-294, pl. 1-5, and pp. 307-308, pl. 2-3.
This form of silver kettle stand was also executed in mahogany, with removable silver tray, such as those supplied to Dunham Massey, Cheshire, which are illustrated in P. Macquoid and R. Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, London, rev. edn., 1954, Vol. III, p.164, figs. 1-2.