Chocolate as a drink was introduced to Britain in the mid 17th century. Michael Clayton in The Collector's Dictionary of the Silver and Gold of Great Britain and North America, Woodbridge, 1971, p. 90, quotes an advertisement in the Publick Advertiser from 1657 which publicises 'an excellent West India drick called chocolate'. The form of the earliest and rarest chocolate pots, of which this is one, are inspired by oriental vase forms, particularly Chinese ginger-jars, and have a detachable cover with a detachable finial to allow the chocolate to be stirred with a molinet.
Other examples of this very rare form include a coffee-pot made by R. Williamson, Leeds, circa 1695 (M. Clayton, op. cit., fig. 124) and two made in Newcastle. One is by Eli Bilton, 1694 (M. Holland, Old Country Silver, 1971, p. 77) and the other by William Ramsay, circa 1695 and was formerly in the Hahn collection (Christie's New York, 25 October 2000, lot 279). A London made example, circa 1685, maker's mark IW a tun below, was in the Howard and May Joynt collection (Christie's New York, 19 April 1990, lot 244).