This scarcity obviously precluded its wide utilization in the manufacture of most domestic wares, and it is therefore interesting to note that its use was basically confined to two categories, namely candlesticks and to fire grates. For the latter it was obviously a most desirable metal, its close resemblance to silver and resistance to heat and tarnishing being eminently suitable for the purpose. Many of the surviving examples are, as seen in the present lot, designed in the neo-classical taste. Although the alloy is not specifically mentioned in the drawings of Robert Adam depicting chimney-pieces, they are nevertheless found in houses designed by him. These include Osterley Park, Syon House, Saltram, and Nostell Priory.
Although designs for grates were included in many contemporary furniture pattern books such as the third edition of Thomas Chippendale's Director in 1762, there are few surviving references in manuscript documents which allows the attribution of them to a particular maker. The present grate is related to a design published I. Taylor in The Stove-Grate Makers Assistant, a Treasury of Original and Fashionable Designs for Bath Stoves, Pennsylvania Stoves, Single & Double Standard Grates , Fret &C by W. Glossop, Stove Grate Maker, 1771, pl. 22.
A group of very similar fire grates in paktong differing in the detail of their ornament and style of fire-back are recorded including one illustrated by W. D. John and Katherine Coombs, Paktong, Newport, 1970, p. 4, one sold Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, April 16-19 1947, lot 98, one sold Christie's, London, June 27, 1985, and another sold Sotheby's, New York, October 12, 2007, lot 204.
W. D. John & Katherine Coombs, Paktong, Newport , 1970
Christopher Gilbert and Anthony Wells-Cole, The Fashionable Fire Place 1660-1840, Leeds, 1985
Keith Pinn, Paktong, The Chinese Alloy in Europe, Woodbridge, 1990
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