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The Victoria & Albert Museum
When this coffee pot was made in 1862, Britain was finding elephants quite fashionable. You see, the second half of the Nineteenth Century saw a series of international exhibitions of displaying fine and decorative arts from across the globe. This served to introduce new themes to the decorative arts. Exotic animals, especially those from India, were especially popular in Britain.
This jolly, but, slightly menacing, elephant was displayed at the London 1862 International Exhibition by the French manufacturer, Sèvres, who described it as “A Coffee Pot Of 'Oriental' inspiration.” The elephant was created by the designer and decorator Marc Louis Solon—known for his imagination and whimsy. This piece allowed Solon to showcase his sense of humor and artistic expertise.