Indian tea set
Kutch silver was found at all the major national and international exhibitions, and was sold by Liberty's in the London store and widely advertised in their catalogues. Little of this vast output was marked, and few pieces remotely approached the quality of the work of Oomersi Mawji and his sons, who added their own highly distinctive designs of animals, flowers and, occasionally, humans, to the densely scrolling foliage that was otherwise characteristic of the region.
Kutch silver was always decorated from the outside, after the piece had been made to the required shape and filled with a mixture of black wax and resin. This mixture absorbed the shock of the hammers and punches used to form the patterns, and was easily removed by heating to melting point when the design was finished, allowing the inside to be smoothed. The outside was then cleaned, and the decorative details burnished.
The V&A has a number of late 19th century silver wares from Kutch, including a set of pieces illustrating the different stages in the manufacture of a typical vessel, but until now had nothing to represent the work of one of the most famous Indian silversmiths of his time.
For further reading, see Wynyard R. T. Wilkinson, Indian Silver 1858-1947. Silver from the Indian Sub-Continent and Burma during Ninety Years of British Rule, London, 1999, especially pages 64-101.