Maker: Paul Revere, American, 1735?1818
Mabel Brady Garvan Collection
In making his fluted teapots, Paul Revere successfully wed technology and the aesthetics of the then-emerging neoclassical style. The flutes evoke a classical column and the patera-shaped plan alludes to another classical decorative device while the flutes, or creases, add strength and stability to the sheet-silver walls of the vessel. The engraving is used imaginatively with tassels and swags played off against the fabric-like creases. The design of the teapot probably did not originate with Revere and may have been suggested to him by wares he imported from England. English examples identical in almost every detail are known. Revere exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit displayed by many Americans in the early years of political independence following the American Revolution. During his military service from 1775 to 1780, Revere had ceased silver-smithing and his son, Paul, ran the shop in his absence. By 1783 the two were working as Paul Revere & Son, and were branching out into retailing goods including imported silver-plated ware, hardware, pewter, and other products to meet the demands of the consumer society that had emerged in the late eighteenth century. In addition to silver-smithing and retailing, Revere also established a foundry to smelt iron and brass in 1788. By 1800 Revere left oversight of the silver-smithing shop to his son, Paul, and focused his energies on his copper rolling mill in Canton, Massachusetts. In the post-Revolution years new fabrication methods boosted the silver-smithing shop's productivity. Revere acquired a plating mill in 1785 that enabled him to produce sheet silver, the material used in the fabrication of this teapot. An analysis of the shop's daybooks indicates that the number and type of goods produced changed dramatically in the years following the Revolution. Fewer hollowware forms were produced, but the flatware forms proliferated and many more objects were made overall. Wares for serving tea predominated with fifty-five teapots recorded between 1779 and 1797. Standardization of forms and new technology fueled the increase in production.
This object is on view at the gallery.
The Massachusetts Colonial Loan Exhibit at the Jamestown Ter-Centennial Exposition, 16071907, exh. cat. (Boston: Wright and Potter Printing Company, 1907), no. 477.
John Marshall Phillips, Masterpieces of New England Silver, 16501800: An Exhibition Held June 18 through September 10, 1939, Gallery of Fine Arts, Yale University (Boston: Harvard University Press, 1939), 74, no. 171.
An Introduction to Silver: Catalogue of an Exhibition on View Oct. 31, 1953May 9, 1954, exh. cat. (Newark, N.J.: Newark Museum, 1953), n.p., no. 124.
Masterpieces of American Silver: The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, January 15February 14, 1960, exh. cat. (Richmond, Va.: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, 1960), 63, no. 113.
Kathryn C. Buhler and Graham Hood, American Silver in the Yale University Art Gallery, 2 vols. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1970), vol. 1, pp. 19495, no. 253, ill.
Graham Hood, American Silver: A History of Style, 16501900 (New York: Praeger, 1971), 166, 17071, fig. 182.
Judith Bernstein et al., The Eye of the Beholder: Fakes, Replicas, and Alterations in American Art, ed. Gerald W. R. Ward, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1977), 69, fig. 92.
Gerald W. R. Ward and Barbara M. Ward, eds., Silver in American Life: Selections from the Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale University, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1979), 43, 164, no. 172, ill.
Handbook of the Collections (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 107, ill.
Patricia E. Kane, Colonial Massachusetts Silversmiths and Jewelers (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1998), 838.
Helen A. Cooper et al., Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2008), 208, no. 111, ill.
John Stuart Gordon et al., A Modern World: American Design from the Yale University Art Gallery, 19201950 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2011), 22021, no. 144a.
Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery's complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.