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: Toward a Tea Set by Paul Revere


Mrs. Yves Henry Buhler



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
In each generation of New England goldsmithing, one craftsman appears to have been pre-eminent. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is fortunate to possess outstanding representations of each master's work in wrought silver or plate, to use the then common generic term.In the first generation of native goldsmiths, John Coney has left the greatest quantity and variety of wrought silver, unsurpassed in the quality of its execution. Born in Boston in 1656, he had a working span of more than forty years and was probably an apprentice of the first goldsmiths whose work has survived, the London-born partners, Robert Sanderson and John Hull. Their association may have antedated the establishment of the Massachusetts mint set up by the General Court in 1652 when John Hull recorded in his partly retrospective diary:“. . . upon the occasion of much counterfeit coin brought into the country, and much loss accruing in that respect (and that did occasion a stoppage of trade), the General Court offered a mint to be set up, and to coin it. . . And they made choice of me for that employment; and I chose my friend, Robert Sanderson, to be my partner, to which the Court consented.”As in the Old World, our early goldsmiths served in the capacity of bankers, and the exercise of their trade was a pleasant means of keeping and being able to identify one's spare coins. An early Colonist had written: “I esteem it as well politic as reputable to furnish myself with a handsom cupboard of plate which gives myself the present use and credit, is a sure friend at a dead lift without much loss.” (We can be grateful for that which has not been reconverted into currency) “or a certain portion for my child after my decease.” Especially we are grateful to those who have treasured their inheritance through many generations to awaken in this century an awareness and proper appreciation of our native craft.No other group of Colonial artisans of the seventeenth century worked with the sophistication and skill of the goldsmiths; yet their craftsmanship was incidental to the value of the precious metal used. Wrought silver was a great luxury, unpossessed by many, Richard Garroway's inventory in 1667 listed “in money at John Hull's £ 68-08-2” yet his only household silver was a single spoon. The first New England money was a simple disc of silver stamped “NE” on one side, the amount on the other. The slivers of metal which could be sheared from the rim were of sufficient value, however, that in October, 1652, it was decreed that “all peeces of Money coyned. . . shall have a double ringe on either side” to show of any mutilation, “& a tree in the center . . . ” of these, the Pine Tree shilling, still dated 1652 but probably not minted until a decade later, is the best known today. The listing in Coney's inventory of “an engine for coining” further suggests his association with the mintmasters whose activities probably ceased early in the 1680s under Governor Andros. That their coins were longer in circulation is shown in Thomas Down's inventory in 1709: “In the hands of Jeremiah Dumer Esqr 4 baggs of New Engld money wt. 1154 oz. 3 dwt. 8 at 8 / pr Ounce £461-15.” Dummer is the first documented apprentice of Sanderson and Hull whose work has survived, and was a brother-in-law of Mrs. Coney.The Institute's very broad-brimmed plate by John Coney was selected by John Marshall Phillips as one of “The Hundred Masterpieces of American Silver” in an article in Antiques and is the earliest known example of its kind. Probably no one in the Colonies achieved the satisfaction of Samuel Pepys who wrote in 1666: “We eat with great pleasure, and I enjoyed myself in it; eating in silver plates, and all things mighty rich and handsome about me.” Later in that year he congratulated himself for being able to “be served wholly with silver plates, having two dozen and a half.” From Colonial New England, not a dozen can be counted today including the small ones; James Lloyd in 1693 died possessed of now unknown “three trencher plates,” but even one plate is rare in New England inventories. The wide brim of the Institute's plate and the acanthus cartouche to enclose the coat-of-arms of the British family of Eyre of Suffolk suggest its early period. Its first owner was undoubtedly John Eyre (or Eire) who was distinguished in business and in the affairs of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay. He was the son of Simon, who dies in 1658, and Martha Eyre and married Katherine, daughter of the well-known Boston merchant Captain Thomas Brattle. Two of her brothers were Thomas, treasurer of Harvard College, and the Reverend William, who was a tutor at Harvard before being minister of the First Church in Cambridge. John and Katherine Eyre's first recorded son born in 1682 was named John; he entered Harvard in 1696 but drowned in Fresh Pond in his freshman year. Another son John, of the Harvard class of 1718, was born in 1698; his use on a seal of the arms: argent a chevron ermine between three escallops gules; crest, a demi-lion rampant, is recorded by Charles K. Bolton in An American Armory.In February, 1702, the inventory of John Eyre's estate was filed and contained “402 3/4 oz. Plate, Silver buttons &c. at 7 / per oz. £140-19-3.”Coney used a somewhat freer rendering of an acanthus cartouche to enclose the Dudley arms on a salver with trumpet foot and reeded rims which is also in the collection of The Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The cartouche is very similar to that on the grace-cup he made to be Lt.-Governor William Stoughton's gift to Harvard College, presented in 1701 “pro more academarium in Anglia,” with the addition of a motto scroll on the Dudley piece. Both pieces bear the mark of Coney's initials with a device in a heart-shaped punch which he used until about 1705. Stamped twice on the Eyre plate, it appears on all of his sugar boxes, on one of his monteiths, and on two caudle cups chased with cherubs and foliage. One of these caudle cups, owned by the Autocrat of the Breakfast Table, was described in 1848 as “hammered by an Antwerp smith,” for thus completely our proud craft had been forgotten only a generation after the death of the patriot goldsmith, Paul Revere.The Minneapolis salver belonged to Governor Joseph Dudley (1647-1720), seventh child of the emigrating Thomas, who married Rebecca, daughter of Edward Tyng. He left “to Rebecka my dear Wife my Servants, Household goods, Plate and two hundred Pounds in money. . . my Mansion house. . . and gardens.” Their fourth and eldest surviving son, Paul (1675-1751) died without issue leaving his widow, née Lucy Wainwright. She bequeathed in 1756 “to my nephew Joseph Dudley his father's picture & the pictures of Prince George & of Melancton, & a large silver salver & silver-headed cane that were his grandfather's.”Coney is the first New Englander known to have fashioned pots for the tea, coffee and chocolate brought to England by the East India Company within a decade of each other in the mid-seventeenth century. One of his two chocolate pots and his tea pot bear the later mark of his initials crowned with a small rabbit (or coney, as a rebus on his name) below in a shield. This appears on the tankard in the Institute's collection with the midband and domed cover which, again, he seems to have been the first to fashion in the Colonies. On the bezel of this tankard he used a second mark of his initials in a small rectangle, found on earlier small pieces. Thus he sometimes followed the Old World custom of placing a mark on the covers of pieces, as one finds a mark even on handles of London tankards. He cut a seal for Harvard College in 1693 and fashioned an inkstand for Governor Belcher. He made a simpler grace-cup and faceted cast candlesticks which were presented by pupils at Harvard to their tutor, Henry Flynt. Sewall records purchases from Coney and the list of patrons even from his surviving silver shows that he worked for the leaders of his day. He fashioned pieces for churches in Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire as well as in many Massachusetts towns. It was but natural that a Huguenot youth coming from France, via the Island of Guernsey, should be apprenticed to this master as Apollos Rivoire was in 1715/6.Born in 1702 to a well-to-do village family in Southern France, Rivoire's apprenticeship was longer than the required seven years for, at Coney's death in 1722, “Paul Rivoire's time, about Three years and half as Indenture £30,” indicated the nine-year term that Robert Sanderson had served in London. Added to the inventory, which contains a detailed listing of his tools, is “Cash receiv'd for Pa' Rivoire's Time, more than it was prized at £10.” The Huguenot was listed for a time as Rivoire or Revere but it was as the latter that the birth of his first son and namesake was recorded in 1735.Rivoire's craftsmanship was competent but his master's place in the craft was taken by his contemporary, Jacob Hurd (1703-1758), although John Burt (1682/3-1745), who is believed to have been an apprentice of Coney, was his successor for a few years in making plate for Harvard's tutors. The Minneapolis tea pot, bearing Burt's mark, confirms the attribution to him of a similar but unmarked one given to Nicholas Sever, tutor at Harvard, and engraved “Ex dono Pupillorum 1728.” This suggests a date for the Minneapolis piece which has its engraving in a style continuing into the 1730s. Although John Guillim's A Display of Heraldry in its sixth edition in 1724 still illustrated the acanthus cartouches used by Coney, the next generation in Boston was using quite different heraldic designs. The British coat-of-arms on this pot is described by Guillim: “He beareth Party per Chevron Argent and Azure, a Lyon rampant counter-chang'd by the Name of Giles. This Coat did belong to Edward Giles of Bowden in the County of Devon, who married Mary daughter & Heir of Edmund Drue. . .” and Burt's cartouche with scrolls and diapered ground has a helmet supporting the crest of a lion's gamb holding a branch. The bellflower below the cartouche, and pendent from the foliate-engraved shoulder, was to continue a popular decorative device throughout the 18th century. Another engraver added an inscription to the base: “Mary Loring. The Gift of her Father John Gyles Esq 1748.” Nathaniel Loring and Mary Gyles of Roxbury had filed marriage intentions in Boston in May, 1747.John Burt had three sons who followed the craft, Samuel and William, whose span of activity was very short, must have been largely responsible for the training of Benjamin, only sixteen at his father's death. Benjamin Burt (1729-1805) had a working career almost paralleling the patriot Revere's.That Jacob Hurd (1703-1758) was an apprentice of John Edwards, is suggested by the similarity of his work to that of Edwards' sons. Hurd, with his sons, was the subject of a monograph in 1938 which listed two hundred and ninety-six of his pieces. Others have appeared since, including the Minneapolis small silver. Although Blount's Glossographia in 1661 had defined a salver as “a new fashioned peece of wrought plate, broad an flat, with a foot underneath, and is used in giving Beer, or other liquid thing, to save the Carpit and Cloathes from drops," the single foot of Coney's went out of style in the second quarter of the eighteenth century and the low, four-footed servers continued to be called salvers. Three large salvers, four small and intermediate, and one without size were listed in the 1938 monograph. Five of them bear the mark of the one in Minneapolis which Hurd used after 1740. He had more marks than the majority of goldsmiths; six are recorded by Hollis French in the monograph and a seventh is probably his. By some of them, Hurd's work may by more closely dated than Coney's. His cartouches for heraldic bearings and engraved motifs are also usually assignable to specific decades. He made a snuff box of gold for Lt.Governor William Dummer which is thus datable in the 1730s. By it we are reminded that, although workers in precious metals preferred to call themselves goldsmiths, gold then bore approximately the relation to silver that it does today and it is reasonable that the lesser metal was more frequently worked. Its scarcity may also be attributable to the facts that gold is more subject to wear and was a more tempting metal to remelt for currency.The engraved motifs on the rim of Hurd's salver in Minneapolis are found on tea pots. The corner rosettes by themselves were long used to ornament gold sleeve buttons, now more numerous in inventories than in survival.Like Coney, Hurd fashioned grace-cups for public presentation and private ownership, made silver for churches in New Hampshire and Connecticut as well as Massachusetts, and added to his repertoire cream pots and sugar bowls. His public commissions included the mace, in the form of an oar, for the Admiralty Court of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay, which was engraved with his sovereign's arms and true heraldic supporters on one side of the blade, with an anchor on the other. Hurd fashioned the only known tea kettle from Colonial New England and left a dozen chafing-dishes in two styles, with simpler feet and straighter supports than on the Minneapolis example by his apprentice and son-in-law, Daniel Henchman (1730-1775).Henchman is best known for his plaintive advertisement and his monteith for the President of Dartmouth College. The monteith was engraved by Henchman's brother-in-law, Nathaniel Hurd (1730-1778) who even in his own day was better known as an engraver than as a goldsmith. Nathaniel Hurd sat for his portrait to John Singleton Copley, being depicted with the aforementioned 1724 edition of Guillim's Display of Heraldry at his elbow. By its date, the volume had probably belonged to Hurd's father too who, with the casualness permissible and practiced by Colonial craftsman, was not always careful to follow established rules in denoting tinctures of a coat but rendered them sometimes with no color indication whatsoever, as many of them were outlined in the margin of Guillim's descriptive text.Older by five years than Paul Revere, Daniel Henchman and Nathanial Hurd were competent goldsmiths, and Hurd a superior engraver was well. Yet due perhaps to his unique part for a goldsmith in the affairs of his country, more of the Patriot's pre-Revolutionary work is known that of any of Jacob Hurd's apprentices; and Revere, working for a half century, left wares which give him as important a place in the craft as in the role of patriot. In an undated letter written about 1782 to a cousin, Mathias Rivoire, in France, Revere recounted: “With the utmost cheerfulness I communicate to you what you so kindly enquire after my situation in life. My Father was a Goldsmith, he died in the year 1754, he left no estate, but he left a good name and seven children, three sons and four daughters. I was the eldest son. I learned the trade of him and have carried on the business ever since.”By Boston regulation, an artisan was required to be twenty-one years of age and to have served a seven year apprenticeship before being permitted to establish his own shop. The exception in the New Country as in the Old was the provision that an apprentice might carry on his deceased master's shop for the widow. Thus Revere, at nineteen, could continue the business for his mother's support; and had started his younger brother, Thomas, in the craft. Rivoire's third son, John, learned his trade as a tailor.Paul Revere is known to have used one of his father's stamps to mark his wares, but soon the initial of their given name was deleted from this commonly used stamp although a pellet continued to precede the surname cut in a rectangular die. Rivoire's first stamp, like those of his master, had consisted of initials. John Burt was among the first New Englanders to use his surname in a mark, and by dint of the brevity of his given name used both in a two-line stamp. Jacob Hurd followed suit in using his full name for one of the two marks that he used throughout his career but the Patriot's surname sufficed except for the small mark of his initials in script which he used mostly on small pieces.In 1756, Paul Revere left Boston to serve his country for a year as Second Lieutenant in the Seven Years' War against the French at Crown Point on Lake Champlain in New York and the first commission that we know him to have had on his return was to fashion a church cup based on a seventeenth-century French model. In 1758 the Reverend Thomas Prince, pastor of the church for forty years, had written in his will: “I give to the Old South Church a Piece of Plate of the form and Height of that last presented to ye sd Church. I would have it plain and to hold a full pint.” Since the will was written only a month before it was proved, he undoubtedly knew that a French chalice was to be copied. Made by Adrian Daveau of Paris in 1692, the separate cup within its calyx of acanthus leaves is engraved “The Gift of Mr Anthony Bracket to the South Church in Boston 1758.”The French church, to which, apparently, the Revere family never belonged, had been in School Street where Mr. Brackett conducted his Cromwell's Head Tavern. The French Church has been dissolved about a decade earlier when the Huguenot Meeting House was taken for the followers of George Whitefield; and it is reasonable to suppose that Revere's model had belonged to it. For the rest of his career, Revere's borrowings were to be of English styles.The preference for plainness dominated most of Revere's work, but a client who wished an embossed piece could commission it from him as successfully as elsewhere. In 1761, Revere began a somewhat desultory keeping of accounts which gives a basis for study of his work not known for other New England goldsmiths. A single entry for Anthony Brackett was a credit in 1762 “by cash received £4-2-4.” Buckles and mending buttons were charged to his son Joshua who, on the death of the widow Brackett in 1768, assumed the family innkeeping. Revere engraved a bill-head for the tavern in use at least from 1771 through 1785 but it is not charged in the daybooks. Below Brackett's credit is a debit to Mr. Benjamin Greene, himself a goldsmith:“To a Silver Sugar Dish wt. 13 oz. 19:0 £4-17-8
To the making Sugar Dish 1-12
6- 9-8”The next day, part payment was made by seventeen yards of “check, China Handkers,” and two shillings in cash. However little we know of the completed transaction, we know the sugar bowl. Its weight tallies and it is engraved with the Chandler coat-of-arms and “B Greene to L Chandler.” It is in the pear form of the tea pot (“double-bellied” is the contemporary term) seen in the curve and reflections of his fingers in the portrait of Revere by John Singleton in The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. With its matching cream pot, it is one of the rare survivors of Revere's “chased” or embossed work. Only one tea pot in the style of the portrait's is known of his work and it, too, is embossed. A Boston patriot who was shortly to take part in the Tea Party might have been reluctant to make them. The engraving tools and sand cushion of his portrait, wherein the polished mahogany workbench must have been artistic license, are indicative of the work he was to continue into the next century. On November 2, 1762, Revere entered in his Daybook “This day I hired a house of Docr. John Clark. . . at Sixteen Pounds lawfull Money a Year” and six years later made for the doctor's estate “11 Death's head Rings gold.” His advertisement of that year: “Whereas many Persons are so unfortunate as to lose their fore Teeth by Accident, and otherwise, to their great Detriment, not only in looks, but speaking both in Public and Private:
This is to inform all such, that they may have them replaced with false ones, that looks as well as the Natural, and answers the End of Speaking to all intents by PAUL REVERE, Goldsmith, near the head of Dr. Clark's Wharf, Boston,-All Persons who have had false Teeth fixt by Mr. John Baker, Surgeon-Dentist, and they have got loose (as they will in Time) may have them fastened by the above, who learnt the Method of fixing them from Mr. Baker.” is borne out in the daybooks by charges of “fastning teeth” and pots of dentifrice.
From a Captain Joseph Goodwin in 1764, Revere received silver to the value of £76-10. Therefrom he made a tea pot, sugar dish and cream pot—the only three-piece tea set charged at one time until the 1760s. More of Captain Goodwin's silver was used for pairs of canns, casters and salts. “Silver wasted in refining £3” reminds us that Revere was responsible for all the steps in preparing silver “of the just alloy,” as he had decreed in the seventeenth century. Two years later, Captain Goodwin added a coffee pot to his purchases, and was charged for “making a silver foot and rim to a shell 18/4.” The weight of the silver at three ounces six penny-weight does not suggest that the shell made a very large bowl.Revere's patrons for spoons outnumbered all others and today his spoons are still in best supply; buckles in the daybooks area the next most numerous item of which, however, only a few have survived. Their frailty is implicit in such entries as “To an odd silver Buckle,” “To making a fellow to your Buckell”—his spelling was more casual than consistent; and “mending shoe buckles.” Other mending was done on items ranging from gold buttons to porringers and punch bowls, and from a “new foot to a cream jug” to riveting china. He several times charged for new lids to old tankards, one wonders if it was to make an old tankard into a newer style. In the half century of his craftsmanship, the increasingly high dome of the tankard lid was the most notable change in the long-popular vessel which early in the nineteenth century lost favor.Revere included a number of fellow goldsmiths among his patrons but we have no way of knowing if any of them worked for him. In 1762, he made “2 small scolop'd Salvers,” a chafing-dish, pair of canns, silver frame for a picture and a silver Indian pipe for Nathaniel Hurd, whose credits were by silver or cash. In ‘63 he made a snuff box and mended a picture frame for him, let us hope not the one he had so recently fashioned. For the artist, John Singleton Copley, in this year and until ‘67 he was making similar charges: “Picture frame,” “gold case for a picture,” “gold setting for a Picture” and “Gold Braclett.” A too rapid reading of the entries led to Revere's being recorded as a carver of the wooden frames for Copley's large paintings, but the amounts of gold or silver clearly indicate the framing of miniatures and he need not add whittling to his manifold activities. Similar debits were made to a lesser-known artist, Richard Jennys, and occasionally a sitter for a portrait ordered his frame directly.John Coburn, Boston goldsmith, in 1762 bought “two silver chased cream pots,” had engraving done on a variety of objects and in ‘73 was charged for “a silver frame & lamp 20 oz.” and for engraving arms on a tea kettle and tankard, as well as crests on spoons. A well-nigh incredible entry to him in ‘74 “To engraving crests and 2 letters on 42 dishes & plates” suggests we should revise our ideas on plates in Colonial times were there any trace of these items. In ‘84, Coburn and Minott each marked three plates for the Brattle Street Church which are known and were engraved by different hands. For Samuel Minott, Revere made “two silver waiters chased,” “chased sugar dish” and “large silver salver” in 1762; his entries for chased pieces are from the early years as are the surviving pieces in this style.In 1764, Revere charged “100 Hatt Bills” to Nathaniel Fosdick the hatter, as he was to continue to engrave plates and print “Hatt bills” throughout the years of his daybooks. In ‘67, “one half of the Engraving a Plate for a Perspective View of the colleges” was charged to Captain Joseph Chadwick; the well-known Harvard scene was of the only college then in the metropolitan Boston area. For Captain Bernard Romans, Revere engraved “a Plate for a map of East Florida” with a charge for the copper, for preparing the plate, for a engraving and for a wooden case and cartage. For Edes and Gill and for Isaiah Thomas he engraved illustrations frequently traceable to English prints for magazines and almanacs and mastheads for newspapers; to the former he charged “engraving 5 Coffings for Massacre” and “printing 200 Impressions of Massacre” about the plagiarizing of which he had correspondence with Henry Pelham. These were for the most part not executed with the care lavished on his engraving on silver. Seven types of his Masonic notifications and certificates are known; he also entered charges for a variety of Masonic jewels and insignia, including punch ladles for lodges, some of which survive. His trade cards for various businessmen, including the well-known clockmaker, Simon Willard, are executed with considerable more elaboration than his own late one of his bell and cannon foundry. To his cousin Mathias, Revere wrote: “You desire me to sent you a seal with the arms of the Family; enclosed is one, which I pray you to accept of; it is one of my own engraving (for that is part of my trade) which I hope will be acceptable to you.” The silver seal was acknowledged, and his arms appear on an unsigned bookplate with his name. A few engraved bookplates, signed P. Revere Sc. in the lower corner, were charged and executed with the care and variety of cartouches of his armorial bearings on silver.“Turtle shell Jackett buttons,” “turtle shell ring lin'd with gold,” “silver handles to two Shells for spoons,” and a “sugar dish out of an Ostrich egg” were charged in the early ‘60s; they are unknown today and thus more intriguing than the canns, casters, salts, porringers, tankards and tea things which have survived. These are of careful craftsmanship and usually in simple styles, based on those imported pieces which Daniel Henchman had bewailed.Revere's “butter cupps” and “butter boats” were charged in pairs; many are known of the three-footed form common to his colleagues and made both before and after the Revolution. Seemingly uniquely his are those, presumably pre-Revolutionary although none can be identified with a ledger entry, which were adapted from Bow and other English porcelain sauceboats of the 1760s, and have a spirally gadrooned, rather high elliptical foot. His bowl presented to William Shepard by the Militia of Springfield in 1787 was surely inspired by the Chinese export porcelain bowls then being brought directly to this country. The Sons of Liberty bowl, often attributed to a ceramic model, has too much curve to its sides, and a moulded foot; it follows closely the contour of a bowl made five years earlier by another Boston goldsmith, William Homes, as a presentation piece to Captain Thomas Dawes. Perhaps it was the success of these ceramic forms which led him at the close of his goldsmithing career to adopt another popular English form, the Liverpool pottery pitchers which are as much associated with his name today as are his fluted silver tea things, also of eminently English inspiration.Revere's only recorded candlesticks, snuffers and snuff dish were made in the early ‘60s for a prominent family of Huguenot descent, as many French names are among his patrons. They were bequeathed by Zachariah Johonnot to his Loyalist son, and have not yet come to public notice in England, where they were presumably taken. The Johonnot arms are on a flagon and unusual footed baptismal basin given to the Hollis Street Church, now owned by the First Church in Boston. Epes Sargent, another wealthy patron, presented a christening basin and cups to the Gloucester church; one of the latter is unmarked but identified by its daybook charge. To doctors, Revere charged for silver spatulas and probes and “surgin's instruments.”The temporary cessation of Revere's daybook entries bears out his letter to Mathias: “I. . . have carried on the business ever since; until the year 1775 when the American Revolution began; from that time till May 1780, I have been in the Government service as Lieut. Col. of an Artillery regiment—the time for which that was raised then expired and I thought it best to go to my business again, which I now carry on, and under which I trade some to Holland. I did intend to have gone wholly in to trade but the principal part of my interest I lent to Government, which I have not been able to draw out; so must content myself till I can do better. I am in middling circumstances, and very well off for a tradesman. . .” (The italics are the author's, in contemplation of the loss so nearly suffered.)In the war interval, Revere engraved paper money for the Colony of Massachusetts Bay which very soon became the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Revere took longer rides than the famous one whose objective was Lexington and Concord; his trip to the powder mill in Philadelphia led to setting one cup in Canton, Massachusetts, where eventually he was to desert silversmithing for his newfound ability that “could make Copper so malleable as to hammer it hot. I farther found that it was a Secret that lay in very few Breasts in England. I determined if possible to find the Secret & have the pleasure to say, that after a great many tryals and considerable expense I gained it.” In 1792 he cast his first church bell, in partnership with his son Paul whose name appears in the second daybook with a check-mark to show which was his work and which his father's.Inasmuch as so much of Revere's outstanding work was accomplished after he had intended “to have gone wholly into trade,” we may be thankful for his generosity to the Government. In 1780 his charges were resumed, and in ‘83 he began his second and larger ledger. In 1784 he charged rent to Joseph Dunkerly who advertised “his Profession of Painting in Miniature at his house in the North Square” and limned a small portrait of the second Mrs. Revere.Revere continued to work for his fellow goldsmiths; Nathaniel Austin put his own mark on “Scolopd Tea Spoons” each charged at fourpence more than a plain one. Caleb Beale had not yet moved to Boston from Hingham when Revere made him a cream pot. Stephen Emery in 1785 was charged for a silver tea pot and a silver salver, in ‘88 for a tea pot and “silver stand for do.” If the salver was a stand for the first pot, it is the earliest recorded by Revere, who in ‘85 was still making flat-based tea pots without their very useful protecting stands. His charges to his son-in-law, Thomas Eayres, included plated bridle buckles; over the years he had done extensive business in plated saddlery. From John Brown he accepted for credit a silver chalice weighing thirty-seven ounces ten pennyweight and an old salt which, at twenty ounces, must have been a ceremonial one of some importance. The debits against these old pieces were for spoons, a punch strainer, cleaning and burnishing a pair of canns, mending, cleaning and burnishing a tankard, a pair of silver shoe buckles and a pair of sugar tongs.Revere's first post-war tea pot, at fourteen ounces fifteen pennyweight, was lighter by several ounces than his earlier ones, and now the charges include an excise tax on the silver. The first one that we can identify was made in 1782 for Thomas Hichborn and weighed seventeen ounces. It is in drum-form with a band of gadrooning at the base and top, a concave shoulder and low-domed cover with matching gadrooning and a prominent right angle hinge. The finial is a ball, the straight spout fluted. In the next year, Revere made another in this form with, in place of gadrooning, his first proven use of lines of beading. The finial is a pine cone and both pots have wooden handles charged at six shillings instead of the pre-war three and six. With this pot Revere charged a cream pot, with almost the curve of his double-bellied pots; gadrooning is on the wide-lipped rim but beading on the splayed foot. The script monogram of Moses and Rachel Hays is engraved in a wreath on the pourer's side of the tea pot and front of the cream pot.A tea pot of the same weight was charged in October, 1785, to Dr. John Warren who had bought a sugar dish in June, and was to buy a coffee pot in ‘91. This tea pot is in the elliptical form which was to be popular for the rest of the century; its sides are straight and edges ornamented with beading. The charge for its making and engraving now exceeds the cost of the silver; but it is engraved with a coat-of-arms on one side, a script monogram on the other, both in bright-cut medallions with elaborate festoons and floral garlands. No stand was charged with it, nor with Samuel Dilloway's in 1787. A tea pot engraved with the maiden initials of a woman married in that year has a stand that is identical to one made for Captain Moses Brown of Newburyport in 1789. The bill for the latter is extant although the stand is missing; and the bill and daybook entries correspond, with a credit not entered in the book by silver and cash on the bill. This pot is elliptical but panelled at the ends; and its stand presumably followed the contour of the pot, as does the one made for Hanna Carter.It is interesting that, with all the changes in his tea pots, Revere's coffee pots were reasonably stable. Before the Revolution they were “single-bellied,” their sides curving a little more than those of the coffee pot bought by Benjamin Faneuil in London in 1751. After the war, those made for Paul Dudley Sargent in 1781 and for Dr. John Warren ten years later were in the “double-bellied” form of the tea pot in Revere's portrait. Only one truly classical pot has been published, though in the ‘90s Revere was making the new-fashioned urns, prevalent in England from the ‘70s.In May, 1790, Mr. John Duballet had a tea pot, sugar dish and cream pot—the first since 1764 to be charged together. Although the style was unspecified, we may judge it to have been an elliptical one, as he had also a stand for his tea pot. In the next month, for Captain John Beach, Revere made the first recorded “fluted and Engraved Teapot,” its weight unspecified, its total cost £12-12, and with it only a cream pot. The next year, Mrs. Hannah Rowe had a silver tea pot and a “Silver Sugar dish wt. 15 £5. Making £3-12 Engraving £1-16.”With her tea pot today is a fluted elliptical piece, on four small feet, as might have been on the missing stand, and a bail handle hinged above rather large plaques affixed to the ends of the body. The cover has the low dome and finial of the tea pot cover. Was it her preference, or an unwieldy sugar dish of which Revere fashioned no more? For Dr. John Warren, we know he had already made one of his eminently successful “sugar urns” or “vases”—Revere used the terms apparently indiscriminately—though its sides were plain. Mrs. Rowe had a tea urn in that contour, though her other pieces were fluted; Burrell Carnes in '93 was charged for coffee urn similar except that its sides are fluted. Revere apparently pleased his patrons even in nomenclature.In 1792, Revere's most complete tea set with its caddy was charged to Mr. John Templeman, a service which, divided by inheritance, has most fortuitously been reassembled. In the first Boston Directory in 1789, two occupations are given after one name: “Templeman, John, broker, opposite N. E. corner of the State-House, dentist, South Latin Schoolstreet.” The published records of the Essex County Registry of Deeds suggest that one man held both positions for in 1783, John and Mehitable (Bacon) Lawless conveyed property to John Templeman of Salem, surgeon-dentist, presumably their son-in-law since, in 1797, John Templeman of Georgetown, Maryland, merchant, and his wife, Mehitable, conveyed the property again. In the published Boston records (the originals long since destroyed by fire), the marriage of John Templeman to Mehitable Lovelass of Salem took place on March 8, 1783, and misreading of early handwriting is understandable. Correspondence in 1926 tells of “a complete silver tea set made by Paul Revere and purchased from him directly by our great-grandfather John Templeman of Georgetown.” And the pieces were found in such distant states as Maryland and Montana.Illustrations of the set and of the daybook entry for it show its completeness, unique than and now. Joseph Blake who in the same year bought the only other recorded tea caddy, had not the pieces to accompany it nor is it known today. The Minneapolis tea shell is the only one recorded in the daybook and, on the advice of a collector of these caddy spoons, the only American one known. Its circular bowl is in the pattern of the “scolopd” spoons made for Nathaniel Austin and other patrons. That the tiny key for the caddy has survived almost two centuries is well-nigh incredible but happily true. Both the forms and the engraving of the service have English prototypes, but the time-lag between Old and New World productions was slight. The tasseled drapery was a favorite motif of Revere's. He used it on the fluted sugar urn made for his own family's use; it is at its best when thus complemented with the narrow bands of bright-cut ornament. Circular and oval medallions on the stands and twice on the sugar bowl enclose the script monogram “JMT.” It is unusual to have the triangular form of block initials on the cream pot handle and tea pot base. Joseph Cooke of Philadelphia advertised that he engraved “in a Cypher. . . after the famous Lockington's London Patent Cypher book.” Revere's engraving at this period also probably stems from Bowles' New and Complete Book of Cyphers: Designed and Engraved on Twenty-four Copper-Plates by John Lockington. . . published 1777,” where each plate is bordered by circles enclosing two-letter script monograms. In his native city, this design of engraving is said to be Revere's.It was in 1793, and Revere's last recorded activity for Mr. Templeman, that the silver stand for the tea caddy was made. One suspects it was more for looks than necessity since the elliptical pieces on stands complement the sugar bowl and cream pot, each on its splayed foot and square plinth. The punch strainer of the first charge was Revere's last entry in this form; he had recorded only seven over the years and not that number have been published today.In 1793, Burrell Carnes had his above-mentioned coffee urn, a tea pot and stand, sugar urn and “cream pitcher flute and Engr” but the last disappeared more than a century ago, to judge by the maker of its replacement. In January, 1795, William Shattuck had a “fluted and engravd teapot,” a stand for it and a sugar dish, each slightly costlier for the silver than for Revere's workmanship; for Shattuck's “fluted cream pitcher” the silver was a little less. For his silver coffee pot, five pounds less than the value of the silver was charged for the making and engraving. In June of the following year, Mr. Charles Sigourney had a tea pot, sugar bowl and silver cream bucket—no stand was charged for this pot—and neither of these sets has been published beyond their appearance in the daybook. Only one other complete set was to be recorded, again with a cream bucket and cream ladle, and again unknown.In 1796, Revere changed his mark, dropping the pellet which precedes his surname on these pieces; and ten years later dated the last silver piece known to bear this stamp. The frigate “Constitution” and the dome of the Massachusetts State House had been sheathed with his rolled copper. In 1809, Paul Revere & Son furnished materials for the boilers of Messrs. Livingston's and Fulton's steam ferry boats; but now the surviving son was Joseph Warren Revere. In 1818, Revere had survived two wives; of his sixteen children, evenly divided between them, only five survived him. It was said of Revere then, “Cool in thought, ardent in action, he was well adapted to form plans, and to carry them into successful execution.”Mrs. Yves Henry Buhler is Assistant Curator of Decorative Arts in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She is a well-known authority in the field of American Silver and has written extensively on the subject of various publications. She is familiar with the Institute's collection, having prepared the text for the catalogue of the exhibition French, English and American Silver, held at The Minneapolis Institute of Arts in 1956 in honor of the former Director, Mr. Russell A. Plimpton.Referenced Works of Art
  1. John Coney, American, 1656-1722. Eyre Plate. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James Ford Bell, 1934, 34.6.
  2. John Coney, American, 1656-1722. Dudley Salver. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James Ford Bell, 1933, 33.5.
  3. John Coney, American, 1656-1722. Covered Grace-Cup. Given by Lieutenant-Governor William Stoughton to Harvard College 1701.
  4. John Coney, American, 1656-1722. Covered Tankard. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James Ford Bell, 1932, 32.21.7.
  5. John Burt, American, 1692/3-1745. Gyles Tea Pot. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James Ford Bell, 1947, 47.60.
  6. Jacob Hurd, American, 1703-1758. Salver. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James Ford Bell, 1941, 41.17.
  7. Daniel Henchman, American, 1730-1775. Chafing-Dish. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James Ford Bell, 1940, 40.7.
  8. Adrian Daveau, French, c. 1656-1694. Church Cup. Collection of The Old South Church, Boston.
  9. Paul Revere, American, 1735-1818. Church Cup. Collection of The Old Church, Boston.
  10. John Singleton Copley, American, 1738-1815. Portrait of Paul Revere. Collection of The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
  11. Paul Revere, American, 1735-1818. View of Harvard College, c. 1767. Collection, Harvard University Archives.
  12. Paul Revere, American, 1735-1818. Templeman Tea Set, 1792/3. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James Ford Bell, 1960. (The Stand for the tea caddy was made for Mr. Templeman in 1793, a year after the completion of the rest of the set.)
  13. Templeman Entries in Revere's Daybook, April, 17, 1792. Collection, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston.Suggested Additional ReadingC. Louise Avery, American Silver of the XVII & XVIII Centuries Based on the Clearwater Collection, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1920.Charles Knowles Bolton, An American Armory, Boston, F. W. Faxon, 1927.Clarence S. Brigham, Paul Revere's Engravings, Worcester, American Antiquarians' Society, 1954.Mrs. Yves Henry Buhler, “Colonial Furniture and Silver,” Antiques, 51:36-9, January, 1947.Mrs. Yves Henry Buhler, French, English and American Silver, Minneapolis, The Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts, 1956.Mrs. Yves Henry Buhler, “John Edwards, Goldsmith, and his Progeny,” Antiques, 59:288-92, April, 1951.Mrs. Yves Henry Buhler, “Master and Apprentice; New England Silversmithing,” Antiques, 68:455-60, November, 1955.Mrs. Yves Henry Buhler, “Pair of Candlesticks by John Noyes, 1695-1700,” Boston Museum Bulletin, 53, No. 292:25-9, 1955.Mrs. Yves Henry Buhler, “Pair of Cups by Paul Revere,” Boston Museum Bulletin, 50:56-9, October, 1952.Mrs. Yves Henry Buhler, “Philadelphia Silver given in Memory of Dr. George Clymer,” Boston Museum Bulletin, 57, No. 307:21-32, 1959.Mrs. Yves Henry Buhler, “Recent Accessions in Boston,” Antiques, 73:50-3, January, 1958.Mrs. Yves Henry Buhler, “Silversmiths' Art in America,” Art in America,44:52-5, Spring, 1956.Mrs. Yves Henry Buhler, “Some Engraved American Silver,” Antiques, 48-268-71, 348-52, November-December, 1945.Mrs. Yves Henry Buhler, “Two Angular New Englanders,” Antiques, 51:195, March, 1947.Marshall B. Davidson, Live in America, I, Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1951.William Dunlap, A History of the Rise and Progress of Design in the United States, I, Boston, C. E. Goodspeed and Co., 1918.Robert Ensko, American Silversmiths and Their Marks, New York, Robert Ensko, Inc., 1948.Esther Forbes, Paul Revere and the World He Lived In, Boston, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1942.Hollis French, Jacob Hurd and His Sons, Nathaniel and Benjamin, Silversmiths, 1939, Privately Published.Elbridge Henry Goss, The Life of Colonel Paul Revere, Boston, Cupples, 1891.Oliver W. Larkin, Art and Life in America, New York, Rinehart & Co., Inc., 1949.Metropolitan Museum of Art, Paul Revere, a Picture Book, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944.Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Colonel Silversmiths, Masters and Apprentices, Boston, 1956.John Marshall Phillips, American Silver, New York, Chanticleer Press, 1949.William H. Pierson Jr. & Martha Davidson, Arts of the Unites States a Pictorial Survey, New York, McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., 1960.Edward Wenham, The Practical Book of American Silver, Philadelphia, J. B. Lippincott Co., 1949.
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Source: Mrs. Yves Henry Buhler, "Toward a Tea Set by Paul Revere," <i>The Minneapolis Institute of Arts Bulletin</i> 50, no. 2 (June, 1961): 5-24.
Rights: ©MIA
Added to Site: March 10, 2009