A Revere Revelation: A ‘New’ Teapot by Paul Revere the Patriot

The Revere Teapot, from the NHS collections.
The Revere Teapot, from the NHS collections.

The Newport Historical Society’s world renowned collection includes many significant items, including a teapot made by Boston silversmith Paul Revere. Given in 1998 by Frances Raymond, the teapot descended in the Clarke family of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Newport businessmen and bankers.

The Raymond gift of documents, artifacts, and costumes was so large and so valuable that it took several years to catalogue the items. A staff member discovered this beautiful silver teapot marked 'Revere' in a box that contained the final few objects. Unknown to scholars until its discovery at NHS, the rococo style teapot is one of a fairly small number of examples that resemble the pot Revere holds in his famous portrait painted in 1768 by John Singleton Copley. 

On Thursday March 6, 2014 at 5:30pm Gerald W.R. Ward will discuss the Society’s teapot during the lecture A Revere Revelation: A ‘New’ Teapot by Paul Revere the Patriot. Ward, who is Senior Consulting Curator and the Katharine Lane Weems Senior Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture Emeritus at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, will place the teapot in the context of Revere’s work as Boston’s leading silversmith of the day and of the turbulent times of Boston in the 1760s, when many initial steps were taken leading to the American Revolution in which Revere would play a prominent part. 

Gerald W.R. Ward is a 1971 graduate of Harvard College and has his Ph.D. in American Studies from Boston University. He has worked at the Museum of Fine Arts since 1992; he played an instrumental role in planning the Museum’s new American Wing, which opened in November 2010, containing some fifty-three galleries and period rooms. His current projects include an in-depth assessment of the MFA’s extensive collection of American furniture and an exhibition on Boston furniture for the Massachusetts Historical Society. He serves as the bibliographer and book review editor of American Furniture, the annual journal published by the Chipstone Foundation, and is the editor of the Decorative Arts Society Newsletter. In November 2012, he was elected a State Representative in New Hampshire, serving District 28 in Rockingham County, and in November 2013 he received the inaugural Wendell D. Garrett Award from the Winterthur Museum.

Among his many publications are American Case Furniture in the Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale University (1988), MFA Highlights:  American Decorative Arts and Sculpture (co-author, 2006), Silver of the Americas, 1600-2000 (co-editor and author, 2008), and about seventy articles and sixty book reviews.

A Revere Revelation takes place at 5:30pm at the Colony House on Washington Square. Admission costs $5 per person, $1 for Newport Historical Society members with membership card. Please RSVP to 401-841-8770.

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