Collections › MESDA Collection › Cream Pitcher

Cream Pitcher

Artist/Maker:
Woods, Freeman
Place Made:
New Bern North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
1794-1805
Medium:
silver
Dimensions:
HOA: 6-3/4″
Accession Number:
5761
Description:
DESCRIPTION: Silver cream pitcher in the neoclassical helmet shape with applied beading around rim. Strap handle rises above rim oposite spout. Body rests on an flared pedestal with applied beading at the solder joint with the square base.

INSCRIPTION: Engraved with script initials “PH” on side of body below the spout.

MARK: Struck on outside face of square base with intaglio cursive “Woods” mark in conforming reserve.

MAKER: Freeman Woods (b.c.1766-1834) first worked in New York City prior to his move to New Bern, North Carolina; his name appears in the New York City directories from 1791 to 1794. On 27 December 1794 he advertised in New Bern, North Carolina, stating that he had commenced business two doors above William Lawrence’s store, where anything in the “above branch” might be had, particularly waiters, tankards, teapots, sugar dishes, milk pots, tablespoons, teaspoons, sugar tongs, and the like, in the newest fashions and at the shortest notice. Few facts about Woods’s family have been determined, but the Raleigh newspapers reported the death of “Mrs. Hannah Woods, wife of Mr. Freeman Woods,” which occurred in October 1811 in New Bern. The Newbern Spectator for 20 November 1834 contained a notice of Woods’s death at age sixty-eight. The notice stated that Freeman Woods was born in New Jersey and was a resident of New Bern for forty years. An inventory of his estate contained many items related to silversmithing and had a total value of $910.09. See George Barton Cutten and Mary Reynolds Peacock, “Silversmiths of North Carolina, 1696-1860”, 2nd rev. ed. (Raleigh: North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Division of Archives and History, 1984).

FORM: Silver pitchers in Colonial America were most often small cream pitchers in the rococo fashion that were used as part of the tea ceremony to serve milk. Large wide-mouthed pitchers in the neoclassical and empire styles became popular after the American Revolution. Such pitchers were used to serve water or wine and provided silversmiths with abundant flat surface area for engraving everything from simple monograms to armorials to lengthy presentations. The term “pitcher” is most commonly used in the United States and can be applied to any container with a spout for pouring liquids. In other English-speaking countries, the term “jug” is use more prevalently. A “ewer” is a vase-shaped, handled pitcher, often decorated, with a base and flaring spout.

Credit Line:
James H. Willcox Jr. Silver Purchase Fund