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Tea Service

Clark & Co.
Place Made:
Augusta Georgia United States of America
Date Made:
HOA: 9-3/4″ (teapot), 8-1/2″ (sugar bowl), 7″ (cream pitcher), 4-1/8″ (waste bowl); WOA: 12″ (teapot, from handle to spout), 9-3/4″ (sugar bowl, from handle to handle), 8″ (cream pitcher, from handle to spout), 5-7/8″ (waste bowl)
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Silver tea service consisting of a teapot, sugar bowl, cream pitcher, and waste bowl. Elements of the service (except the waste bowl) feature cast pineapple-like finials affixed to a lids with repousse vine and flower ornament and small beading applied to its rim. The octagonal bodies are nearly covered in repousse ornament of C-scrolls, leaves, flowers, and shells at the top of central cartouches (on both sides). Leaf-motif banding applied to the rims of the bodies and each piece of the service has a cast base with four pierced feet in the form of C-scrolls and acanthus leaves.

The teapot has a hinged lid and an applied handle with bone or ivory insulators. The handle, handle sockets, and spout are cast in leaf, branch, fruit, and flower motifs. The applied spout terminates with an upturned volute on top and a scalloped lip below. The sugar bowl has a detachable lid and two applied cast handles and handles with foliage and fruit design. The cream pitcher features a hinged lid and a cast handle identical to those found on the sugar bowl. The cream pitcher’s wide spout is applied to the side of the body and features an upturned lip at the tip. The waste bowl has no lid or cover or handles.

INSCRIPTION: All four pieces of the service are engraved twice with the name “Amy” in script lettering on the both sides of the bodies in cartouches.

MARK: The teapot, sugar bowl, and cream pitcher are struck on the underside of their bodies with intaglio “CLARK & CO” marks in rectangular reserves (waste bowl not marked).

MAKER: There were several silversmiths and jewelers with the surname Clark working in Augusta between 1816 and 1860. Francis Clark advertised in 1816 that he had commenced business on Broad Street, selling clocks, watches, jewelery, silver spoons, and other wares. In an 1823 deed Clark was identified as “of Mercer County, Kentucky, but at present of Augusta”; however the silversmith Clarks in Augusta were born in Danbury, Connecticut, the sons of silversmith and clockmaker Joseph Clark and his wife, Anna Stedman. In 1830 Francis partnered with his brother Horace Clark (d.1854) to form the firm of F & H Clark. Nothing is known of Francis Clark after 1840. However, in 1840 Horace took as a partner George Rackett (d.1852) and changed the business’s name to Clark, Rackett & Co. After Rackett’s death in 1852, the firm continued as Clark & Co. operated by Horace and a third brother, Joseph Stedman Clark (1808-1875). The firm regularly advertised in the Augusta newspapers their wide range of fancy goods including clocks, watches, jewelry, spectacles, firearms, and silverware, including “Rich Breakfast and Tea Sets of silver, in chests, complete.” See George Barton Cutten, “The Silversmiths of Georgia” (Savannah, GA: Pigeonhole Press, 1958) and “Connecticut Church Record Abstracts, 1630-1920,” Vol. 23, Danbury, p. 63, Connecticut State Library, Hartford, CT.

FORM: For most of the eighteenth century the accouterments of the tea ceremony were acquired separately and did not necessarily match in style and shape. By the 1790s, all elements of a tea service (coffeepot, teapot, sugar bowl, waste bowl, and cream pitcher) were made somewhat uniformly in style, with the smaller pieces following the form of the coffee and teapots.

A careful analysis of the 1850 and 1860 censuses for Richmond County, Georgia, suggests that the name “Amy” engraved on the tea set probably refers to Amy Moseley (Collier) Heard (1818-1853) and her daughter, Amy Mary (Heard) Hollingsworth (1848-1895). Born in Edgefield County, South Carolina, Amy M. Collier married Isaac T. Heard (1800-1870), a wealthy cotton merchant and warehouseman in Augusta, on May 20, 1834. Amy was a woman’s name of longstanding name in her family, stretching back to early 18th-century Virginia with her grandmother Amy (Moseley) Collier (1757-1819), her great-grandmother Amy (Green) Moseley, and her great-great-grandmother Amy (Clay) Green. The name Amy would have held special meaning for the women of this family.
Credit Line:
James H. Willcox Jr. Silver Purchase Fund