Collections › MESDA Collection › Teapot

Teapot

Artist/Maker:
Andrews, Jeremiah
Place Made:
Norfolk Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
1795-1805
Medium:
silver, with wooden handle
Dimensions:
HOA: 7″; WOA: 11-1/2″; DOA: 4″
Accession Number:
3255
Description:
DESCRIPTION: Silver teapot with a straight spout and D-shaped wooden handle featuring a spur. The unornamented, straight-sided, oval body has a molded rim and base and receives the handle in two cylindrical silver sockets. The hinged lid has a cast urn finial.

MARK: Struck on the bottom of the base with intaglio “I.ANDREWS” and “NORFOLK” marks in rectangular reserves.

MAKER: The first place silversmith Jeremiah Andrews (d.1817) is found is New York City in 1774 when he advertised as a jeweler from London who had set up his business on—appropriately—”Gold-Hill Street.” By June 1776 he was making trips to Philadelphia while continuing to advertise in New York that he would take commissions at his Hanover Square location. Andrews would repeat his exploratory trips to other cities a number of times over the course of his career. He would set up shop in one city and then venture to another city to test its potential business. Indeed, in 1776 Andrews did move to Philadelphia, where he advertised as a goldsmith and a jeweler for almost fifteen years, until 1790. Following his usual method, in April 1779 he advertised in Baltimore that he had “a neat assortment of Jewellery, of his own manufacture, equal to any imported. Ladies paste shoe buckles, of the newest patterns, gentlemen’s knee and stock buckles, garnet hoop rings, with every other kind of rings, lockets, and broaches.” He signed the advertisement as “Jeremiah Andrews, living on Second-Street between Chestnut and Walnut Streets, Philadelphia.” By 1784 he was offering his product in Baltimore through the shop of silversmith Isiah Wagster (w.1776-1793). That same year he advertised to members of the Society of the Cincinnati, “in particular to those Gentlemen who first engaged him to undertake the making of the Medals for that Society, and have now the Pleasure to inform them that he has completed a number of them, which are allowed by many for the Society to be preferable to those imported.” A year later he was recorded by George Washington in the Mount Vernon diary: “In the Evening a Mr. Andrew, Jeweller from Philadelphia, called to show me an Eagle Medal, which he had made, and was about to offer as specimen of his Workmanship to the Members of the Society of Cincinnati in hopes of being employed by them in that way.” Andrews did not impress General Washington, but the silversmith was successful in later gaining the patronage of the Cincinnati chapters from Georgia and Pennsylvania. He continually announced Cincinnati medals for sale in his advertisements from 1784 to 1791 beginning in Philadelphia and Baltimore and then as he visited cities even further south such as Savannah and Augusta, Georgia (1788-1790) and Richmond, Virginia (1787 and 1794). Andrews left Philadelphia for good by September 1791 when he set up shop in Norfolk, Virginia. He advertised that he had “jewelry for sale at Main Street opposite Church Street… [also a large silver tankard, silver spoons, silver buttons, and silver ‘sissar’ cases.]” Jeremiah Andrews remained in Norfolk until his death a quarter of a century later. See Catherine B. Hollan, “In the Neatest, Most Fashionable Manner: Three Centuries of Alexandria Silver” (Alexandria, VA: Lyceum, 1994).

FORM: For most of the eighteenth century the accouterments for tea and coffee 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. In the eighteenth century, coffeepots were taller than teapots for two reasons: function and economics. They are taller in order to raise the spout higher from the bottom to prevent the coffee grounds (which sink to the bottom) from being poured into teacups or bowls; conversely, tea leaves float and are less likely to flow out the spout when tea is poured. This difference in coffee/tea pot heights carried forward into the nineteenth century as tradition even after strainers and other means for preventing coffee grounds from pouring out the spout were made popular. The second factor, economics, was driven by the expense of tea in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Tea was so expensive that only a small amount would be brewed at a time to prevent waste. In 1662 London, a pound of coffee cost between 4 and 7 shillings; around 1680 a pound of tea cost 11 to 12 shillings. The price of tea continued in the eighteenth century to rise higher than the price of coffee. See Wolfgang Schivelbusch, “Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants” (New York: Pantheon Books, 1992), 83; Jane Pettigrew, “A Social History of Tea” (London: The National Trust, 2001), 140; and William H. Ukers, “The Romance of Tea: An Outline History of Tea and Tea-Drinking Through Sixteen Hundred Years” (London and New York: Knopf, 1936), 226, 226. All things considered, however, Charles Montgomery wrote an insightful summary of why we cannot be certain why coffeepots are larger than teapots in his book “A History of American Pewter” (New York: Knopf, 1936), 182-183.

Credit Line:
Douglas Battery Purchase Fund