Paul Revere, Jr. (American, 1734–1818)
Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
15.5 x 27.4 x 9.3 cm (6 1/8 x 10 13/16 x 3 11/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Not On View
The fluted elliptical teapot is made of sheet silver and seamed along the handle; the joints are pinned. The vessel has a slender, seamed, cone-shaped spout attached close to the base and an elliptical lid that is slightly domed above the flat shoulder. A tall pinecone/pineapple finial completes the lid. Angled sockets, circular in section and scored at their edges, hold a replaced wooden handle that has been pinned in place. A thick strengthening band of silver on the base follows the fluted perimeter of the vessel and protects the engraved text from wear. Banded and swagged decoration is strung along the base and below the shoulder.
William Dall, the recipient of this elegant teapot, was a merchant who lived near Boston Neck, the narrow spit of land that connected Boston with the mainland, an area now filled in and known as the Back Bay. Dall may have negotiated the filling or development of the marshy region along the neck, or performed some related service, for the dedication on the teapot acknowledges his assistance to the “proprietors” of Boston Neck.
The teapot was probably purchased for Dall by one of these proprietors. Fortunately, the Revere daybooks record that one of their number, merchant Amasa Davis, purchased a twenty-ounce silver teapot in 1797, the same year as that inscribed on the teapot. Davis was a good customer of Revere, having purchased canns, many teaspoons, ladles, porringers, and a tankard beginning in 1783, and he would have been a likely person to find a suitable gift of thanks for Dall. The current weight of this teapot is six pennyweight less than that recorded by Revere, a minor difference explained by years of polishing and the drying out of the handle.
The fluted teapot is executed in Revere’s signature style of the mid-1790s. Its elliptical design, made possible with the use of sheet silver, allowed him to produce this new and elegant shape with relative ease and consistency. The vessel found favor in the greater Boston area, for Revere produced at least seventeen examples for patrons as far west as Worcester.
This text has been adapted from “Silver of the Americas, 1600-2000,” edited by Jeannine Falino and Gerald W.R. Ward, published in 2008 by the MFA. Complete references can be found in that publication.
"Presented by the Proprietors / of BOSTON NECK to Mr. WILLIAM DALL / for Services render'd them 1797" in script and roman capitals engraved on base
"REVERE" within a rectangle struck ast center of base.
Made a gift to William Dall (1753 – 1829), whose first wife was Mary Parker (1763 – 1783), m. 1781. The teapot descended in a patrilineal line through five generations, beginning with their son James Dall (1781 – 1863) of Baltimore, Maryland, and Henrietta Austin (1781 – 1866), m. 1812; to their son Rev. Charles Henry Appleton Dall (1816 – 1886) and Caroline Wells Healey (1822 – 1912), m. 1844; to their son William Cranch Healey Dall (1845 – 1927) and Annette Whitney (1859 – 1943), m. 1880; to their son Charles Whitney Dall (1881 – 1972) and Emily Marshall Maurice (1887 – 1975), m. 1911; to their son Charles Whitney Dall Jr. (1913 – 1982), who bequeathed it to the Museum
Gift of Mr. Charles Whitney Dall, Jr.