Teapot

about 1810
Possibly by Joseph Loring (American, 1743–1815)


Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Dimensions

17.6 x 29.2 x 11.5 cm (6 15/16 x 11 1/2 x 4 1/2 in.)

Accession Number

1985.691

Medium or Technique

Silver

Not On View

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Silver hollowware

The raised teapot has an elliptical base with an applied foot, swelled sides, and concave rim. The domed lid has a three-part hinge; the baluster finial has an elliptical ebonized wooden separator. The scrolled spout, with an extended lower lip, is affixed over strainer holes. Angled cylindrical sockets with molded edges are set with a replaced, black-painted, wooden scroll handle. The difference in weight of one additional troy ounce than that recorded in the scratch weight may be due to this later handle.


Joseph Loring produced a variety of forms, including baptismal basins, beakers, canns, wine cups, creampots, and porringers, but few teapots. On some occasions, he sold silver that also bore the mark of Jesse Churchill of Boston; Samuel Bartlett of Concord; or Ebenezer Moulton of Newburyport, Massachusetts. In such cases, it is likely that these men supplied one another with silver to meet market demands. What is not clear is which silversmiths made their work for others to retail.
Because of the difficulty in unraveling the mystery of which silversmiths sold the work of their colleages, an unmarked fluted teapot and a marked stand in the Museum’s collection that had formerly been attributed to Loring have been reassigned to Paul Revere II. The attribution was made on the basis of their similarity to other fluted teapots from Revere’s workshop. Two fluted teapots marked by Loring in a private collection are also close matches to the fluted form that Revere made famous. If Revere did indeed make all the above-mentioned fluted forms that were marked and retailed by Loring, it becomes even more difficult to determine whether this late example is indeed by the silversmith.
This teapot’s long, low profile recalls the late-eighteenth-century fluted style, but its slightly convex, elliptical shape and smooth, expansive surface reveal its production in the federal period. A tea service by William Moulton in the Museum’s collection, which Kathryn C. Buhler dated to 1800 – 10, has a similar contour. It calls to mind an unmarked teapot in the Bayou Bend collection that descended from the silversmith’s family. That teapot has a Neoclassical form, with a slightly rounded contour, ball feet, and applied reeding, and could also have been made by Jesse Churchill.
The shop tools and goods cited in the inventory of Loring’s estate indicate that he was working as a silversmith until his death in 1815. It is unclear, however, whether Loring produced much hollowware in this new style. Since the teapot was probably made within several years before his death, one can only speculate whether Loring chose to subcontract with a maker proficient in the Neoclassical style.

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.

Inscription

"MH" entwined monogram engraved on body of vessel, to the right of handle, "HTQ" engraved in similar but later manner of the pourer's side, both within a foliated ellipse. Scratch weight of "17" 4" on base.

Markings

"J [pellet] Loring" in a scalloped ellipse on base above center point.
Ada Mark * F4759

Provenance

The initials “MH” together with Loring’s death in 1815 suggest that the teapot was made for Mary Hatch (1800 – 1835) sometime before her marriage in 1818 to Samuel Quincy (1791 – 1850) of Boston. The teapot descended in a matrilineal line, for at her death it was given to her sister-in-law Harriet Tufts (1827 – 1867) of Plymouth, New Hampshire, second wife of the Hon. Josiah Quincy (1793 – 1875), m. 1845, whose initials “HTQ” are also engraved on the teapot; to their daughter Mary Ann Quincy (b. 1854) and Willard F. Kinsman (b. 1849), m. 1876; to their daughter Elizabeth Grace Kinsman (b. 1879) and Charles Edward McGlashan (b. about 1879), m. 1909; to their daughter Elizabeth Quincy McGlashan (1910 – 1992), the donor, wife of John Gardner Fisher (about 1908 – 1973), m. 1938.

Credit Line

Gift of Elizabeth Quincy Fisher in memory of John Gardner Fisher