George Joseph Hunt (1866–1947)
Object Place: Liverpool, England, England
15.5 x 21.3 x 13.7 cm (6 1/8 x 8 3/8 x 5 3/8 in.)
Medium or Technique
Silver, ivory insulators
Not On View
The teapot was hand-raised. It has a wide base that tapers to a small mouth. The handle and spout are seamed, and the insulators are ivory, as is the turned finial on the lid, which is held in place by a small silver knob.
George Hunt served his apprenticeship in his native England before immigrating to the United States at age twenty. He became a member of the Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, in 1903. By 1905 he opened his own shop and, one year later, established the “metalry” department at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts.
This teapot was produced during a brief sojourn Hunt made to England, probably to his native Liverpool. In English fashion, the vessel carries numerous hallmarks on each of the separately fashioned parts. It bears the hallmark of the town of Chester (the assay office nearest Liverpool), Hunt’s own mark, and the mark for 1904 — a scrolled “C” within a shaped square — that documents the year he returned to England. The chaste profile is reminiscent of the designs of Christopher Dresser; its purity of form looks forward to the work of Rhode Island silversmith John Prip and the teapot he produced for Reed & Barton in the late 1950s (cat. no. 354).
Hunt may have spent more time teaching than working in his own shop. He taught in Minneapolis; in Chautauqua, New York; at the Swain School in New Bedford, Massachusetts; and at the Museum School. The few surviving pieces of his hollowware reveal a propensity for the Colonial Revival style. This teapot, with its design-reform aesthetic, shows Hunt’s English leanings before his return to Boston and an American, ultraconservative clientele. His submissions to the society’s 1907 exhibition included carved brass vases and candlesticks, made after the designs of Frank E. Cleveland; candlesticks he designed after an old English model; and a punch bowl and four-piece silver service, after Paul Revere. The latter were executed by Hunt and W. E. Manchester.
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.
“G. J. / H.” in a triangle; lion passant within a shaped cartouche; Chester hallmark of three sheaves of wheat within a shield; and scrolled “C” within a shaped square (the date mark for 1904), all struck on body, to right of handle. The lion passant and scrolled “C” hallmarks also struck inside lid, wing nut, and underside of handle.
Original owner unknown; subsequent history unknown until acquired by the donors, Dr. and Mrs. Joseph B. Alpers, about 1971.
Gift of Joseph B. and Edith Alpers