Teapot

1921
David Mason Little (American, 1860–1923)


Object Place: Salem, Massachusetts

Dimensions

Overall: 12.4 x 26.7 x 14 cm (4 7/8 x 10 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.)

Accession Number

2004.710

Medium or Technique

Silver, wood

Not On View

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Silver hollowware

Round globular teapot with raised circular foot; curved silver handle with wooden “stops” to separate the handle from the pot.


David Mason Little was trained as a naval architect and had a distinguished career of military service in the Spanish-American War and World War I; he was also elected mayor of Salem, MA in 1900. Something of a polymath, Little enjoyed several hobbies, including photography and silversmithing, which he initially pursued in a studio in his home on Chestnut Street. Wishing to fashion a tea set for his wife, he sought the assistance of noted Arts and Crafts silversmith George Gebelein of Boston as early as 1907. Little soon became Gebelein’s patron as well as his apprentice, helping the elder silversmith move in 1909 to a larger shop on Beacon Hill. There Little maintained a bench while retaining his studio at home.
Little produced teawares, vases, bowls and tablewares as well as a delicately chased powder box now in the collection of the Peabody Essex Museum. Most of his work was made for family members, such as this graceful, somewhat conservative teapot made for his daughter. In style, it is in harmony with the works of Gebelein, Arthur Stone, Karl Leinonen, Gyllenberg and Sawnson, and other Boston area Arts and Crafts silversmiths.
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

Engraved on bottom: "MARGUERITE LITTLE YOUNG / FROM HER FATHER / 1921".

Markings

Marked on bottom with "LITTLE [enclosed in an oval] / SALEM / STERLING" and a small rooster.

Provenance

Made by David Mason Little; given to his daughter Marguerite Little (1894-1975); given by her husband Charles M. Young (1892-1984) to their niece, Selina F. Little in 1975. Maker was the donor's grandfather.

Credit Line

Gift of Selina F. Little in memory of Bertram Kimball Little