Teapot, part of a three-piece tea set
Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts
Overall: 12.7 x 22.2 x 6 x 9.2 cm (5 x 8 3/4 x 2 3/8 x 3 5/8 in.)
Medium or Technique
The 1940s and 1950s (Gallery 336)
The raised round teapot rests on a simple circular base; it has a flaring applied spout and a C-shaped wooden handle. The detachable lid has a wooden finial set at a sloping angle.
Alexandra Solowij Watkns was born in Poland in 1933 and arrived at the SMFA in the mid 1950s, after training in Montreal. She designed and made this tea set and a chocolate pot as part of her studies at the museum. Although after graduation, Watkins, as a foreign student, had to return to Montreal, the tea set was exhibited at the school and attracted the attention of an executive at Gorham. The company hired her as a designer and provided the necessary immigration papers.
As a designer for Gorham, Watkins was one of several artist-craftspeople, including John Prip and Mary Ann Scherr, who collaborated with the company designers to create modernist objects for mass consumption. One of her designs was s silver plated “bateau” centerpiece (2004.205) produced in 1959-60. Watkins became an American citizen and later focused on jewelry, represented in the Museum’s collection by a brooch (1005.749). Since 1968, she has been affiliated with the Atelier Janiye gallery in Boston as a jeweler and, since 1982, as a co-owner.
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.
"STERLING / A. SOLOWIJ / ENTIRELY HAND / WROUGHT" struck incuse on underside
2004, given by the artist to the Museum.
Gift of Miwa A. Watkins
Reproduced with permission.