Josiah Austin American

Not on view

One of three extant teapots marked by silversmith Josiah Austin, its satisfying apple shape is characteristic of mid-eighteenth-century Boston examples. Teapots of this design were raised from the top down, so that the lid was eventually cut out of the lower surface and attached to the body with a flat three-part hinge, creating a flush fit. A separate circular plate was then inserted to seal the lower opening, surrounded by a stepped flared foot.

The armorial engraving on the body is livelier and more fluid than that on the cover and shoulder, and could have been executed by another hand. The coat of arms and crest are those of the Ware family, as used by descendants of the English immigrant Robert Ware, who died in Dedham, Massachusetts, in 1699. However, earlier initials engraved on the upper handle socket, S / R* E, appear to predate the Ware arms, suggesting an even earlier ownership. A particularly charming aspect of this teapot is the interior piercing behind the spout of 34 star-shaped holes in oval formation, which would have kept the tea leaves from spilling out when the beverage was poured.

Teapot, Josiah Austin (1719/20–ca. 1780), Silver, American

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