National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Coffee Pot Coffee Pot
Rendered by Frank McEntee (artist), 1935/1942
watercolor, graphite, and pen and ink on paperboard
overall: 50.8 x 40.8 cm (20 x 16 1/16 in.) Original IAD Object: 9 1/2" high; 5 1/2" wide
Index of American Design
Not on View
From the Tour: Metalwork from the Index of American Design
Object 15 of 17

This coffeepot was made by Eben Smith, a pewterer and brazier from Beverly, Massachusetts. Beverly was a center of Britannia production in the mid-nineteenth century, and this piece may be of that alloy. Britannia is a type of pewter that contains a high percentage of tin with antimony added for hardness. It became popular in the nineteenth century because its shiny surface resembled silver and its hardness provided durability. Britannia was either cast like pewter or rolled into sheets and fashioned over wooden forms. Objects made of Britannia are usually thinner and lighter than those made of regular pewter. This coffeepot was designed in a modified lighthouse form with a domed lid topped by a small wooden knob. The S-shaped spout and scroll handle provide a boldness of form associated with Britannia ware. Encircling the body of this pot are rounded bands that were common on Britannia ware, because they served to strengthen the thin walls. The floral medallion on the side suggests the bright cut ornament often used for decoration by silversmiths.

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