National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Silver Teapot Silver Teapot
Rendered by Michael Fenga (artist), c. 1938
graphite on paperboard
overall: 29 x 36.8 cm (11 7/16 x 14 1/2 in.) Original IAD Object: 6 5/8" high
Index of American Design
Not on View
From the Tour: Metalwork from the Index of American Design
Object 17 of 17

After the Revolution, the design of silver and of most other decorative arts assumed a classical style. Craftsmen created elegant designs based on interplays of graceful curves and smooth straight lines. A corresponding refinement was seen in surface decoration. This silver teapot, made in the late eighteenth century by Isaac Hutton in Albany, New York, reflects the new classicism. Notice that the oval body is shaped into serpentine curves that form vertical panels. The theme is continued in the straight, tapering spout, which is oval in cross section. Further emphasizing the classical design are an urn finial atop the bell-shaped lid and the foliate shield medallion that decorates the side. Typical of New York teapots during this period are the bright-cut bands of floral swags that encircle the top and bottom of the piece. This bright-cut form of engraving, achieved by using a small gouge to chip-carve the decoration, was also used at the base of the lid. The shape of the wooden scroll handle relates to the undulating surface of the pot. The wooden handle protected the user when the pot was filled with hot tea.

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