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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

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Jacob Hurd, American, 1702/3-1758

Gift of Louise C. and Frank L. Harrington, Class of 1924; M.967.42


This globular teapot is one of seventeen that Jacob Hurd is known to have made. Teapots were virtually nonexistent in the Western world until the end of the seventeenth century. In fact, few were used in America until the middle of the eighteenth century. The diminutive size of this piece is typical of teapots from this early period—a reflection of the fact that tea was both scarce and expensive, and therefore brewed only in small quantities. This teapot is noteworthy for bearing the first documented rococo decoration in Boston silver. Its simple globular shape is Queen Anne in form, but the asymmetrical engraving, composed of C-scrolls and foliage, points to the more curvilinear aesthetics associated with the rococo manner (the engraved band around the shoulder remains baroque, however). The Fayerweather armorial cartouche may have been copied from an English bookplate or other printed source. The teapot’s inscription tells us that it was given by Edward Tyng Esquire to Hannah Fayerweather on December 9, 1745, the day before her wedding to Farr Tollman, a Boston bookbinder. Tyng knew Hurd’s work well. The previous year he received a magnificent two-handled cup (Yale University Art Gallery) by the goldsmith as a gift from leaders of Boston’s merchant community for his capture of French privateers off the Massachusetts coast—the first naval engagement of King George’s War. An enormously talented and prolific silversmith, Jacob Hurd produced more than half of the surviving silver made in Boston during his generation. He likely apprenticed with John Burt and went on to train two of his fourteen children, Nathaniel and Benjamin, to carry on the silversmithing trade.

Last Updated: 4/29/09