This important silver cream jug by Paul Revere is a remarkable piece of history. Though best known as the patriot immortalized by Longfellow in his poem Paul Revere's Ride, this beloved figure was also a highly respected master silversmith. After inheriting his father's shop upon his death at the young age of 19, Paul Revere's silver shop was his professional life for more than 40 years. As a master craftsman, Revere was responsible for the workmanship and quality of the metal used and items produced. His work was well regarded during his lifetime and is highly prized today.
The pitcher takes a classic inverted pear form with a beautifully molded curved pouring lip. Resting on a circular foot with beaded borders and a double scroll handle, the monogram SDS is delicately engraved within a foliate design. The initials are those of Captain Stephen Smith (1739-1806) and Deborah Ellis (1741-1825) of Machias, Maine. Smith was born in Sandwich, MA and married Ellis, born Plymouth MA, in 1762, and they moved to Machias in 1772. In 1776, Stephen Smith was appointed Truck Master, overseeing the supplying of provisions to Native Americans, thus helping to retain their allegiance to the colonies during the Revolutionary War. During that war, he was appointed Captain and took part in the defense of eastern Maine.
The Revere daybook entry for Captain Stephen Smith on 22 October 1783 cites an order for "A Silver Creampot," and "a Pr. Wine Qt. Canns, 6 Large Spoons, and a Pr. Sugar tongs". One of the canns, with a matching SDS monogram, is in the collection of The Heritage Plantation of Sandwich MA (1978.4). The cann is cited in Kane, p. 810 and illustrated in The Magazine Antiques, February 1979, p. 312 and illus. p. 316. Also, a cream jug of similar form by Revere resides in the Cleveland Museum of Art.
4 3/8” wide x 4 3/8“ deep x 4 7/8“ high
Captain Stephen Smith (1739-1806) and Deborah Ellis (1741-1825)
Elizabeth Otis Smith (1779-1860), daughter, married Ebenezer Inglee (1764-1851)
Annah Inglee (1803-1877), daughter, married Dennis Garland (1790-1847)
Eliza Garland (1826-1911), daughter, married Samuel Valentine (1826-1900)
Lucy W. Valentine (1849-1953), daughter
Monroe and Elizabeth Dreher Collection, Darien CT, 1949
Francis Hill Bigelow, Historic Silver of the Colonies and its Makers, 1917, p. 410, illus. 302, p. 412.