2016.0003 A, B Teapot, view 1, after conservation treatment, cropped
  • 2016.0003 A, B Teapot, view 1, after conservation treatment, cropped
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  • Category:


  • Creator (Role):

    John Burt (Attributed Artist)

  • Place of Origin:

    Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, New England, United States, North America

  • Date:


  • Materials:

    Silver; Wood

  • Techniques:

    Wrought, Cast, Engraved

  • Museum Object Number:

    2016.0003 A, B

  • Complete Details

Object Number

2016.0003 A, B

Object Name




Credit Line/Donor

Museum purchase with funds provided by the Henry Francis du Pont Collectors Circle

Creator (Role)

John Burt (Attributed Artist)
Pat Kane notes approximately 180 hollowware objects with his mark survive.

Place of Origin

Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, New England, United States, North America



Mark or Signature or Inscription or Label

1. Inscription; Side, left of handle; "Ex Dono Pupillorum 1728" engraved


Clergy; Tea; School


Silver; Wood


Wrought, Cast, Engraved

Dimensions (inches)

5.039 (H) , 8.189 (L) , 4.449 (W) , 13.1572 (Weight)

Dimensions (centimeters)

12.8 (H) , 20.8 (L) , 11.3 (W) , 373 (Weight)

Measurement Notes

As per previous cataloguer: Overall height 5 1/4", height to lid finial 5" Overall length 8 1/4", diameter of body is 4 1/4" Overall weight is 13 1/8 oz. AVP Exhibition publication of 1936: H. 4.75 inches, foot diam. 2.875 inches; Weight 12 oz. 15 dwt.

Object Description

Web - 01/28/2016

Reverend Nicholas Sever (1680-1764), a Harvard College graduate of 1701, returned to his alma mater to tutor in 1716, but found himself politically at odds with the board of overseers regarding teaching staff representation. After several contentious years with the board, Sever’s leadership in policy objections prevailed and contributed to important oversight changes. During the process of upholding his convictions, Nicholas Sever earned the respect of his students. His classes of 1724 and 1728 continued a well-established custom of offering gifts of silver to honor his academic service. This circular, or apple-shape teapot with a delicately engraved collar and lid was made in Boston by silversmith John Burt. The dedication engraved in Latin on one side, “A gift from your students, 1728,” commemorated the gift. Sever received other items made by John Burt as "tutorial" gifts, including two ornately-pierced chafing dishes, a cann, a pair of candlesticks and two salvers. This impressive group of handsome and costly luxuries reflected his students’ esteem and their endorsement of what must have been a genteel interior lifestyle led by this bachelor resident tutor. Nicholas Sever’s chosen path changed dramatically, however, in 1728. At the age of 48 he eschewed academia and the ministry for more worldly pursuits, marrying a well-connected widow, Sarah Warren Little in November. They settled in Kingston, Massachusetts where Sever quickly established himself as a merchant and pursued a judicial career, ultimately serving as Chief Justice for Plymouth County until 1762. The Severs had three sons, but only the eldest, William, survived his parents. William Sever became further entwined with his mother’s family in 1755 when he married Sarah Warren (d. 1797) of Barnstable. Sarah's beautiful "fishing lady" needlework overmantel picture in its original frame is also in Winterthur's collection. The couple inherited this silver teapot and used it in their well-appointed Kingston home. One of Winterthur’s greatest rococo furniture treasures is a Boston-made turret-top tea table acquired by William and Sarah Sever in the 1750-60s. Today the table also displays the Sever family's Chinese porcelain tea cups and saucers. This rare and treasured silver teapot remained within the family for nearly 300 years, but now is reunited with their ensemble of colonial American tea equipage.

Bibliography and Bibliographic Notes

[Book] Kane, Patricia E. 1998 Colonial Massachusetts Silversmiths and Jewelers. 1241.
Biography and work history of John Burt.
[Book] 1936 Harvard Tercentenary Exhibition: Furniture and Decorative Arts of the Period 1636-1836.
Published: fig. 128, p. 34.
[Book] Warren, David B. 1987 Marks of Achievement: Four Centuries of American Presentation Silver. 208.
Published: fig. 42, p. 50.