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Object Name Teapot
Date 1860-1890
Description Teapot with lid; yellow earthenware with brown glaze. Paneled shape tapers gradually from bottom to top; shaped spout, ear-shaped handle, and domed lid with steam hole and finial. The body has a molded scene of a woman with a jug standing at a well; below the scene is a ribbon with impressed caption "REBEKAH AT THE WELL". (The scene is identical on both sides of the teapot.) The bottom of the pot has radiating ridges that end in six round pads (to raise the teapot slightly above the cooking surface). Made in the mid-Atlantic region, probably Philadelphia.
(Keywords: Oddfellows, Rebecca at the Well)
Acquisition Gift of J. Bay Robinson
Ownership and History "Rebekah at the Well" may have been the most popular pattern made in yellowware in the United States in the latter part of the 1800s; it was produced by numerous American potteries. The biblical story of Rebekah, from Genesis 24, was thought to epitomize womanly virtue. The popularity of the motif may also be related to an American group called the Daughters of Rebekah, which was a women's auxiliary of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a fraternal organization that included potters among its members.

Rockingham is a word used to describe yellow earthenware (yellowware) covered with a mottled brown glaze. Here, the brown glaze reveals the underlying yellow clay on raised highlights of the form, while appearing darker in areas where glaze has pooled. The brown coloring may have been particularly appreciated for teapots, since it would minimize the appearance of tea stains.

This teapot was in the collection of Edwin Spencer Barnes of Staten Island. Barnes was an architect with offices in Manhattan and a collector of American antiques during the first half of the 20th century. His collection descended to his niece, Elizabeth Sterling Robinson, and her husband, J. Bay Robinson.
Earliest Date 1860
Latest Date 1890
Material Ceramic
Subjects Biblical events
Food
Pottery
Tea
Teapots
Tableware
Lexicon Sub-category Food Service T&E
Catalog Number 82.057.0085.A-B
Support Acknowledgment Online Collections Database record made possible by the Efron family in memory of Dr. Meryl Efron, November 2014.
Legal Status Images and text in this database are copyrighted by the Staten Island Historical Society unless otherwise noted. Items represented here are from the collections of the Staten Island Historical Society. Materials reproduced for personal non-commercial use must credit the Staten Island Historical Society. Commercial licensing is available.