DATE: ca.1790-1800 (made)
PLACE: China (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Porcelain painted in overglaze enamels and gilt

When North America came into direct contact with China during the 18th century, maritime trade turned Boston and New York into important ports. From there, colonial merchants were able to disseminate exotic goods such as porcelain tea and tablewares, creating a demand for these luxury items among wealthy Americans. Much like in Europe, Chinese porcelain services were commissioned to include family crests, initials and pesonalised designs. However, after the American Revolutionary War (1763-1787), patriotic Americans distinguished themselves from their colonial founders by commissioning Chinese porcelain services with newly-established symbols and colour schemes of the free land. Family crests and coat-of-arms mostly fell out of fashion as these highlighted the European heritage of the American elite. Restrained, ‘pseudoarmorial’ decoration was favoured by upper-middle class Americans who could afford extensive porcelain services. This teapot features the owner’s monogram within a gilt-trimmed shield with an ermine-trimmed mantle. This design was a common stock pattern which was fashionable among upper-class Americans between the 1780s and early 1800s.