One day during my recent travels, I visited the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. It's quite a place, with vast collections of furniture, paintings, sculptures, decorative arts from all around the world. It's is truly one of the best museums in the world. They also have beautiful silver serving pieces, from Europe and from America.
This time I focus on Paul Revere, whose portrait by John Singleton Copley hangs in a case along with some of his finest silver service. In the painting, he holds a lovely teapot that is so reflective, you could almost reach out and take it from him. It was painted in 1768. They were friends, and Revere sat for the portrait. Copley painted this seven years before Revere's famous "ride".
By the way, it was expensive to have one's portrait painted, and unusual to look so casual, without a coat. Revere's descendants did not understand this, and had the picture stored in their attic! But, if you look closely you can see he is wearing a vest with gold buttons. The shirt, rolled up at the sleeve, is of linen, a political statement, as there was not to be linen used in American unless it was imported. Boston ladies objected to this, and in that year, they made over 100 yards of linen for themselves! Revere is supposed to have honored this act of defiance, sporting a symbol of his country's freedom! The teapot is intriguing as well. Only Tories (loyalists) drank tea. Whigs (revolutionaries) drank "Boston Tea" which was actually punch. Paul shows his expert workmanship, not merely a vessel for tea. Though Copley finished the portrait, he was torn as he was connected with the Tories, so he signed it, but in extremely tiny letters that you really have to look for them. His political statement!