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Paul Revere Tea Service

Paul Revere is famous for his patriotic “midnight ride,” in 1775. But did you know that he was also an artist? It’s true! Paul Revere was a silversmith. He created beautiful and usable plates, bowls, teapots, spoons, and many other household items from silver. He is considered one of colonial America’s most important silversmiths.

Paul Revere II
American (1735-1818)
Tea service, 1792-93
Silver and wood
Minneapolis Institute of Arts

A man with a silver touch
Silver, a precious metal indeed
The union of fashion and function

Silversmith’s Apprentice: Try your hand at the art of silversmithing! Cover a paper plate, paper cup, or plastic spoon with a layer of tinfoil. Using a dull pencil or a blunt tool, draw gently on the tinfoil to create your own monogram—an intricate design composed of your initials.  

Tea Party: It’s time for tea! With objects from the Silversmith’s Apprentice art project (above) or other serving pieces and utensils, assemble a tea set. Imagine you are living in colonial America and it’s time for tea. What would you serve at a tea party? How would the table be set? What manners are required at tea? Develop characters and a script for a colonial tea party.  

House Call: Visit the home of Paul Revere by going to the Paul Revere House Web site. Read the articles in "Just for Kids" to learn more about the famous silversmith's life. Find out about Revere's family and the house he lived in. How did his son carry on the family trade? Present some interesting facts to a small group in your class.  

A Day in the Life: Read the book A Day in the Life of a Colonial Silversmith, by Cathy Wilmore. How is life today different from life in colonial America? Would you like to have been a colonial silversmith?  

Family Treasures: The Templeman family used this tea set on special occasions and for serving guests. In your own home, do you use a particular set of dishes, silverware, glasses or other items on holidays and when visitors come? What makes those items special? Are they made of expensive material (silver, crystal)? Are they handmade (pottery)? Are they heirlooms handed down from generation to generation? Were they purchased, or received as a gift, for an important event such as a wedding? Why do you think people bring out the best on special occasions and for special people?  

February 2007