Artifact Corner: Commemorative Teapot

Hi Everyone and welcome back to another artifact corner. Today we will be looking at a very special piece that has just recently become a part of our collections. This piece is a Blue Staffordshire china teapot, made sometime between 1816 and 1822. It was made to commemorate the Victory of the American Fleet over the British forces during the Battle of Plattsburgh. On both sides of the piece you will see written “Commodore Mac Donnough VICTORY.” Each side is a mirror image of the other, and it depicts two men standing on the shore watching as the battle itself rages on the lake.

This teapot is unsigned and does not contain a makers mark. It does however have a number on it. We are currently looking into try to identify the actual maker of this piece. We know of at least two other museums who have the exact same teapot in their collections. The Riverbrink Art Museum in Ontario Canada has the same teapot, and theirs is numbered with a 22. The other museum with the same teapot is Mystic Seaport in Connecticut. Their teapot is also unsigned and has a number 14 stamped on the bottom. Ours is numbered with a 3 at the bottom. Whether this was meant to indicated the number of pots being created, we simply don’t know for sure. Often times when manufacturing items in limited quantities, the makers would number them, but we don’t know if that’s why all of these pieces have different numbers on them.

Our museum was long seen as a collective memory bank, a place that stores the treasures from our community. In recent years we have stopped accepting pieces that are not directly linked to the Delord family. Now, you might ask yourself, why would we do that? Well, for starters, we have over 10,000 items in our current collections. If you take a tour through our museum, you will see about 1/10th of what we have on hand. The rest of the collections are discreetly stored out of view to the general public. Some things are too fragile to be moved often, and so are not put out on exhibit, while other things are slowly rotated through and currently stored away until they’re back out on display. We also realized that we could no longer accept new donations because we were simply running out of room to store all of these priceless items. Keep in mind we only have the house proper where we can store all of our precious artifacts.

With that being said, this past Fall we made an exception. In November we were contacted by a woman all the way from Whitefish Bay, WI. Kathy Rogers inherited a teapot from her grandmother, who purchased it in an estate sale in Ohio in the 1950’s. When her grandmother bought it, it was already missing its lid, but otherwise is in the same fantastic condition. How it ended up in an estate sale in Ohio is anyone’s guess. Kathy emailed us and asked if this might be something we would be interested in adding to our collections, and we said a resounding yes!

This teapot will be on display this season in the foyer along with a portrait that Macdonough gifted to the Delords before he left Plattsburgh. This is a beautiful and unique piece, and we are so lucky to have it join our collections! A special thanks to Kathy Rogers for generously donating this teapot to us. It will take pride of place in our museum. Please come by and see us this season, and check out this stunning teapot! Thanks so much for stopping by!

Music: Acoustic Breeze by Benjamin Tissot,