Featured Collection Item: Charles A. Burnett Teapot
This teapot, in The Lyceum’s Howard W. Smith, Jr. Collection, demonstrates the beautiful and high quality work produced by Charles A. Burnett. Burnett, born in Virginia in 1769 was working by 1790. Although the reference has been lost, according to tradition he advertised in Alexandria in 1793. Burnett moved his shop to Georgetown by 1800, where he produced and retailed silver for close to fifty years. His customers ranged from tradesmen in search of personal silver, to the U.S. Government. The dog’s head spout and strawberry finial on this piece are just two examples of Burnett’s artistry in cast silver.
Howard W. Smith Jr., an Alexandria native and resident, was a collector and scholar of Alexandria-made silver for most of his life. The Howard W. Smith, Jr. Collection includes the work of several Alexandria and District of Columbia silversmiths including Adam Lynn, William Wallace Adam, John Adam, and John Potter, among others. From tea sets to serving wares and flatware, the collection comprises an array of different forms of silver.
Photo: Teapot marked by Charles A. Burnett, circa 1830. Howard W. Smith, Jr. Collection.