Museum Finds: Paul Revere’s tankard is in Colonial Williamsburg

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Part of an occasional series showcasing interesting pieces in area museums or highlighting the stories behind them. This week we’re at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum of Colonial Williamsburg.

An often-told story of the Revolutionary War is that of Paul Revere’s 1775 “midnight ride.” He rode through the outskirts of Boston warning rebel colonists that warring British troops were approaching. After he died, his trip became more revered — though often inaccurately recounted — through poetry (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, in 1860) and song, including Up with People’s 1969 take.

Another of Revere’s enduring legacies is his work as a silversmith.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation recently acquired a tankard made by Revere, one of about three dozen known to have been made in his shop.

The tankard was made around 1795 and has tapered sides, a tall, domed lid, and a finial in the form of a pine cone. It’s about 10 inches tall and can hold 6 cups of wine, ale or cider. The owner’s name isn’t engraved on it, but the foundation says an owner might one day be identified by comparing its decorative features and weight (nearly 34 troy ounces) with studies of Revere’s shop records. (When full, the tankard would have been a hoist, just under 5 ½ pounds.)

It is on display in the museum’s “Silver from Mine to Masterpiece” exhibition in the Margaret Moore Hall Gallery at the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, 301 S. Nassau St.

Museum tickets: Adults, $14.99; youths 6 to 12, $8.99. Children under 6 get in free.

Museum admission is included in Colonial Williamsburg admission. Tickets: colonialwilliamsburg.org/tickets

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