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Artifact Description

A well-known class of artifact and the only example recovered from the site of the SS Republic is an individual "Rebekah-at-the-Well" teapot featuring the brown Rockingham glaze popular in the mid-19th century. The so-called glaze was first produced in England in the late 18th century at the Swinton pottery on the estate of the Marquis of Rockingham. It was subsequently brought to America by Staffordshire potters who came to this country to work in the newly-established pottery industry. 

In 1851, Edwin Bennett of Baltimore, Maryland produced an earthenware teapot illustrating the Old Testament "Rebekah-at-the-Well" story derived from the Book of Genesis, one of the most frequently presented stories in American Bibles at the time. From a practical utilitarian standpoint, the dark glaze was effective in hiding tea stains. However, the decoration itself was the more influential selling point and quite possibly offered the single greatest contribution to the huge popularity of Rockingham ware teapots. Following its introduction by Bennett, nearly all of the potteries in the United States copied it. By the end of the century, the "Rebekah Tea Pot" was advertised in four different sizes. Remaining in production intermittently at the Edwin Bennett pottery until the factory burned down in 1936, the "Rebekah-at-the-Well" teapot became the best and longest selling Rockingham ware pattern in history.

Other Details

H: 12.5 cm

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