Jeannine Falino, Museum of Arts and Design
Silver teapot by Paul Revere, Jr. (1734-1818), Boston, Massachusetts, 1760-1765, engraved with family crest of John Ross of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and “NOBILIS.EST.IRA. LEONIS” (The wrath of the lion is noble.), Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Pauline Revere Thayer Collection
Copper bookplate for Epes Sargent, Jr. (1721-1779) by Paul Revere, Jr. (1734-1818), Boston, Massachusetts, 1764, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Annie A. Hawley Bequest Fund
Studying silver, one of the most valuable of household goods in colonial America, provides a means of understanding the aspirations of colonists. Jeannine Falino will consider a broad cross-section of the Bostonians who purchased silver from the metalsmith and patriot Paul Revere, Jr. (1734–1818), son of silversmith Apollos Rivoire (aka Paul Revere, Sr.), to illustrate trends in silver ownership and taste in the mid-to-late 18th century.
Paul Revere was a silversmith and a printmaker with a keen sense of entrepreneurship. His success as a silversmith was partially attributable to higher-volume production of less expensive goods, i.e. , spoons and buckles, when many Bostonians of means preferred to buy their more substantial pieces from England. After the Revolution, while enjoying a newfound preference for American-made silver, Revere capitalized on the popularity of neoclassical forms by utilizing rolled sheet silver for fluted teawares. He also competed with “Liverpool” ceramic pitchers with silver, barrel-shaped water pitchers. Wealthier and middle-class citizens — tradesmen, lawyers and merchants — provided Revere with post-Revolutionary customers who could afford more costly tea sets. April’s speaker will offer some surprising insights into the taste of 18th century Bostonians, exactly which strata of society enjoyed Revere’s silver in their homes and how their taste for certain silver forms evolved over time.
Paul Revere’s multi-faceted activities brought him into contact with a wide range of prospective patrons. The survival of Paul Revere’s account book and a large body of Revere silver in museums and private collections permit Ms Falino to draw illuminating connections between Revere’s clientele and their participation within Boston’s spheres of religion, politics, public organizations and family and social relationships. Relatives, friends, neighbors, congregants of Paul Revere’s church, fellow Freemasons and members of revolutionary organizations all contributed to the well-connected entrepreneur’s success.
Jeannine Falino earned her bachelor’s degree in art history from Providence College, followed by a master’s degree in art history from Boston University. As a research assistant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, she contributed toward “The Art That Is Life”: The Arts and Crafts Movements in America, 1875–1920 (1998). As a National Museum Act intern, she conducted primary research on 40 colonial Massachusetts silversmiths for Colonial Massachusetts Silversmiths: A Biographical Dictionary Based on the Notes of Francis Hill Bigelow and John Marshall Phillips (1998). At the Yale University Art Gallery, she directed the cataloguing of 7,000 American drawings and watercolors.
Ms Falino returned to the MFA where she rose from curatorial assistant to assistant curator, and then curator of decorative arts and sculpture. There, she organized the conference on, and co-edited, Colonial Silver and Silversmithing in New England, 1620–1815 (2001). Her contribution to that publication is “ ‘The Pride Which Pervades thro’ every class’: The Customers of Paul Revere II.” Jeannine Falino subsequently moved to the New York City area where she has become an independent curator and adjunct curator to New York’s Museum of Arts and Design. As an oral history interviewer for the Smithsonian Institution’s Archives of American Art, she interviewed noted contemporary artisans, a jeweler, furniture maker and furniture designers.
Jeannine Falino contributed to and edited Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design (2011) and co-edited Silver of the Americas, 1600–2000 (2008), Artistic Luxury: Fabergé — Tiffany — Lalique (2008) and Gilded New York: Design, Fashion and Society (2013). She also contributed “The Monastic Ideal in Rural Massachusetts: Edward Pearson Pressey and New Clairvaux” to The Substance of Style: New Perspectives on the American Arts and Crafts Movement (1996). April’s speaker also contributed “Crafting Modernism: An Exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design” to Antiques and Fine Art (Autumn/Winter 2011). The breadth of Ms Falino’s research is evident from her two prior presentations to the Forum: “Gilded Lives: New York Fashion and Design, 1880–1914” (August 2013) and “Crafting Modernism: Midcentury Art and Design” (April 2012).