AMERICAN HISTORICAL TEA SERVICE: LANDING OF THE PILGRIMS

By: John Hogan

The Pilgrims first landed at what was to become Provincetown, on Cape Cod, on November 21, 1620. A small party of men, led by Myles Standish, went ashore to explore.

AMERICAN HISTORICAL PORCELAIN TEA SERVICE, C. 1850-60

LANDING OF THE PILGRIMS TEA SERVICE

RIGHT SIDE PROFILE OF TEAPOT

LEFT SIDE PROFILE OF TEAPOT

SIDE PROFILE OF SUGAR BOWL

RIGHT SIDE PROFILE OF CREAMER

They  found a place where Native People had stored corn underground and confiscated it to use for seed. Due to lack of fresh water and poor soil, they decided to move on.

The pilot, Robert Coppin, remembered the bay from a previous visit. The area was called Patuxet by the Natives and Plymouth by the English, from an earlier map drawn by the explorer Captain John Smith. The Mayflower passengers may have also known from an account of a recent exploration that the area had been depopulated.

The exploring party landed in Plymouth on December 21, 1620.  No 17th century sources mention landing on a rock.
Nevertheless, Plymouth Rock has become one of the most enduring symbols of the Pilgrims.

The little band suffered mightily that first winter from both cold and disease. Of the 102 passengers who arrived on the Mayflower, only 52 remained alive by spring.

The Mayflower sailed back to England in the spring of 1621. Despite the hardships of the winter, none of the Pilgrims returned with the ship. The Mayflower resumed transporting cargo, never returning to Plymouth. By 1624, the sailing life was over and the ship was described as being "in ruins."

The Pilgrims begin to appear in American art in the early 1800s. America was a newly independent nation, looking for heroes she could call uniquely her own. Not surprisingly, scenes from this period emphasize the Pilgrims separating from the Old World or landing in the New World. These scenes show the Pilgrims as larger-than-life heroes who represent the virtues of piety and fortitude. Later scenes are more emotional, emphasizing sorrow and courage. Missing from the scenes is the Pilgrims' strong sense of identity as loyal Englishmen!

Scenes of the landing of the Pilgrims often suggest a land waiting for their arrival, available for colonists to occupy.  Some of the early scenes do reflect the reality that the continent was already occupied by Native people.  By the 1840s, Natives are absent from landing scenes, reflecting the emerging idea of "manifest destiny" and America's push to the Pacific Ocean.

Above information taken from: Pilgrim Hall Museum: www.pilgrimhall.org

 


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