View Larger Watering can


Virginia's hot and humid summers often resulted in drought which threatened kitchen gardens and plantation fields alike. On the occasions "that your Earth grows dry," advised Batty Langley in George Washington's 1728 copy of New Principles of Gardening, "'tis requisite to give it a moderate watering […] with a watering Pot and Rose." Accordingly, Washington erected a cistern in his lower kitchen that kept a ready supply of tepid water. It was gently spread about from the perforated head, or "rose," of a watering can much like this eighteenth-century example.


Watering-pot constructed of lead-soldered, horizontal lap- and vertical cramp-joined copper sheets; the cylindrical vessel is constructed from two wide strips of copper joined at the flaring waist; the outer walls are covered in small circular marks; the base is formed from a sheet of copper set into the bottom of the body; the set-in base is joined to the vessel walls with folded-over seams; the lid is joined to the walls with cramp seams and features a setback, rolled rim mouth; arching from the front of the cover to the back of the bottom wall of the vessel is a tubular copper handle; rising from the front of the bottom wall of the vessel is a tubular copper spout that is capped with a heavily dented flared head, its face is perforated in fifteen ever widening concentric circles; the spout head is bridged to the handle by a tubular spout brace.






Copper, lead solder, iron


Overall: 13 1/8 in. x 20 in. x 8 3/8 in. (33.35 cm x 50.8 cm x 21.29 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Sarah Key Patten, 1936


Stamped on the lid: "BALLOUARD".

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

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