• Important American Furniture,  auction at Christies

    Sale 2287

    Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Silver & Chinese Export

    21 - 25 January 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 67

    A RARE SILVER MINIATURE CAUDLE CUP

    MARK OF JOHN HULL AND ROBERT SANDERSON, BOSTON, CIRCA 1665

    Price Realised  

    A RARE SILVER MINIATURE CAUDLE CUP
    MARK OF JOHN HULL AND ROBERT SANDERSON, BOSTON, CIRCA 1665
    Circular, with two ropetwist scroll handles, the lower body chased with stylized grapes on a stippled ground, the rim engraved with monogram E*T, marked on rim with Hull mark (Kane A) and Sanderson mark (Kane C)
    4 in. long; 1 oz. 10 dwt.


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    John Hull (c.1624-1683) and Robert Sanderson (c.1608-1693), the first working silversmiths in North America, became the Colonies' first mint masters when the Massachusetts Bay Colony established a mint in 1652. In that year, they established a partnership producing silver objects as well as coins, most notably the famous "Pine Tree" shilling. Trained in England, Sanderson moved to America for religious reasons, while Hull was brought to Massachusetts as a boy by his staunchly Puritan parents in 1635.

    King Charles II resented the coining of colonial currency, and "in great wrath questioned" Sir Thomas Temple (d. 1674), the first agent of the legislature of the Massachusetts colony to London (Some Events of Boston and Its Neighbors, 1917, p. 18). Sir Thomas also personally commissioned a silver dram cup from John Hull in 1673, at a cost of 8 shillings (John Hull's Ledger Books, Vol. I, p. 37V).

    Only 30 surviving pieces of hollowware and six spoons have been recorded from their 31-year partnership; the recent discovery of this cup by a Massachusetts family, descendants of the original owners, adds a 31st object to this group. While five full-size caudle cups survive, there is only one other miniature or "toy" caudle cup by these makers (in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). With its wide band of flat-chased ornament framed by punched beading, this cup relates to two examples at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and to the Joanna Yorke cup given to the church in Quincy (sold Sotheby's, New York, 19 January 2001, lot 253). The twisted-wire handles appear to match those on a dram cup, circa 1670, also at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (see Kathryn C. Buhler, American Silver in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1972, figs. 4, 5, and 6).

    For full biographies of Hull and Sanderson, see Patricia E. Kane, Colonial Massachusetts Silversmiths and Jewelers, 1998, pp. 567-572 and 882-886.


    IMAGE CAPTION: Pine Tree Shilling of 1652, by Hull and Sanderson, mint masters for the Massachusetts Bay Colony

    Provenance

    It is likely that the initials ET on this cup refer to a member of the Tilton or Turell families of Boston. The present owner of this cup is an 11th generation descendant of the Tilton family and a 10th generation descendant of the Turell family, and the cup likely descended to him through either Elizabeth Tilton (1867-1959) or Rebecca Armstrong Williams (1780-1852), both of Boston.

    Daniel Turell (1625-1693) was a blacksmith and sold land to silversmith John Hull (1624-1683) in 1674. The land, "all that parcel of Marish Land at Muddy River in the Township of Boston and County of Suffolke being four acres fifty three rod and ¾ of a rod" (Suffolk Deeds, Liber X., 1898, p. 9) cost Hull thirty-two pounds, nine shillings and eight pence. Hull and Turell also served together as officers in King Philip's War (1675-1676), under Majors Thomas Clarke and Thomas Savage.

    Elizabeth Tilton was a direct descendant of William Tilton (1586-1653) who was born in England and settled in Lynn in the 1640s. His son, Abraham Tilton (1639-1728), was a successful millwright and early settler of Ipswich, Massachusetts, around the time this miniature caudle cup was made.

    Rebecca Armstrong, the great-great-great granddaughter of Daniel Turell, married Elijah Williams (1772-1843), and their son, George F. Williams (1817-1882), a merchant and Boston Alderman, and his second wife Martha Ann Tilton Williams (1827-1919), left many pieces of family silver to their granddaughter Margaret Comer Williams (1888-1978). Elizabeth Tilton left a portion of her estate including a few family valuables to the same Margaret Williams, her second cousin and close friend.

    In 1978, many pieces of silver from both these family members were passed on to the current owner, a cousin of Margaret Williams and Elizabeth Tilton and direct descendant of Daniel Turell and William Tilton.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY OF A DESCENDANT OF THE ORIGINAL OWNER