National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Silver Spout Cup Silver Spout Cup
Rendered by Palmyra Pimentel (artist), c. 1938
graphite on paper
overall: 29.3 x 22.8 cm (11 9/16 x 9 in.) Original IAD Object: 3 3/5" high; 5 1/4" high
Index of American Design
Not on View
From the Tour: Metalwork from the Index of American Design
Object 16 of 17

In early America, silversmithing was practiced primarily in the urban centers of New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, where social and intellectual connections with England were strongest. English silver provided the standard in quality and fashion, reflected by American silver work. Craftsmen obtained their material most often by melting down old coins or silverware. From flat silver sheets, the craftsmen hammered the metal into the desired shape. After the piece was formed, the surface was smoothed by beating it lightly with a special hammer. By the mid-eighteenth century, thumbpieces, finials, and handles were cast in silver and soldered onto the body. This piece is a spout cup made by the Boston silversmith John Edwards in the early eighteenth century. He is identified by the small mark on the neck of the cup, which he used to sign his products. Spout cups were used for drinking by small children, the sick, and the elderly. The design of this one is simple but refined, unlike more elaborate forms common in that period. The cup is set on a foot ring and has a flat strap handle and a slender, curving spout. Incised bands around the neck of the cup are repeated around the base and on the handle, serving to further emphasize the restraint and elegance of this piece.

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