Gift of Louise C. and Frank L. Harrington, Class of 1924; M.971.22
This diminutive hexafoil-shaped salver with a trumpet base was used to serve wafers, biscuits, mints, or drinks. It is believed to be the only one of this shape among documented American silver. While English hexafoil salvers of this period usually had three or four feet, John Burt’s example retains the trumpet base used more than twenty years earlier by John Coney, with whom Burt likely trained. In contrast to the heavier ornamentation featured in the earlier example, this work’s visual appeal lies more in its pleasing hexafoil shape. Such an emphasis on clean, curvilinear forms was characteristic of the Queen Anne style that gained popularity in America during the second quarter of the eighteenth century. Burt, a native of Boston, produced mostly hollowware, including communion plate for New England churches and commissions from Harvard College. His considerable success enabled him to speculate in real estate (he purchased several parcels in Boston and Maine). He trained several apprentices as well as three of his sons—Samuel, William, and Benjamin—to follow his profession. Benjamin Burt, in particular, enjoyed an especially long and prolific career.
Last Updated: 5/6/09