Gift of Louise C. and Frank L. Harrington, Class of 1924; M.971.23
More than 225 pieces of silver by John Coney survive, attesting to his reputation as one of the most productive and versatile silversmiths of his time. He produced a tremendous variety of silver, simple or heavily ornamented, for both domestic and church use. He learned his trade from Jeremiah Dummer, with whom he would remain a close colleague. Thomas Blount’s Glossographia of 1661 defined a salver as a “new fashioned peece of wrought plate broad and flat, with a foot underneath, and is used in giving Beer or other liquid things to save the Carpit and Cloathes from drops.” The heavy reeding on the rim and foot of this salver is characteristic of the baroque style, which emphasized weighty proportions and rich, shimmering surface ornament. By this time, a period of great economic prosperity in Boston, silver had become an increasingly popular, and ever more opulent, form of displaying one’s wealth. Coney created some of the most beautiful and complex pieces of his era. This one is engraved with the Checkley family’s coat of arms. Demonstrating how silver often moved from the domestic to the ecclesiastical sphere, a later owner, Mrs. C. D. Wolfe, donated it in 1833 as a communion paten to Zion’s Church (St. George’s Church) in Newport, Rhode Island.
Last Updated: 4/29/09