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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

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Samuel Edwards, American, 1705-1762

Sauceboat (one of a pair)
About 1740-45
Gift of Louise C. and Frank L. Harrington, Class of 1924, in honor of Kathryn C. Buhler; M.984.63.2


Sauceboats, or “butter boats,” as they were sometimes called, were introduced in America in the first half of the eighteenth century. These examples by Samuel Edwards are distinguished by their ample proportions and uncharacteristic arrangement of cast feet. By fitting two feet in front and one in back, Edwards reversed the standard placement of feet on sauceboats. Also atypical is the tubular extension that joins the base of each handle to the body in order to accommodate the foot below. The result is an inventive treatment of a sophisticated form. Boston silversmith Samuel Edwards was born into a family of distinguished silversmiths. Together with his brother, Thomas, he learned his craft from his father, John Edwards, who was well known for his production of church silver. Samuel Edwards’s estate inventory reveals that he was involved in the production and sale of a wide variety of metal goods, ranging from toys and jewelry to wrought silver and goldsmith tools. He was also active in community affairs as an assessor and with the Brattle Street Church. Known silver by Edwards is generally simple in form and decoration. His obituary in the Boston Gazette described him as “a Man of Integrity; exact and faithful in all his Transactions.” In a business that centered on buying and selling such valuable commodities as silver and gold, trustworthiness was considered an essential character trait. Frank L. Harrington donated these sauceboats in honor of Kathryn C. Buhler, a noteworthy silver authority and curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, who advised him on many of his silver acquisitions.

Last Updated: 4/29/09