Boat Salt Dish

Boston and Sandwich Glass Company, American, active 1825 - 1888
Sandwich, Massachusetts


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about 1830

Mottled opaque dark and light blue lead glass, pressed

Overall: 1 9/16 × 3 9/16 × 1 9/16 in. (4 × 9 × 4 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the Hood Museum of Art Acquisitions Fund



Place Made: United States, North America


19th century

Object Name

Tools and Equipment: Food Service

Research Area

Decorative Arts

On view


The production of pressed glass is considered one of the most important American contributions to the history of glass. Developed in the mid-1820s, the technique involved shaping and decorating glass in molds in conjunction with lever-operated presses, which allowed for the standardization of forms and increased output at lower costs. Glass pressing facilitated the production of sharply delineated patterns in complex shapes, as evidenced by this charming boat salt dish. Commemorating the Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette, who had toured the nation in 1824, it takes the shape of a side-wheeled steamboat embossed “LAFAYET” [sic].

From the 2019 exhibition American Art, Colonial to Modern, curated by Barbara J. MacAdam, Jonathan L. Cohen Curator of American Art


Artists from different nations and backgrounds made the small boats and other artworks in this case. Before cars, trains, and planes, boats connected the world. These objects reflect the global movement of peoples and trade between Indigenous and Colonial nations.

White protestant and catholic missionaries sailed around the globe attempting to convert Indigenous peoples to western religions. The upright (and uptight) missionary figures appear stiff and unmoving, perhaps reflecting the maker’s opinion that colonizing missionaries failed to fully appreciate the complexity of Haida culture.

The necklaces are made from dentalium, a narrow white seashell harvested by Indigenous peoples along the western coast of North America. Indigenous Americans traded dentalium across the continent, exchanging it for turquoise from the Southwest or dyes and hides from other regions. Dentalium’s movement reflects a history of complex international trade between Indigenous Nations that predates the arrival of European colonizers.

From the 2023 exhibition Liquidity: Art, Commodities, and Water, curated by Michael Hartman, Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art

Course History

First Year Student Enrichment Program - Cultures, Identities and Belongings, Francine A'Ness, Summer 2023

Exhibition History

American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Museum of Art, William B. Jaffe and Evelyn A. Jaffe Hall Galleries, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, June 9-December 9, 2007.

American Art, Colonial to Modern, Israel Sack Gallery and Rush Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 26, 2019-September 12, 2021.

Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, March 2, 2009-present.

Liquidity: Art, Commodities, and Water, Israel Sack Gallery and the Rush Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, July 29, 2023-June 16, 2024.

Publication History

Barbara J. MacAdam, American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Muesum of Art, Hanover: Trustees of Dartmouth College, 2007, p. 206, no. 181.


The New Bedford Museum of Glass, New Bedford, Massachusetts; sold to present collection, 2006.

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