Henry Hurst, American (born Sweden), 1666 - 1717
Overall: 7 1/4 in. (18.4 cm)
Lid: 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm)
Base: 4 7/8 in. (12.4 cm)
Rim: 4 1/8 in. (10.5 cm)
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchase made possible through the generosity of Frank L. Harrington, Class of 1924
Place Made: United States, North America
Tools and Equipment: Food Service
Not on view
Marked four times-twice at right of handle and twice on cover: HH [in cartouche]; engraved on front of body, in large foliated ornament: IPM [P superscript] (initials rubbed and barely legible); engraved on front, above ornament: The Gift of, Francis, And Mary Whitmore / To the first Church In Medford 1761; engraved on bottom: Mary Parker
One could say this tankard had three lives. It was first owned by Mary Parker (née Hancock), whose name is engraved on the bottom of the tankard. The three partially rubbed initials (a P above an I [for J] and an M) in the engraved foliate wreath cartouche indicate that it originally commemorated her marriage to John Parker.
After having served as a domestic drinking vessel for roughly fifty years, the tankard moved to the sacred realm in 1761. As indicated in its engraved inscription, that year Mary Parker’s second husband, John Francis Whitmore (and Mary Whitmore in name, as she had died the previous year) donated the tankard to the First Church in Medford. Although tankards were most often used as serving or drinking vessels for secular functions within the church, they also functioned as sacramental cups during the communion service. The adoption of an obviously domestic form for sacramental use in a Reformed church would appear to be an intentional rejection of the consciously elaborate ritual style of the Anglican and Roman Catholic Church.
When in 1987 the Hood Museum of Art acquired the tankard, it changed function and significance once more, as it moved from the ecclesiastical to the aesthetic realm. Within a museum setting, the tankard is no longer used as a drinking vessel—either secular or sacred—but is interpreted instead as a signifier of its 18th-century artistic, cultural, and religious context. At the same time it assumes all the aesthetic, social, and monetary associations associated with “fine art” in our own time.
From the 2019 exhibition American Art, Colonial to Modern, curated by Barbara J. MacAdam, Jonathan L. Cohen Curator of American Art
HIST 9.1, Empires and Colonies in North America, Paul Musselwhite, Fall 2014
HIST 9.01, America: From Invasion to Independence, Paul Musselwhite, Fall 2019
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.
American Church Silver of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries with a Few Pieces of Domestic Plate, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, July-December, 1911.
Do You See What I See?, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, December 17, 1988-March 5, 1989; Katonah Gallery, Katonah, New York, January 14-March 4, 1990.
Harrington Silver Case, Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, August 12, 2009-present.
Harrington Silver Case, Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, June 27, 1991-May 6, 1994.
Harrington Silver Case, Hopkins Center, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire.
New England Silver at Dartmouth College: A Tribute to Frank L. Harrington, Class of 1924, Hood Museum of Art Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, June 3-August 20, 1989, no. 51.
Katonah Gallery, "Do You See What I See," Katonah, New York: Katonah Gallery,1990.
Barbara J. MacAdam, New England Silver at Dartmouth College: A Tribute to Frank L. Harrington, Class of 1924, Hanover, New Hampshire: Trustees of Dartmouth College, 1989, no. 51.
The Decorative Arts Society Newsletter, Summer 1988, Vol. 14, #2, ill. p. 7.
E. Alfred Jones, The Old Silver of American Churches, Letchworth, England: Arden Press, 1913, p. 272, ill. LXXXIX.
American Church Silver of the Eighteenth Centuries with a Few Pieces of Domestic Plate, Exhibition Catalogue, Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1911, no. 683, ill. 22.
Eleanor H. Gustafson, The Magazine Antiques, Museum Accessions, ill. p. 600, March 1988.
Patricia E. Kane, Colonial Massachusetts Silversmiths and Jewlers, Hanover: University Press of New England, p. 622-624, 1998.
Barbara J. MacAdam, American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Muesum of Art, Hanover: Trustees of Dartmouth College, 2007, p. 185, no. 154.
Barbara J. MacAdam, Building on Dartmouth's Historic American Collections: Hood Museum of Art Acquisitions since 1985, The Magazine Antiques, November 2007, New York: Brant Publications, color ill. p. 145.
First Church of Christ, Medford. Firestone and Parson, Inc., Jewelers, Boston, Massachusetts, 1987.
This record is part of an active database that includes information from historic documentation that may not have been recently reviewed. Information may be inaccurate or incomplete. We also acknowledge some language and imagery may be offensive, violent, or discriminatory. These records reflect the institution’s history or the views of artists or scholars, past and present. Our collections research is ongoing.
We welcome questions, feedback, and suggestions for improvement. Please contact us at: Hood.Collections@dartmouth.edu