Camp cup

1783
Joseph Anthony, Jr. (1762–1814)


Object Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Dimensions

4 x 3.5 cm (1 9/16 x 1 3/8 in.)

Accession Number

1978.679

Medium or Technique

Silver

Not On View

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Silver hollowware

The small, raised, straight-sided cup with center point flares outward from a flat base and is scored twice below rim.


Simple, stackable, and portable silver camp cups were commonly included among a well-equipped officer’s possessions. They offered, in miniature, an elegant respite from the rigors of war. Typically monogrammed or engraved with heraldic crests and made in sets of two to twelve, these cups were used to serve strong spirits and wine. Their capacity, as noted by Jennifer Goldsborough, was similar to that of glassware of the period, which was designed to hold about two ounces and often replenished in social settings. It is perhaps due to their small size and hard use that many camp cups have disappeared, lost on the battlefield or in the melting pot.
Newport-trained silversmith Joseph Anthony Jr. enjoyed access to patronage of the political and mercantile elite, thanks in part to the success of his merchant father and through his own marriage to Henrietta Hillegas, daughter of the first treasurer of the United States. As an enterprising and prolific silversmith with a showroom and workshop in his Philadelphia home, Anthony counted George Washington, the Penn family, and the Cadwaladers among his patrons.
The son of a Gloucester, Massachusetts, merchant by the same name, Winthrop Sargent Jr. purchased domestic silver from Revere, as his father did before him. In 1782, while serving as aide-de-camp to Maj. Gen. Robert Howe, Sargent bought spoons and cups with engraved crests from Revere and engaged him to repair a holster. In view of these purchases, family history may be correct in noting that Sargent’s “army kit was furnished with plate made for him by Paul Revere.” In 1783 Sargent’s military service took him to Philadelphia, where he ordered from Anthony twelve camp cups, including the Museum’s example, and a ladle, all bearing the “WS” monogram. Five of the cups are now in the collection of the U.S. Department of State, a gift of the donor of the Museum’s camp cup; the other six were sold at auction in 1971.
Among surviving camp cups is a group by Philadelphia silversmith Richard Humphreys, who fashioned a half dozen large examples and two smaller ones for George Washington; one for Jeremiah Wadsworth of Connecticut; and a pair for Nathaniel Greene, who was second-in-command to Washington. Boston silversmith Joseph Edwards Jr. also produced six seamed camp cups for Greene. Philadelphia silversmith Allen Armstrong produced a pair of camp cups for Col. Jonas Simmons of Massachusetts.

This text has been adapted from “Silver of the Americas, 1600-2000,” edited by Jeannine Falino and Gerald W.R. Ward, published in 2008 by the MFA. Complete references can be found in that publication.

Inscription

Entwined monogram "WS" in sprigged script is engraved on side of cup. On base in later script is engraved "from / Camp Chest of / Major Winthrop Sargent / U.S.A. / 1776-1785."

Markings

On base, the mark "J [pellet] A" within a rectangle appears twice.
Ada Mark * F4430

Provenance

Major Winthrop Sargent (1753-1820), Gloucester, Massachusetts. Probable descent through the children of Sargent's first cousin, John Turner Sargent (1769-1813): Howard Sargent (1810-1872), and his wife Charlotte Cunningham (1818-1888); to their daughter Mary Sarah Sargent (1844-1908) and her husband Arthur Malcolm Thomas (1844-1879); to their daughter, Elizabeth Whitwell Thomas (b. 1868) and her husband Frederick Josiah Bradlee; to their son, a namesake of the original owner and donor, Sargent Bradlee (1898-1987).1

1Emma Worcester Sargent and Charles Sprague Sargent, Epes Sargent of Gloucester and his Descendants (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin Co., 1923), pp. 48, 187.

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Sargent Bradlee