Caster

1750–70
Probably by William Homes, Sr. (1716/17–1785)


Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts

Dimensions

12.7 x 5.6 cm (5 x 2 3/16 in.)

Accession Number

1973.626

Medium or Technique

Silver

Not On View

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Silver hollowware

The raised pear-shaped caster with a center punch has a raised bowl-shaped lower section, to which a cast and molded circular foot has been soldered. An applied midband conceals the joint with the upper body, which has a seamed concave form that tapers inward to form a cylinder; applied molding is soldered at its rim. The tall domed lid with acorn finial has a flared rim and pierced and engraved foliate decoration. It has a friction-fitted lid with a worn flange.


This caster is one of four currently known by Homes. The pierced foliate decoration on the lid is unusual for a Boston-made caster, which ordinarily had more geometric piercings by this date.

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

Engraved "LB [conjoined] / L [pellet] L" below midband of vessel.

Markings

Indistinctly marked "HO. . . " below rim of vessel, opposite seam.

Provenance

According to the donor, the caster was originally owned by Gov. William Bradford (1589 – 1657), but the engraved initials suggest that a more likely owner was Bradford’s great-granddaughter Lydia Bradford (1719 – 1756). In 1743 she became the second wife of Dr. Lazarus LeBaron (1698 – 1773) of Plymouth, Massachusetts, the son of Francis LeBaron, first doctor of the Plymouth Colony. The caster passed to their daughter Elizabeth (1745 – 1829) and Ammi Ruhami Robbins (1740 – 1813), m. 1762. Due to family history claiming descent through the eldest daughter, the caster probably passed to their daughter Elizabeth Robbins (1770 – 1815) and Grove Lawrence (b. 1766), m. 1789; to their daughter Eliza Lawrence (1793 – 1850) and Timothy J. Gridley (b. 1788); to their daughter Sarah Battell Gridley (b. 1825) and Charles E. Delano (1820 – 1883), m. 1848. The caster was transferred to her third cousin, the Rev. Howard Chandler Robbins, M.D. (1876 – 1952), and Mary Louise Bayles (1879 – 1965), m. 1907, and thence to their niece, the donor.

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Robert E. Montgomery