Chafing dish

about 1740
Thomas Edwards (American, 1701 or 1702–1755)

Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts


9.4 x 17.6 cm (3 11/16 x 6 15/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View




Silver hollowware

The raised bowl-shaped dish with everted rim and recessed ember box is supported on three broken-scroll legs attached at rim and base. The vessel’s wall is pierced in a stylized and symmetrical foliate pattern, which alternates at each leg with a pattern of five vertical panels. The circular grate with pierced whorl-like, design with star at center is secured by a nut-and-bolt arrangement. The legs have hoof feet and scrolled supports at rim. The original silver socket and wooden handle are missing. The Storer arms are engraved within an asymmetrical cartouche ornamented with raffles, diapers, scrolls, and flowers. One rim repair is located at the juncture with a scrolled support.

Originally one of a pair, this chafing dish and its mate may be those recorded as “2 Chaffing dishes 35 oz 15 dwt” in the 1787 estate of Isaac Smith, son-in-law of the original owners. The chafing dish joins its mate, which has been in the Museum’s collection since 1956. Stylistically, it resembles examples made by John Burt, several by Jacob Hurd, and one by John Potwine.

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.


On base "Storer 1723" in script appears above "S / E M" in shaded roman letters.


On base below bolt is stamped "T. Edwards" in italics within a rectangle.


Ebenezer Storer (1699 – 1761) and Mary Edwards (1700 – 1772), m. 1723; to their daughter Elizabeth Storer (1726 – 1786) and Isaac Smith (1719 – 1787), m. 1749. By descent to their son William Smith (1755 – 1816) and Hannah Carter (1764 – 1836), m. 1787; to their son Capt. Thomas Carter Smith (1796 – 1880) and Frances Barnard (1804 – 1885), m. 1831; to their daughter Frances Barnard Smith (1832 – 1916) and Thomas Davis Townsend (1826 – 1880), m. 1854; to their son Dr. Charles Wendell Townsend (1859 – 1934) and Gertrude Flint (about 1870 – 1917), m. 1891; to their daughter Margaret Townsend (b. 1894) and C. Hale Sutherland (b. about 1884), m. 1920; to their daughter Mary Flint Sutherland, the donor.
Lent in 1911 by Mrs. Charles W. Townsend to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and transferred to Mrs. Hale Sutherland in 1924, by descent to her daughter, the donor: Miss Mary Flint Sutherland.

Credit Line

Gift of Mary F. Sutherland