Flagon

1722
John Burt (American, 1692/93–1745/46)


Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts

Dimensions

Overall: 35.9 x 25.5 cm, 1.77 kg, 19.1 cm (14 1/8 x 10 1/16 in., 3.9 lb., 7 1/2 in.)

Accession Number

1984.204

Medium or Technique

Silver

Not On View

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Silver hollowware

Flagon is a tall raised vessel tapering toward its opening and supported by a broad, stepped, raised base and applied foot molding. A drawn molded midband appears below each handle join. The high, stepped, and domed lid with a button finial is seated upon the applied everted rim, with a flange within. The scrolled thumbpiece descends to a five-part hinge and a short, applied baluster decoration on seamed C-scroll handle, which is scribed vertically along its flat exterior. The handle is attached to the body at its upper joint with a short, rounded rattail drop and at lower section with a flat oval disk. A cast grotesque mask appears at terminus, with a crescent-shaped air vent below.

Lid does not seat fully.


At least four flagons are known to have originated in the shop of John Burt. The two for the Marblehead church, seen here, were made in 1722. About one year later, Burt fashioned a flagon, a legacy of John Frizzell, for the Second Church in Boston. More than twenty years after that, he made another example for the New North Church of Boston.

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 in script, "Belonging / to that Church/ of Christ in Marblehead / of which the Revd Mr. / Edward Holyoke / is the pastor / 1722." The text appears wihtin an elliptical cartouche surrounded by foliate decoration; a cherubim surmounts the whole.

Markings

Marked to left of upper handle join, and below midband is stamped "IB" crowned, above a pellet, all within a shield.
Ada Mark * F3842

Provenance

The Second Congregational Church in Marblehead, Massachusetts (later called the Unitarian Universalist Church in Marblehead); purchased by the MFA from the church in 1984.

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated by a friend of the Department of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture and the Mary S. and Edward Jackson Holmes Fund