Porringer

about 1775–1800
Benjamin Bunker (1751–1842)


Object Place: Nantucket, Massachusetts, United States

Dimensions

Overall: 4.5 x 20.5 x 13.5 cm, 0.23 kg (1 3/4 x 8 1/16 x 5 5/16 in., 0.51 lb.)

Accession Number

1977.745

Medium or Technique

Silver

Not On View

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Silver hollowware

The low circular vessel has convex sides, an everted rim, and a dome in the bottom. The cast keyhole handle is soldered at a right angle to the rim; a center point appears in bottom of vessel. Evidence exists of an old repair to the porringer wall, opposite handle.


Benjamin Bunker was the most prolific eighteenth-century silversmith in Nantucket, Massachusetts. Although his master is unknown, Bunker may have apprenticed with Samuel Barrett (about 1735 – 1815), who probably arrived on the island about 1763. Bunker was listed as an armorer during the Revolution. For many years he was a Mason at the Nantucket Union Lodge, to which he made several gifts, including a ladle in 1774 and “too Complet Ivory Tipt Rolls and one Ivory mallet” in 1775. Bunker produced about ten porringers, and at least thirty spoons bear his mark.
The porringer remained popular with Americans long after it had passed out of fashion in England. This example bears a keyhole handle that was most commonly used by New England silversmiths during the last half of the century.

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

On top of handle, the entwined monogram "PMC" is engraved in sprigged script.

Markings

The roman letters "BB" within a rectangle are struck twice on back of handle.
Ada Mark X

Provenance

Early history unknown.

Credit Line

Gift of the Wunsch Americana Foundation