about 1750–75
John Coburn (American, 1724–1803)

Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts


27.6 x 2.8 cm (10 7/8 x 1 1/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View




Silver flatware

The shallow, raised, circular bowl has an applied molded rim. The bowl is pierced with a central star-shaped design, interspersed with densely arranged square, circular, and triangular elements. The cast handles of leafy, broken scroll design end in tipped loops.

Of the four published punch strainers made by John Coburn, two have cast Rococo-style handles in the mid-eighteenth-century style like the one seen here; two later examples have a simple, elongated U-shaped frame with a circular ring at each end. This punch strainer, along with a cann made about 1765, may be one of two pieces of silver that Coburn made for the Orne family of Salem.

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.


"E [pellet] O [pellet] P" engraved off-center on bottom of strainer.


Marked " J . COBURN" within a rectangle under each handle, below loop.


Since Coburn made little silver by the 1780s, it is unlikely that the initials "EOP," probably those of Esther Orne Paine (1774-1854), are those of the original owners. Coburn fashioned a cann about 1765 for the Orne family of Salem, and it is possible that this strainer passed to Esther from an Orne relative at the time of her marriage to Joseph Cabot (1770-1799) of Salem in 1795.(1) By descent to the anonymous donors.

1. L. Vernon Briggs, History and Genealogy of the Cabot Family, 1475-1927 (Boston: Goodspeed & Co., 1927), 268-69; Louisa Dresser, "The Orne Portraits by Joseph Badger" Worcester Art Museum Bulletin 1, no. 2 (February 1972): 1-16; Kane 1998, 300.

Credit Line

Anonymous gift