David Jesse (American, born in England, 1669–1705 or 1706)

Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Manning House (Gallery LG36)




Silver hollowware

Slightly tapered cylindrical form with moulded base band; flat-topped cover with convex mould above flange, has scroll thumbpiece and decorative hinge. Scroll handle has short body drop and pointed tip.

David Jesse was apprenticed to London goldsmith Alexander Roode in 1682 and probably immigrated to Boston shortly after becoming freeman of the company in 1691. He married Mary Wilson, originally of Hartford, Connecticut, about 1698. This marriage once led scholars to believe that Jesse was born in Hartford, but he may have met his future wife or father-in-law, merchant Phineas Wilson, during one of the latter’s business trips to Boston.
Jesse’s London training and his wife’s considerable dowry provided him with the necessary skills to establish himself in the colonies. The quality of the surviving objects bearing his mark — two of which were purchased by churches in Dorchester and farther afield, in Farmington, Connecticut — suggest that his work was esteemed. The paucity of surviving examples can be partly explained by Jesse’s early death, in his mid-thirties. In addition, he may have encountered difficulties in becoming established in the Boston community, which was already close-k


RGK over earlier letters on handle


twice at left of handle and twice on cover


Early history unknown. Initials are for Rufus and Katharine (Stanbridge) Greene, m. 1728; descened in family to Martha Catharine (Codman) Karolik(1); 1921, lent by Miss Codman to MFA; 1939, gift of Mr and Mrs Karolik to the MFA. (Accession date: January 12, 1939)

1: Buhler catalogue: Rufus and Katharine (Stanbridge) Greene, m. 1728; their daughter Katharine (b. November 22, 1731; d. London, April 11, 1777), m. January 16, 1757, John (b.August 29, 1728; d. 1803), son of Thomas (1682-1728) and Rebecca (Holmes) Amory; their son, John Amory, Jr. (b. June 21, 1759), m. November 23, 1791, Katharine, daughter of Levi and Catharine (Chandler) Willard; their daughter Catharine Willard Amory (1796-1850), m. Henry Codman (1789-1853); their son John Amory Codman (1824-1886), m. Martha Pickman Rogers (1829-1905) 1850; their daughter Martha Catharine (Codman) Karolik.

Credit Line

The M. and M. Karolik Collection of Eighteenth-Century American Arts