Benjamin Goodwin (about 1731–1792)

Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts


12.4 x 13.4 x 8.1 cm (4 7/8 x 5 1/4 x 3 3/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View




Silver hollowware

The raised tulip-shaped vessel is soldered to a cast splayed foot with an applied foot ring. The scrolled cast handle has a thumbgrip and double drop at upper joining to body; the lower section has a simplified bud-and-tendril terminus, a distinctively broad gap for the air vent, and an elliptical disk where it joins the body. Pitting is visible along the seam of the handle.

Multiple intermarriages among eighteenth-century families were common. However, when two Goodwin brothers and two LeBaron sisters married, a rising Boston family was joined with that of a revered French Huguenot family from Plymouth. Silversmith Benjamin Goodwin fashioned this cann for his older brother Nathaniel, who married Lydia LeBaron of Plymouth in 1745. Twelve years later, Benjamin married Lydia’s younger sister Hannah (1734 – 1775).
This cann was made sometime after 1752, by which time Benjamin had completed his apprenticeship with Jacob Hurd. Its standard tulip shape is much like those made by Hurd, whose shop produced more than fifty examples between 1735 and 1750. It is one of three objects that the craftsman made for his brother and sister-in-law, which include a tankard bearing the Goodwin arms and a porringer dating from the same period. Despite his long career as a Boston silversmith who probably trained his own son Joseph (1761 – 1821+) in the craft, Goodwin flourished as a merchant and distiller. Five objects are attributed to him.

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.


The thumbgrip is engraved "G / N * L" in shaded roman letters.


The touchmark "B.Goodwin," rendered in upper and lower case within a rectangle, is struck on the base of the vessel below the center point.


Fashioned by the silversmith for his brother Nathaniel Goodwin (1724 – 1766) and Lydia LeBaron (also spelled LeBarron) (1724 – 1801), m. 1745/46. She was the daughter of physician Lazarus LeBaron (1698 – 1773) of Plymouth, Massachusetts, and his first wife, Lydia Bartlett LeBaron (1697/98 – 1742).2 The cann descended to their son Nathaniel (1748 – 1819), a trader, and his wife, Mary Jackson (d. 1779), m. 1769; by descent to their daughter Lydia Goodwin (1779 – 1846) and Joseph Locke (1772 – 1853) of Billerica, Massachusetts, m. 1803; to their daughter Harriet Locke (b. 1807) and John Donaldson Locke (b. 1791) of Louisville, Kentucky, m. 1838. To their son Joseph Henry Locke (b. 1841) and Fannie Buckminster Churchill; by descent to their son Hersey Goodwin Locke (1863 – 1922)3 and Julia Delaplaine Williams Emory (d. after 1922); to their daughter Anne Locke (1903 – 1971) of New York City and her husband, Charles Darrow Gowing (1905 – 1990), of Brookline, Massachusetts, m. 1932

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Charles D. Gowing, in memory of Anne Locke Gowing