Benjamin Hurd (American, 1739–1781)
Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts
10 x 9.4 x 6.6 cm (3 15/16 x 3 11/16 x 2 5/8 in.)
Medium or Technique
Not On View
The raised bulbous body ascends to a narrow neck and everted scalloped rim. A high curved pouring lip has been added by means of a scarf joint. Three cast cabriole legs have shells at the body and webbed trifid feet. The cast double-scroll handle, with its narrow thumbgrip, is attached at right angles to the rim. The lower end of the handle, which terminates in a forked tip, has been reattached, as have the two front legs. An additional repair has been made to the body, around the left front leg.
This Rococo-style creamer by Benjamin Hurd, with its scalloped rim and elegant extended spout, has been made in the economical manner often found in the work of Boston silversmiths. Like this example, many Boston creamers have curved spouts that are applied to their raised forms with an overlapping scarf joint. The approach follows the tradition of previous decades, when small, pinched, V-shaped spouts were added to pear-shaped bodies. This method neatly solved the problem of raising a vessel in the new, asymmetrical style featuring an integral spout, which would otherwise have required a disproportionate amount of silver, much of which would have been sawn away, to form the pouring lip. With the loss of silver surface through polishing, the telltale U-shaped shadow of solder marks can sometimes be discerned.
This practice was handed down in at least two instances, by Paul Revere I to his son and, as demonstrated in this example, by Jacob Hurd to his son Benjamin.
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 entwined monogram "CJY" engraved later on the body, opposite the handle.
The base of the vessel is twice-marked "B [device] H" within a rectangle.
The initials, engraved in the second, or third decade of the nineteenth century, stand for the first known owner, Caroline James (b. 1807) of Boston, who married Rev. Alexander Young (1800-1854) in 1826. By descent to their daughter, Caroline James Young (b. about 1838/39) and General Robert Hooper Stevenson (b. 1838),1 m. 1872, and thence to their son, Robert Hooper Stevenson (1876-1965) and his wife, Alice-Lee Whitridge Thomas (d. 1972), m. 1916.2 Having no children, the creamer descended to their nieces and grandnephews, the donors.
1Alfred S. Roe, The Twenty-Fourth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteers 1861-1866, "New England Guard Regiment," (Worcester, Ma.: Twenty-Fourth Veteran Association, 1907), p. 452; Charles Henry Pope and Thomas Hooper, comp., Hooper Genealogy (Boston: Charles H. Pope, 1908), pp. 126-27; Dictionary of American Biography XX:618-19.
2 Harvard Class of 1897, 25th Anniversary Report (Cambridge: Harvard University, 1922), p. 530; Massachusetts Vital Records, Index To Marriages 1871-1875, Box 3, Vol 246, p. 165.
Gift from the nieces and grandnephews of Mrs. Alice -Lee T. Stevenson, late of Boston: Alice Lee Thomas Bradlee, Rosamond Whitridge Thomas Oppersdorff, Elizabeth Chadwick Thomas Gwin, Hans Rolle Oppersdorff and Mathias Thomas Oppersdorff in memory of General Robert Hooper Stevenson