about 1817
Nathan Hobbs (about 1792–1868)

Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


8.5 x 5.8 cm (3 3/8 x 2 5/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View




Silver hollowware

The raised barrel-shaped beaker has a narrow gadrooned band at the foot and a lightly everted lip

Nathan Hobbs produced a body of silver that attests to his presence in the local community. His master remains unknown; he was listed as a jeweler, engraver, and silversmith in the Boston directories from 1816 to 1846. In addition to these three cups, during his career Hobbs produced ecclesiastical silver for the Church of Christ, Medford; First Congregational Society, Cohasset; and First Parish, Scituate.
Ephraim Eliot, the recipient of these cups, was the son of Andrew Eliot, who had graduated from Harvard College in 1737 and was ordained in 1742 at the New North Church in Boston. The elder Eliot was appointed president of Harvard College in 1773. It seems that Ephraim Eliot continued to serve the church in which his father was ordained. The cup was given in appreciation for his services as treasurer of the society.

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.


Engraved in script on body of vessel, "The New North Religious Society / - to - / Ephraim Eliot / - Their Treasurer from 1794-1817 -"


"HOBBS" marked within a rectangle, and with an eagle facing right within a serrated circle.


According to family history, the Samuel Burt teapot, David Jesse porringer, a London-made creampot, a cup by Nathan Hobbs, and a small cann by Harris Stanwood and company were acquired at different dates and passed along the matrilineal line. The cup was acquired in the following manner: Received as a gift to Ephraim Eliot, M.D. (1761-1827), the son of Rev. Andrew Eliot D.D. (1719-1773) and Elizabeth Langdon; Ephraim Eliot married Mary Fleet (1770-1815) in 1793. The cup passed to their daughter, Mary Fleet Eliot (1808-1897) and her husband, Ezekiel Lincoln of Hingham, Massachusestts; to their daughter Helen Frances Lincoln (____-____) the wife of Rev. Charles Williams Duane; to their daughter Louise Duane (____-___), wife of Bodine Wallace; to her daughter, Emily Wallace, in 1947 who donated the teapot in 1985 with her husband, Franklin H. Williams.

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs Franklin H. Williams in memory of Louise Bodine Wallace