about 1730–40
Jacob Hurd (American, 1702 or 1703–1758)

Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts


4.9 x 20 cm (1 15/16 x 7 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View




Silver hollowware

The raised vessel has a domed center, convex sides, and a slightly everted rim. A center point is visible inside and underneath the bowl. Many dents mark the side, and two large unskilled repairs are visible on the bottom.

This porringer is one of about forty-eight surviving examples made by the prolific Jacob Hurd, many of which were executed with the traditional keyhole-style handle.

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 "E * W" in shaded roman letters on the handle and facing toward the bowl.


To left of handle, "Hurd" is stamped in script, within an ellipse. On back of handle in upper and lower case "Jacob / Hurd" is stamped within a shield-shaped cartouche.


The initials “E * W” were engraved for one of two women in the Wendell family of Boston. Elizabeth Quincy (1706 – 1746), m. John Wendell (about 1703 – 1762) in 1724, may have owned the porringer; a second possibility is her daughter Elizabeth (1729 – 1777), for young unmarried women often possessed silver engraved with their maiden initials. The latter Elizabeth m. Capt. Solomon Davis (1715 – 1791) about 1750. The porringer descended through their daughter Elizabeth Davis (1758 – 1833) and Dr. David Townsend (1753 – 1829), m. 1785. By descent to their son David S. Townsend (1790 – 1852) and Elizabeth Gerry (1790 – 1882), m. 1816. To their daughter Catherine Augusta Townsend (1823 – 1902) and Edward Standish Sherman (1818 – 1882), m. 1852. To their daughter Katherine Wendell Sherman (1854 – 1927), who became second wife of her first cousin Edward Britton Townsend (1848 – 1910), m. 1892. By descent to their son Wendell Townsend (1893 – 1963), who made it a gift to his cousin, Anne Torbet, the donor and wife of Horace A. White (1914 – 1979), m. 1937.

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Horace A. White