French (Paris)
Marked by Mathieu de Machy (French, master 1770, still living 1793)

Object Place: Europe, Paris, France


40.96 cm (16 1/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Silver and ebonized wood

Not On View





Triangular plinth on 3 ball feet. Vase shaped body, curved legs, cast leaf decoration. Engraved around rim. Angular handles. Spigot from mask. High domed cover.


In bright-cut medallion: "To Charles Bulfinch Esqr Presented by the Catholics of Boston Jany 1, 1806"


In cover, in cover of lamp, and on bottom under plinth: charge, year, and maker. On top and bezel of voer, on edge of wick-holder, cover of lamp, and edge of plinth: discharge mark; on belzel of voer, edge will, wick-holder, and cover of lamp, on rim, and on edge of plinth: census mark with 1798-1809.


1806, given by the Catholics of Boston to Charles Bulfinch (b. 1763 - d. 1844), Boston [see note 1]; by descent to his son, Thomas Bulfinch (b. 1796 - d. 1867); bequeathed by Thomas Bulfinch to his brother, Stephen Greenleaf Bulfinch (b. 1809 - d. 1870); by descent to his wife, Caroline Phelps Bulfinch (b. 1814 - d. 1904); 1904, by descent to her daughter, Ellen Susan Bulfinch (b. 1844); 1916, gift of Ellen Susan Bulfinch to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 8, 1916)

[1] A letter in the MFA curatorial file from Ellen Susan Bulfinch to Arthur Fairbanks of the MFA (June 4, 1916) details the provenance of the urn. Miss Bulfinch explains that her grandfather, the architect Charles Bulfinch, presented his plans for the Church of the Holy Cross (the first Roman Catholic church in Boston) on September 29, 1803 and that "in grateful recognition of Mr. Bulfinch's gift the silver urn, suitably inscribed, was presented to him." The urn is inscribed: "To Charles Bulfinch Esqr. / Presented by the Catholics of Boston / Jan.y 1, 1806."

Credit Line

Gift of Miss Ellen Susan Bulfinch