Wine cup

John Hull (American (born in England), 1624–1683), and Robert Sanderson, Sr. (American (born in England), 1608–1693)

Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts


Overall: 20.3 x 11.4 cm, 0.4 kg (8 x 4 1/2 in., 0.88 lb.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Manning House (Gallery LG36)




Silver hollowware

The raised straight-sided bowl opens outward from its base toward a flaring lip. A strengthening disk has been applied to the base. Some repair continues below to the first of two reel-shaped elements that form the top of the stem. The central baluster is in the shape of an inverted egg; below is a cast floral design with petals and beads. At the base, the baluster is soldered to a splayed foot with an applied, stepped ring at its perimeter.

This vessel is the most impressive of the wine cups by Hull and Sanderson that embody Mannerist elements then on the wane in England. The bowl has a wide rim that extends beyond the perimeter of the foot, and its stem, with inverted egg-shaped knop, adds to the unstable feeling. The cast beaded collar and petals below the knop have technical and aesthetic merit that is absent in the other cups.
The cast decoration emulates an English vessel marked “T. G.,” also in the First Church communion service, that was given by Jeremy Houchin between 1635, the time of his arrival in the colony, and his death in 1670. This is the second time that Houchin’s cup may have served as a model for Hull and Sanderson, who probably knew of its matte punched surface when fashioning their tunns (cat. no. 70). The delicately pricked initials of the owner, The Boston Church, within a cloud of foliate ornamentation are a more elaborate version of those found on a cup that the partners made for Richard and Alice Brackett of the Braintree Church.

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.


Below the rim, a pricked decoration in a foliated trefoil design contains the letters "T / B C." To the [viewer's] right of this design is the semi-script inscription "The Gift of A Freinde T * C."


Below the rim are two closely spaced marks; the first "IH" with a pellets above, all within a shield in the shape of a square surmounted by a circle, and the second, "RS" flanked by pellets with a partly effaced radiant sun above. Lower portion of mark is rounded at base, and incomplete above.1

1 Both marks compare favorably to Kane 1987, figs. 6a and 9a.


Made for the First Church, Boston; 1906, lent by the First Church to the MFA; 1906, returned; 1910, re-lent; 1970, the First Church merged with the Second Church to become the First and Second Church, Boston; 1999, purchased from the church by the MFA. (Accession date: June 23, 1999)

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated anonymously in honor of Jonathan L. Fairbanks