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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
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Maker(s):Brancker, Benjamin (attributed)
Culture:English
Title:tobacco box
Date Made:ca. 1720
Type:Personal Gear; Container
Materials:silver, gilding
Place Made:United Kingdom; England; Liverpool
Measurements:overall: 1 7/16 in x 3 1/4 in x 4 1/8 in; 3.65125 cm x 8.255 cm x 10.4775 cm
Accession Number:  HD 54.101
1954-101t.jpg

Description:
Silver tobacco or patch box with a friction fit cover and gilded interior, which is marked "BB" and "B" in ovals three times on the side; engraved with the crest of "a stag, trippant" and coat of arms with chevron between three leopard's heads over the motto "GRAS NESCIO CUIUS" surrounded by military emblems such as cannons, hatchets, a helmet and horns; and an elaborate, double cypher on the base. The arms are similar to those of several the Parker families, for which many famlly branches are listed in England; the closest Parker family example combining stag and leopards' heads is to the early coats of arms of the Parker of Exwistle although those arms are listed as "gu. a chevron bewteen three leopards' heads with arrow in mouth of each leopard" and the crest, "a buck trippant ppr. transpierced through the body with an arrow point downwards, arg." The motto is not listed in "Fairbairn's Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland" or Burke's, nor found on any web search. A frequently used Parker motto is "Non fluctu, non flatu movetur" (Is moved neither by wind nor wave). There is no similar crest in branches of the family which moved to America. This box was originally thought to be by Benjamin Brenton (1695-1749) of Newport, Rhode Island, who became a freemen in 1717; his relative Benjamin Brenton (1710-1766) was also a silversmith working from circa 1730 to 1747 and used the "BB" touchmark. This box is now attributed to Liverpool silversmith, Benjamin Brancker (working c.1681-1734). This box was one of 92 pieces in the Watson-Crichton Collection (Watson #35) acquired by the Flynts in 1954 from Victor A. Watson (1897-1974), son-in-law and partner of Lionel Alfred Crichton (1866-1938), a retail silversmith and dealer in antique plate with shops in London, New York City and Chicago. Crichton, who was considered one of Britain's most prominent silver dealers of the early 20th century, started collecting American colonial silver for his own personal interest after WWI; the Watsons refused to sell the collection until meeting the Flynts. American silver found in England with English family heirlooms has been called "loyalist silver," since many pieces came to England with returning loyalists; however, this broadly-used term does not allow for pieces sent as gifts and taken over later.

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