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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst


Maker(s):Coney, John
Culture:American (1655/56-1722)
Title:spout cup
Date Made:ca. 1710
Type:Food Service
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts; Boston
Measurements:overall: 5 x 2 3/16 in.; 12.7 x 5.5563 cm
Accession Number:  HD 64.024

Silver spout cup made with the touchmark "IC" in roman letters over a fleur-de-lis in a heart shape for John Coney (1655/56-1722); and engraved with the initials "SP" on the base and with an elaborate and unusual heraldic device (arms not yet identified) on lower body opposite the handle. A spout cup was usually a covered cup with a handle at right angles to the long thin spout, which is described by Beth Wees as a form used in the 17th and early 18th centuries for drinking curdled beverages such as posset or syllabub. The low-based spout would allow the drinker to partake only of the liquid that settled below the thick curdled layer. Although common at the time, few English spout cups survive; those that do are generally fitted with silver rather than wooden handles. They are somewhat more common in American silver, particularly in New England. It has also been suggested that vessels of this design were used as cruets for oil and vinegar. John Coney was unquestionably one of the giants of early American silver; in quality, quantity, and variety, his work in silver is unsurpassed and some consider him as the preeminent goldsmith of the colonial era. Born in Boston (his father was the blacksmith, John Coney), Coney was apprenticed at the age of fourteen to the master silversmith, Jeremiah Dummer. On his own, Coney created artistic and ambitious pieces of silver, including sugar boxes, monteiths, and inkstands. The cup has a separate, stepped domed cover with a cast finial; a cylindrical, banded upper body over a bulbous lower body; an attached, cast, scrolled handle with a beaded rattail on the outer edge; and a spout that joins body at right angle with the handle and rises to the level of the cover. There is a similar example in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The lower body is heavily scratched. Wgt. 7 ozs., 7 dwts., 14 grs.

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