Tankard

Object Number: 
1950.256
Date: 
ca. 1793
Medium: 
Silver
Dimensions: 
Overall: 8 1/4 x 5 5/8 x 7 7/8 in. ( 21 x 14.3 x 20 cm ) Silver Weight: 34 oz (troy) 18 dwt (1086 g)
Marks: 
Inscription: engraved on the lid: cipher "R R L" decorated with foliate tendrils Maker's marks: on base, stamped four times, "DV" in rectangular surround around center punch. Note: marks unusual for Van Voorhis, require additional research Engraving:
Description: 
Wrought silver tankard; circular body with straight sides tapered from applied, molded, baseband with a beaded band around the bottom; applied, molded, flared lip; flat lid with a slight flange at the front and a beaded edge; lid engraved, "R R L" in foliate bright-cut script; applied cut work thumbpiece with a heart in the center and molded hinge-plate with a broad molded drop over smaller teardrop drop; scroll handle with an oval disk terminal; engraved shield with the arms of the Lenox family suspended from a bow-knot and floral garlands; Lenox arms divided into four quarters, first and fourth quarters divided by St. Andrew's crosses with four roses between, second and third, three salmon hauriant with rings through their noses; shield above a banner with Lenox family motto, "AUCTOR * PRETIOSA * FACIT"; maker's mark stamped four times on the base.
Gallery Label: 
Silver tankards declined in popularity after the Revolutionary War. A small number made after 1780 survive, although most of the known examples were constructed in the hooped style and manufactured in Pennsylvania or Baltimore. This tankard, with a shaped, flat cover, sleek silhouette, and bright-cut foliate engraving, is one of the few known Neoclassical New York examples extant. With its straight, tapered sides, it combines the basic form of traditional colonial tankards with fashionable Neoclassical decoration. The foliate initials engraved on the cover indicate that the tankard was owned by New York merchant Robert Lenox (1759-1839) and his wife, Rachel Carmer (1763-1843), who married in 1793.
Bibliography: 
Hofer, Margaret K. "Seventeenth-and eighteenth-century family silver." The Magazine Antiques 167 (2005): 156-161.
Credit Line: 
Bequest of Waldron Phoenix Belknap Jr.
Provenance: 
Robert (1759-1839) and Rachel Carmer Lenox (1763-1843); descent uncertain; to Robert Ensko Inc., New York City; purchased from Ensko in 1946 by Waldron Phoenix Belknap, Jr. (1899-1949), the donor.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group