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Sheffield plate, wood
Overall: 2 1/2 x 28 x 22 in. ( 6.4 x 71.1 x 55.9 cm )
Cast and seamed Sheffield plated tray; flat oval base with a wooden liner; vertically applied sides with geometric pierced work bands around the edges and pierced ovals with four leaf clovers around the center of the sides; engraved crosses made of ovals between the pierced work around the edges and bright-cut bell flower garlands around the center; applied reeded baseband and a cast, applied beaded band around the rim; cut ovoid handles at each end; no maker's marks.
Credit Line 
Bequest of Catherine Augusta De Peyster
Object Number 
Gallery Label 
Hot water urns for making tea were fashionable from the 1770s well into the nineteenth century. A hostess could dispense hot water from the urn's tap directly onto tea leaves in the teapot, ensuring freshly brewed, piping hot tea. Sterling silver urns of this size were rare in England and America, but less expensive versions in fused silver plate-popularly known as Sheffield plate-offered a convincing imitation at a fraction of the cost. This fused plate urn belonged to John Beekman (1768-1843), the fourth son of wealthy New York merchant James Beekman (1732-1807). The galleried tray, not made en suite with the urn but paired by the family, provided a convenient vehicle for carrying the tea service, cups and saucers, and spoons into the parlor and also protected the surface of the tea table from drips or spills.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group