Object Name: Pin tray
Dimensions: Overall: 5 1/4 × 5/8 × 6 in., 2 oz (troy) 4.4 dwt (13.3 × 1.6 × 15.2 cm, 69 g)
Place made: Europe, Dutch Republic, Amsterdam
Description: Wrought silver pin tray; shamrock shaped with four oval depressions around a raised oval in the center engraved, "C D P" in foliate script; between each oval is a raised heart; four cast scroll legs applied beneath the ovals; maker's marks stamped on the base.
Credit Line: Bequest of Catharine Augusta de Peyster
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Object Number: 1911.48
Marks: engraved: in the center: "C D P" in foliate bright-cut script Maker's mark "IR" in rectangle; the Dutch lion (crowned lion rampant); Amsterdam city mark (three crosses in a shield crowned); and date letter "W" for 1683 all struck on underside.
Made to hold the straight pins that were essential to fastening a woman's dress in the seventeenth century, this tray is a type found in large, elaborate toilet sets used by aristocratic women beginning in the seventeenth century. It is unclear whether the tray once belonged to a set or was purchased as a stand-alone item. Made from extremely thin-gauge silver using basic techniques, the tray would not have represented a large investment of either silver or labor. Its design and construction, however, are careful and deliberate. The engraved initials link the tray to Catharina De Peyster (1665-before 1734) and the raised hearts suggest that it may have been purchased as a wedding gift for her 1683 marriage.
Catharina De Peyster (1665-before 1734), who married Abraham De Peyster (1657-1728); to their son Abraham De Peyster, Jr. (1696-1767), who married Margaretta Van Cortlandt (1694-1769); to their son James A. De Peyster (1726-1799), who married Sarah Reade (1724-1802); to their son Colonel Abraham De Peyster (1753-1799), who married Catharine Augusta Livingston (1759-1839); to their son William Axtell De Peyster (1793-1856), who married Mary Beekman (1800-1885); to their daughter, Catharine Augusta De Peyster (1835-1911), the donor.
Krohn, Deborah, Peter Miller, and Marybeth De Filippis, eds., "Dutch New York Between East and West: The World of Margrieta van Varick." New York: Bard Graduate Center, New-York Historical Society, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009, p. 232-3
"Stories in Sterling: Four Centuries of Silver in New York," New-York Historical Society, New York, New York, May 4-September 23, 2012; Flagler Museum, Palm Beach, Florida, January 28-April 20, 2014.
"Dutch New York Between East and West: The World of Margarita van Varick," Bard Graduate Center, New York, NY, September 18, 2009-January 24, 2010.