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Object Name: Coffeepot
Date: ca. 1750-1760
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Medium: Silver, wood
Dimensions: Overall: 4 7/8 × 12 1/8 × 10 1/4 in. (12.4 × 30.8 × 26 cm) Overall (weight, with wood): 53 oz (troy) 10 dwt (1664 g)
Place made: Jamaica, Kingston
Description: Wrought silver coffeepot; straight sides, seamed under the handle, tapered from the rounded base to the applied, stepped rim; body seated on a molded foot; hinged, molded, domed lid with a chased, "gadrooned" band around the center, floral chasing around the dome; turned pineapple finial; ebony s-scroll handle with silver handle socket scroll terminals, joined to the body with a scallop joint at the top and a four-leaf clover at the bottom; s-curve spout, cast in vertical halves, with elaborate foliate decoration all over the base and an acanthus pendant at the lip; chased scroll, foliate and cartouche designs all over the body; cartouche left of the handle engraved with the Ross family arms, a cross dividing four lions' heads; cartouche right of the handle bears the Ross family crest, a lion rampant from the waist up; maker's marks on the base.
Credit Line: Bequest of Emily Ellison Post in memory of her parents Charles Litchfield Ellison and Harriet E. (Morton) Ellison
Object Number: 1943.226
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Marks: Stamped on base: assay-master mark "A D" in a conforming ellipse, "A L F" conforming and an alligator head touchmark in a rectangle

Gallery Label:

This coffeepot is a rare example of eighteenth-century Jamaican silver and bears the marks of assay master Anthony Danvers, who assumed his post in 1749. Between 1747 and 1765, assay masters regulated the quality of gold and silver wares made on the island. Objects that met the standard were given "the stamp or mark of an alligator's head, and the initial letters of his [the assay master's] own name. . . ." In addition to Danvers's mark and the distinctive alligator's head, the coffeepot is also marked with "AL F," which likely refers to silversmith Abraham Le François. Le François, who worked in England before his time in Jamaica, decorated this coffeepot with skillfully executed repoussé chasing characteristic of London silver in the Rococo style.


Possible descent: Robert Ross (1734/35-1790), who married Deborah White (1744-1812); to their son Robert Ross (1772-1818), who married 1) Elizabeth Litchfield, 2) Anne Sharpe McKnight (1780-1838); to their daughter Mary Adelaide Ross (1804-1845), who married John Ellison (1804-1835); to their son Charles Litchfield Ellison (1835-1891), who married Harriet Ellison Morton (1833-1912); to their daughter Emily Ellison Post (1869-1941), wife of Adrian Terry Post (1871-1948), the donor.


"Stories in Sterling: Four Centuries of Silver in New York," New-York Historical Society, May 4–September 23, 2012; Flagler Museum, Palm Beach, FL, January 28–April 20, 2014.

"Sugar," New-York Historical Society, January 26, 2007–May 14, 2007.