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The tankard has straight tapering sides, with an applied molding at base band, on body, and at lip. Incised lines appear below the lip. The stepped domed cover has a narrow flange and a cast bell-shaped finial. A four-ridged scroll thumbpiece is above a five-part hinge plate; molded drop appears...

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Entwined monograms "WN / and / AB" engraved in later script on handle. Scratch weight of "24" [ounces] inscribed on bottom to left of center point. The same scratch weight appears faintly above the mark and near edge of base. Effaced coat of arms appears faintly around spout.


Marked within an ellipse "JOHN BURT" on bottom of vessel above center point.


It is possible that the original owner of the tankard was the merchant Nicholas Boylston (1716-1771). Having no wife or children, he adopted his nephew Ward Nicholas Hallowell (1747-1828) who was the son of his sister Mary, whose loyalist husband Captain Benjamin Hallowell fled to Halifax and later England in 1776. [1] The inscription "WNB" on the handle establishes the first documented ownership to Ward Nicholas Boylston, who took his adopted uncle's surname. The second set of initials may refer to Ann Molineux , whom Ward Nicholas Boylston apparently abandoned during the revolutionary war due to his own loyalist leanings, but it is more likely that the initials refer to his second wife, Alicia Darrow (b. England). [2] The tankard descended to John Lane Boylston (1789-1847) the first son of Ward Nicholas and Alicia (Darrow) Boylston, who married Sarah/Sally Brooks (b. 1793); to their son Thomas Boylston (b. 1819) and his wife Caroline A. Fowle; to their son, Thomas Boylston, Jr. (1848-1870), who married Florence Randall (b. about 1751); to their son, Ward Nicholas Boylston (1871-1924) and his first wife, Nellie Frances Eayrs (1874-1895); to their son, Ward Nicholas Boylston, Jr. (1896-1966), thence to the donor; his wife Esther (Moore) Boylston (d. 1974).[3] [1] Thomas B. Wyman, Jr., "Pedigree of the Family of Boylston," NEHGR 7 (1853) 145-50; NEHGR 15 (1861): 364; Park, Gilbert Stuart, I:172-74, cat. 106-08; Mary Caroline Crawford, Famous Families of Massachusetts (Boston: Little, Brown, & Co., 1930), p. 9-12; Stark, Loyalists of Massachusetts, pp. 281-83; Boston Newspapers 1:35. [2] MFA paintings catalogue [old one] p. 129, cat. 475, fig. 206. painting by??? [3] Massachusetts Vital Records, Births, Vol 35, p. 66; Vol. 459, p. 551; Massachusetts Vital Records, Marriages, Vol 227, p. 341; 227, p. 341; Massachusetts Vital Records, Deaths 1847-1848 Vol 33, p. 205. Princeton, Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850, (CITY, PUB. DATE___________) p. 81, 151; Roxbury, Massachusetts Vital Records to 1850 (CITY, PUB. DATE___________) 1:36; 470-71; Obituary, Boston Herald, August 17, 1966; Obituary, [Portland] Maine Press Herald, p. 2;

Credit Line

Bequest of Esther M. Boylston

about 1725–30

Object Place

Boston, Massachusetts


Overall: 20 x 10.5 cm, 0.75 kg (7 7/8 x 4 1/8 in., 1.65 lb.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique





Silver hollowware