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Trencher Salt (one of a pair)

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This low octagonal salt is of roughly rectangular shape with two long and six shorter sides. The shallow oval bowl is set within a faceted body having concave sides that splay inward from wide, scored base. The foot is reinforced with applied wire.


Inscribed "A/T*H" in roman capitals on base. Later inital "W" on exterior in Gothic capitals along length of trencher.


On underside of bowl is stamped "I C" crowned, and over a coney, all within a shield.


1770, Possibly given by John Hancock to his cousin Lydia Bowes (1749-1805) on her marriage to Rev Phineahas Whitney (1740-1819) of Shirley; (1) by descent to Mrs. Thomas B Coolidge (Eleanor Whitney Watson) (b 1902), Mrs T Dana Hill (Marjorie) (b 1903) and Mrs William Payson; 1935, Lent by Mrs. Coolidge, Mrs. Hill, & Mrs Payson to the MFA; 1958, purchased by Mr and Mrs Payson from her sisters; 1973, gift of the Paysons to the MFA. (Accession date: ) 1: to their son Thomas Whitney (1771-1884) m.1799 Henrietta Parker (1775-1864); to their son James Phineas Whitney (1802 – 1847) and Lydia Bowes Parker Treadwell (b. 1815), m. 1836; to their daughter Henrietta Parker Whitney (1837 – 1900) and Andrew McFarland Davis (b. 1833) of Worcester, m. 1862. To their daughter Frederica King Davis (1869 – before 1964) and Thomas Russell Watson (1850 – 1920) of Plymouth and Middletown, m. 1901; to their three daughters.

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. William L. Payson


Object Place

Boston, Massachusetts


2.8 x 7.8 x 6.1 cm (1 1/8 x 3 1/16 x 2 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique





Silver hollowware