About this artwork
This luxurious vessel, by one of New York’s foremost early silversmiths, was used to serve syllabub, a sweetened or flavored wine, cider, beer, or ale into which milk was whipped. The cover helped preserve the frothy drink and also, using its three equidistant handles as legs, could be inverted into a stand for the cup. The vessel bears the mark CK, standing for Cornelius Kierstede, a third-generation New York silversmith of Dutch descent. Kierstede opened a shop around 1698 in New York, where he worked, off and on, until moving to New Haven, Connecticut, in the early 1720s. Like the Van Cortlandt family, who commissioned this cup and whose coat of arms it bears, and the Stuyvesant family, whose descendants owned the object until the Art Institute acquired it, the majority of Kierstede’s patrons were wealthy Dutch colonists. This cup is one of four nearly identical pieces made during the same period by Kierstede and two other well-known New York silversmiths. Evolved from English prototypes, all four have the same nearly straight sides, scroll-like handles, and slightly domed cover as well as variations of the embossed acanthus-leaf ornament.
- Cornelius Kierstede
- Two-Handled Covered Cup
- New York
- c. 1698–1720
- Marked on side of each handle and three times on the lid, in rectangle: CK Engraved on body: Van Cortlandt family arms Engraved on bottom, in a period hand: >M C L< and at a later date: Petrus Stuyvesant/ married/ M.C. Livingston/ 1730 Engraved on underside lip of cover: MCL.
- 12.7 × 20.3 × 12.7 cm (5 3/8 × 8 5/8 × 5 3/4 in.); 677.4 g
- Purchased with funds provided by Mrs. James W. Alsdorf, Pauline Seipp Armstrong, Marshall Field, Charles C. Haffner III, Mrs. Burton W. Hales, Mrs. Harold T. Martin, Mrs. C. Phillip Miller, Mr. and Mrs. Milo M. Naeve, Mrs. Eric Oldberg, Mrs. Frank L. Sulzberger, and the Ethel T. Scarborough Fund