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.
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.)
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
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“Board News,” Behind the Lions (Mar./Apr. 1985), 1 (ill.).
The Art Institute of Chicago Annual Report, 1984–1985 (Art Institute of Chicago, 1985), pl. 3.
Milo M. Naeve, “Dutch Colonists and English Style in New York City: Silver Syllabub Cups by Cornelius Kierstede, Gerrit Onckelbag, and Jurian Blanck, Jr.,” American Art Journal 19, 3 (1987), 40–53, fig. 1.
The Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Building, The Art Institute of Chicago (Art Institute of Chicago, 1988), ill.
Marvin D. Schwartz, “New Wing Presents Design, Colonial Period to Present,” Antiques and The Arts Weekly (Dec. 30, 1988), 38–39 (ill.).
Judith A. Barter et al., American Arts at The Art Institute of Chicago: From Colonial Times to World War I (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1998), , 48–50, no. 2.
Katherine A. Wahlberg, “Cornelius Kierstade: Colonial Silversmith” Magazine Antiques 173, 1 (January 2008) p. 205 (ill.).
Judith Barter et al., “Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine” (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013) p. 109 (ill.).
Judith A. Barter, Elizabeth McGoey, et al., American Silver in the Art Institute of Chicago (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2016), cat. 7 (ill.).
Albany Institute of History and Art, In Remembrance of Patria, May 9–Aug. 24, 1986, cat. 312.
Art Institute of Chicago, Art and Appetite: American Painting, Culture, and Cuisine, Nov. 1, 2013–Jan. 27, 2014, cat. 89; Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, TX, Feb. 22–May 18, 2014.
Van Cortlandt family; Petrus Stuyvesant (1727-1805) and his wife, Margaret (Peggy) Livingston (1738-1818); by descent to their daughter, Cornelia Stuyvesant (1768-1825); by descent to her son Reverand Petrus Stuyvesant Ten Broeck (1792-1849); by descent to his daughter Harriet Cutter Ten Broeck Peabody (1833-1901); by descent to her daughter Harriet Jessie Peabody Butler (1864-unknown) and Herman Beardsley Butler (1856-1904); by descent in the Butler family to 1984; sold to Firestone and Parson, Boston, through Richard Norton, Inc., Chicago, 1984; sold to the Art Institute of Chicago, 1984.
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