H641

Sunshing - Extremely Rare, Fine and Important: The Winslow Family Chinese Export Silver Cider Jug, Early 19th Century


This important and unique piece is of urn form, with a band of fine reeding on a pedestal foot and a ring of beading around the neck, the unhinged domed lid having similar reeded decoration and a finial conforming to the Winslow family crest, dated under the base May 9, 1835. Inscribed around the center in a cursive script "I & MBW 1801, IW to I & AW 1832, to IS & KW 1862, IE & MLW 1899," an important document of pride in family and ownership of the piece (see provenance below).

The only known example of a cider jug, or toddy pitcher, in Chinese export silver, this piece is closely related stylistically to English silver of the 1795-1805 period when this fine reeding was fashionable. Boston furniture also features this reeded design in the early 19th century.

Sunshing, one of the early and important Chinese silversmiths, worked in Canton on New China Street from approximately 1790 to 1830, and was listed on the Waln List of 1820. Captain Shreve of Salem recommended Sunshing to others and purchased over $220.00 worth of silver from him.(1) Pieces by Sunshing are represented in every major museum collection of China export silver and this is the most important piece known to have come from his shop.

The Winslows are one of New England's founding families and have played an important role in the history of the colonies and country. The owners of this pitcher are descended from the 1st Governor Edward Winslow's brother John, who arrived in Plymouth in 1621 and married Mary Chilton, who arrived on the Mayflower. They also descended from Edward Winslow, the famous Boston silversmith of the late 17th/18th century.

Isaac Winslow and his progeny, owners of this pitcher, were prominent Boston merchants who maintained offices on Long Wharf during the early 19th century.

Marked with SS and pseudo-hallmarks. Also marked with French import marks used after June 1893. Height: 11½ inches. Weight: approximately 45 troy ounces.

Provenance:

Isaac Winslow (1774-1856) married Margaret Blanchard in 1801
Isaac Winslow (1802-?) m. Abigail Barrell(2) (?-1890) in 1832
Isaac Staynor Winslow (1836-1903) m. Kate E....(1841-?) in 1862
Isaac E. Winslow (1865- ?) m. Mary L....(1873-?) in 1899

Winslow Family Genealogy:

John Winslow(3) (1597-1674) m. Mary Chilton(4) ( -1678)
Edward Winslow (1634-1682) m. (2nd) Elizabeth Hutchinson(5) (1639-1728)
Edward Winslow(6) (1669-1753) m. Hannah Moody (1670-?)
Joshua Winslow (1694-1769) m. Elizabeth Savage
Isaac Winslow (1743-1793) m. (2nd) Mary Davis (?-1800)
Isaac Winslow (1774-1856) see above.

Winslow Family Crest and Motto:

The crest is a tree trunk with branches and leaves growing from it. The motto, "Decoptus Florio," roughly translated means, "The truth, crushed to the earth, shall rise again."

Condition:

The cider jug's lid is an old replacement, probably about 100 years ago. The expensive cast finial shows the pride and care taken in the replacement - possibly to replicate the original. The inscriptions have been added over the years, but probably nothing after c. 1900. A couple leaves are missing from the finial.

Endnotes:

  1. Forbes, Kernan and Wilkins, Chinese Export Silver: 1785-1885 (Milton, MA: Museum of the American China Trade, 1975), p. 75.
  2. Descended from Mary Chilton, who arrived on the Mayflower.
  3. Brother of Governor Edward Winslow, John came to Plymouth in the Fortune, November 9, 1621.
  4. Arrived on the Mayflower.
  5. Granddaughter of Ann Hutchinson, who arrived on the Mayflower.
  6. This Edward was a very important Colonial Silversmith. As a respected member of the community, he also served as Suffolk County High Sheriff, Judge of the Common Pleas Court, and Colonel, Major, Lieutenant and Commander of various Regiments.

Many thanks to H. A. Crosby Forbes and Caroline Cardell at the Mayflower Society for their assistance.

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