Rare silver cup once owned by Farmington Church now a museum piece

WILLIAMSBURG, VA./FARMINGTON, CT – A rare piece of handcrafted antique silverware that belonged to a church in Farmington has now been acquired by a prominent historic foundation in Virginia.

A 17th-century caudle cup that belonged to the Puritan congregation of the First Church of Christ in Farmington, and was used there as a vessel for sacramental wine, was recently acquired by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the foundation reported Monday.

This new acquisition makes it the first piece of American silverware in his collection.

The cup, forged around 1670 in Boston, was fashioned by early silversmiths making wares in what is now the United States.

“The curators at Colonial Williamsburg have worked diligently and with notable success over the past decade to assemble a collection of American silver worthy of the institution’s other decorative arts collections,” said Ronald L. Hurst, Senior Vice President for Education and Historic Resources.

“The acquisition of this particularly ancient and well-preserved cup provides us with an excellent starting point for the history of American silversmithing over the next century and a half.”

Although perfectly fashioned for serving caudle – a hot, sweet, and often alcoholic porridge – this so-called “caudle cup” was used in connection with ecclesiastical church service.

“Given the rarity and importance of Hull & Sanderson’s work, I’ve long wanted to see an example of their hollowware come to Colonial Williamsburg, but wasn’t sure it would be possible,” said Erik. Goldstein, senior curator of mechanics at the foundation. Arts and Numismatics and Acting Curator of Metals.

Colonial Williamsburg operates the largest museum of American history in the world, preserving Virginia’s 18th century capital as a fully functioning city.

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