Lot 4003
  • 4003

An important American silver brandywine bowl, Gerrit Onkelbag, New York, circa 1700

300,000 - 500,000 USD
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  • marked four times to left of one handle below rim B/GO in trefoil punch (one punch overstriking another of the same), with a French control mark below rim and on foot
  • silver
  • length over handles 12 1/4 in.
  • 31.1 cm
the bowl divided into six panels, each chased with a lobate cartouche centered by a boldly chased flower with partly-matted and pricked decoration, alternating with top and side views of the flower, the upper portion on one panel engraved with block initials H/II, the underside chased with a six-petaled double-flowerhead, the caryatid scroll handles cast with graduated beads and tooled into flowerheads, raised on a molded foot with die-rolled band


John Harris (1678-1734) m. Jannetje Nissepadt (1680-1741), to their daughter
Catherine Harris (1705-1751) m. William Peartree Smith (1695-1723), to their son
William Peartree Smith (1723-1801) m. Mary Bryant (1719-1811), to their daughter
Catherine (Smith) (1749-1797) m. Elisha Boudinot (1748-1819), to their daughter
Catherine (Boudinot) (1781-1877) m. Lewis Atterbury (1779-1872), to their son
Benjamin Bakewell Atterbury (1815-1900) m. Olivia Eggleston Phelps (1821-1894), to their son
Boudinot Currie Atterbury (1852-1930) m. Mary Josephine Lowrie (1858-1910), to their son
Boudinot Bakewell Atterbury m. Ruth Rand, to their son
Boudinot Phelps Atterbury m. Katharine Throop Talcott, by descent to present owners


Barbara Louise Clark, E. B: The story of Elias Boudinot IV, his family, his friends, and his country, 1977, p. 127.

New Jersey Historical Society, The Elisha Boudinot Family Papers, 1775-1953, Manuscript Group 633.

Frank John Urquhart, A History of the city of Newark, New Jersey: embracing practically two and a half centuries, 1666-1913, 1913, p. 607-608.


shallow dent to one panel and a minor dent to rim, one handle with repairs where joined to body, foot rim with two repairs with excess solder, the decoration softened at high spots, otherwise good condition
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

Catalogue Note

Early Family History of the "Washington Bowl"

It is rare and exciting to have provenance back to the original owners of such an early object. John Harris, born 1678, was the son of John Harris and Elizabeth Claaszen of Albany, and his wife, Jannetje Nissepadt, was born in 1680 to Jasper Nissepadt, a baker, and Maghteld de Riemer of New York. The couple appears to have lived in New York, as John Harris's death is recorded there in 1734; his wife died in 1741.

Their daughter, Catherine Harris (1705-1751), married William Peartree Smith, grandson of William Peartree (c. 1643-1714), the 28th Mayor of New York City from 1703-1707. Their son, also William Peartree Smith, a graduate of Yale, was a delegate to the Provincial Congress in 1775, Judge of Essex County Court, a member of the Council of Safety, the fifth mayor of Elizabeth, NJ and one of the founders of the College of New Jersey, which became Princeton University. Portraits of him and his wife, Mary Bryant, by American painter John Wollaston are in the collection of the Princeton University Art Museum.

Their daughter would form a union with another important New Jersey family. Elisha Boudinot, born to a Huguenot family which had fled France to England after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes and then moved to America, was an early supporter of the Revolution. In 1755, he joined other patriots to organize efforts and create the General Committee of Newark, where he served as clerk. In 1778, he was made the Secretary of the Council of Safety and served as commissary of prisoners for New Jersey throughout the war. It was during this time that he became familiar with George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. When Elisha married Catherine Smith in 1778, George Washington attended their wedding and Alexander Hamilton acted as groomsman. The bowl was gifted to the couple by Catherine's parents Mary and William Peartree Smith at the time of their marriage, and it is at their wedding that the bowl became known as the "Washington bowl" after Washington reportedly drank punch from it (Urquhart, History of Newark, p. 607). 

During the Marquis de Lafayette's campaigns in America between 1780 and 1787, he visited the home of Elisha, who later became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey, and Catherine, where he addressed the public from a platform erected on their grounds. Family history recounts: "On that occasion Judge Boudinot's son, in his enthusiasm, brought a punch bowl and a towel for the Marquis to use in washing his hands before he sat down to dinner, picking up for the purpose the silver punch bowl which had been used by Washington, in earlier days at the house..." (Urquhart, History of Newark, p. 607).

Gerrit Onkelbag and Brandywine Bowls

Gerrit Onkelbag (1670-1732) was active in New York from 1700-1710. Extant pieces indicate that he worked both in Dutch and English styles. Brandywine bowls are primarily a Dutch form originating in the early-seventeenth century, used communally during social gatherings to serve brandied raisins. This form was brought to New York by Dutch colonists and was popular between 1680 and 1730. A very similar six-lobed brandywine bowl by Onkelbag is in the collection of the Museum of the City of New York (Elegant Plate, Vol 1, no. 54, pp. 172-4). It features similarly chased flowers and caryatid handles, but lacks a die-rolled band at the base and has engraved arms within the center of the bowl.

A brandywine bowl in the New York Historical Society of equivalent size is by Benjamin Wynkoop and connected with the De Peyster family. It features nearly identical chased flowers, central rosette, caryatid handles and die rolled band to the offered bowl (see Hofer, Stories in Sterling, no. 1.6, pp. 60-61). It is worth noting that Wynkoop's shop was located three blocks from Onkelbag's. The largest known example is by Cornelius Kierstede, New York, 1700-1710, measuring 17 inches over the handles, and sold Sotheby's, New York, January 22-23, 2010, lot 443. It too featured embossed flowers within the six panels and a die-rolled band along the foot. Other New York and Albany makers, including Jesse Kip, Jacob Boelen, Bartholomew Le Roux I, Simeon Soumaine, Cornelius Vander Burgh, and Jacob C. Ten Eyck, also made similar, but usually smaller, six-lobed brandywine bowls.