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On February 3, 1774 the surviving son of Martha Washington, John "Jacky" Parke Custis, married Eleanor Calvert, uniting two of the most well connected and wealthy families in colonial America. Although young, (nineteen and sixteen respectively), the couple recognized the importance of surrounding themselves with fine goods that spoke of their fortune, taste, and gentility. They soon assembled an impressive array of imported English silver which included this punch strainer. Drinking punch in the eighteenth-century was a convivial social occasion with a distinct equipage. The strainer neatly removed remnants of spices and fruit pulp from the potent mixture of spirits, citrus juice, sugar, and spices.


Silver punch strainer; shallow circular raised bowl with slightly bulging sides; bowl pierced with drilled holes in flower pattern with twelve overlapping petals; cast, open-work handles with gadrooned shoulders applied opposite each other on the sides of the bowl; Custis crest engraved on exterior of well, just underneath the lip between the two handles.







Overall: 1 1/8 in. x 9 1/4 in. x 4 1/16 in. (2.87 cm x 23.5 cm x 10.31 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Mary Lee Bowman and Robert E. Lee IV, 1981


At center of bowl: Maker's mark, obscured by piercing; London city mark, Leopard's head crowned; Sterling standard mark, Lion passant; date letter "S".

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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