The Pewter Collection
One of the finest of the many collections in the New Canaan Museum & Historical Society is the Pewter Collection. While normally on permanent display in the Keeping Room and Tavern of the Hanford-Silliman House, this fall we have decided to move it to the Bishop Gallery in the Town House so that it will be easier for members and visitors to see these stunning pieces while remaining socially distanced. The exhibition will open on September 29 and remain on display through January 30, 2021. Using the Cuseum exhibition enhancement application, viewers will also be able to tour the collection remotely.
The Pewter Collection consists of more than 150 pieces of American, English, Oriental and Continental (European) pewter. The collection was built primarily through gifts from old New Canaan families – the Ayres, the Rockwells and the Weeds – as well as a generous bequest from Mrs. T. Ferdinand Wilcox. It includes porringers, chalices, plates, wine carriers, teapots, whale oil lamps, broth bowls and sauce lamps, among many other items, in knob, shell, double acorn and other designs.
Pewter, a man-made alloy, contains approximately 90% tin and 10% copper, although the proportions differed by country, period and different craftsman. The NCM&HS collection contains a range of weights and thicknesses. Some of the finest pieces include a pair of American open baluster measures, a large deep dish plate with the mark of Parks Boyd of Philadelphia, a pair of American lamps circa 1830-1850, a 1697 Jacobean candlestick, a pair of 1749 English sauce boats and a 1766 English sill (a distillation apparatus).