Porringer Maker: Rufus Greene (American, 1707–1777)

ca. 1735

American Decorative Arts

On view, 1st floor, American Decorative Arts before 1900

Porringers were used in British and colonial American households to eat porridge and other soft foods. This example was made by the Boston silversmith Rufus Greene. It bears the initials T. E. G., which probably stand for Thomas and Elizabeth Gardiner Greene, who were married in 1727. Thomas and Rufus were brothers, and this porringer may have been made to commemorate the marriage. Greene was apprenticed to William Cowell, Sr., and the cast handle of this porringer is almost identical to the handle of a porringer by Cowell also in the Yale University Art Gallery's collection (1930.1253). The similarity suggests that Greene copied the handle of his master, or even reused the mold.




1 7/8 in. (4.8 cm)
other (Handle): 2 11/16 in. (6.8 cm)
other (bowl): 7 1/8 in. (18.1 cm)

Credit Line

Mabel Brady Garvan Collection

Accession Number



18th century


Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of records is ongoing.



Probably originally owned by Thomas and Elizabeth (Gardiner) Greene; Francis P. Garvan, New York, to 1930; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.
  • Patricia E. Kane, Colonial Massachusetts Silversmiths and Jewelers (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1998), 513
  • Barbara M. Ward and Gerald W. R. Ward, eds., Silver in American Life: Selections from the Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale University, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1979), 68, no. 30, ill
  • Kathryn C. Buhler and Graham Hood, American Silver in the Yale University Art Gallery, 2 vols. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1970), vol. 1, pp. 142–43, no. 170, ill
  • John Marshall Phillips, Masterpieces of New England Silver, 1650–1800: An Exhibition Held June 18 through September 10, 1939, Gallery of Fine Arts, Yale University (Boston: Harvard University Press, 1939), 50, no. 102
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type



"R•G" in cartouche in center of bowl. "TGE" engraved on handle towards tip.

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