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American Decorative Arts
Maker: John Coney, American, 1655–1722

Chafing Dish

ca. 1710


3 1/2 × 6 × 12 in. (8.9 × 15.24 × 30.48 cm)
other (Lip): 5 15/16 in. (15.1 cm)
Mabel Brady Garvan Collection
Chafing dishes were filled with embers of charcoal that radiated heat and warmed the plates of food set atop them. This example has a wooden handle that allowed it to be easily lifted and wooden ball feet that prevented the hot metal from scaring the dining table. It was fabricated by the Boston silversmith John Coney and, according to tradition, was owned by Coney’s daughter Mehitable, who married Francis Foxcroft in 1722. The delicate pierced band and base plate were both decorative and provided air circulation for the charcoal. This is the only known Coney chafing dish with an engraved center plate.
Made in Boston, Massachusetts
On view
18th century
Containers - Metals

Mehitable Foxcroft, Cambridge, Mass.; her daughter (?), Phoebe Foxcroft (1743-1812); her son, George Phillips, Andover, Mass.; his descendant, Samuel Phillips, Andover, Mass.; George C. Gebelein, Boston; Francis P. Garvan, New York, to 1930; Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


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. 42–45, no. 36, ill.

Patricia E. Kane, Colonial Massachusetts Silversmiths and Jewelers (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1998), 324.

George Christian Gebelein, “Early American Silver Brazier,” Antiques 1, no. 5 (May 1922): 196, 284, ill.

Hermann F. Clarke, John Coney, Silversmith, 1655 - 1722 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1932), no. 17.

“Braziers as Collectibles,” Antiques 24 (September 1933): 106–107, fig. 4.

John Marshall Phillips, “Masterpieces in American Silver in Public Collections: Part II, 1700–1750,” Antiques 55, no. 2 (February 1949): 119, ill.

Exhibition of Silversmithing by John Coney, exh. cat. (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1932), no. 60.

Harvard Tercentenary Exhibition, exh. cat. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University, 1936), 30–31, no. 110.

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), 26, no. 32.

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 such records is ongoing.