Camp Cup Maker: Richard Humphreys (American, 1750–1832)


American Decorative Arts

Not on view



H. 1 11/16 × Diam. 2 in. (4.3 × 5.1 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.



Commissioned by George Washington (1732–1799), June 25, 1780 [see note 1]; by inheritance to his wife, Martha Washington (née Martha Dandridge, then Martha Custis, 1731–1802), Mount Vernon, Va., 1799; given to her granddaughter, Eleanor (Nelly) Parke Custis Lewis (1779–1852), Audley, Va., by 1802; given to her daughter, Frances Parke Lewis Butler (1799–1875), Woodlawn, Va., then Iberville Parish, La., by 1852. Possibly purchased by Frank Turner Moorhead, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., 1878 [see note 2]; by descent to his wife, Kate Upshur Moorhead (1860–1927), Pittsburgh and Washington D.C.; by inheritance to her grandson, John Upshur Moorhead, Jr. (1910–1995), New York, 1927 (transferred to the National Savings and Trust Company, Washington. D.C, 1927–35) (on loan to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 1936–47) [see note 3]; sold to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., 1947

Note 1: Col. Clement Biddle (1740–1814), acting as Washington’s agent, ordered the camp cup, its mate, six larger cups, and two dozen tablespoons from Richard Humphreys of Philadelphia on June 25, 1780 (bill of sale transcribed in Buhler and Hood, 1970, vol. 2, p. 209).

Note 2: On June 20, 1878, Congress approved the purchase of Washington relics owned by the heirs of Nelly Lewis. They were eventually placed at the United States National Museum (now the Smithsonian) in 1883 (Theodore T. Belote, “Descriptive Catalogue of the Washington Relics in the Unites States National Museum,” Proceedings of the National Museum vol. 49, no. 2092 [October 15, 1919]: 2). In 1936, John Upshur Moorhead, Jr., told John Hill Morgan, former curator of American paintings at the Gallery, that his grandfather, Frank Turner Moorhead, purchased this cup and three associated miniatures at the time of the congressional purchase in 1878. (John Hill Morgan diary entry for April 8, 1936, copy in curatorial object file). The cup is accompanied by a note written by Frances Butler prior to her death in 1875 stating that it had been a gift to her from Nelly Lewis (copy in curatorial object file). This note suggests ownership of the cup transferred prior to 1878 and likely passed through the Custis/Lewis/Butler family to Moorhead’s wife, Kate Upshur Moorhead, instead of being purchased by her husband. For more on the relationship between the Upshur, Custis, Moorhead and Washington families, including objects with comparable ownership histories, see: Clayton Torrence, “Arlington and Mount Vernon 1856. As Described in a Letter of Augusta Blanche Berard,” The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography vol. 57, no. 2 (April 1949): 157.

Note 3: The will of Kate Upshur Moorhead directs: “I give and bequeath to my executor, as Trustee, my entire collection of Washington and Custis relics…to hold the same until my grandson, John Upshur Moorhead, Jr., reaches the age of twenty-five years, upon the happening of which event I direct my Trustee to convey the property devised and bequeathed under this paragraph of my will to him absolutely.” The National Savings and Trust Company, Washington D.C., acted as trustee and retained the cup and related objects from 1927 until 1935, when John Upshur Moorhead, Jr., turned 25 (copy of will in curatorial object file).
  • Harold Newman, An Illustrated Dictionary of Silverware (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1987), 60, ill
  • Martha Gandy Fales, Early American Silver for the Cautious Collector (New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1970), 46, fig. 41
  • 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. 2, pp. 209-10, no. 876
  • American Silver and Art Treasures: An Exhibition, exh. cat. (London: The English Speaking Union, 1960), 56, no. 170
  • Kathryn C. Buhler, Mount Vernon Silver (Mount Vernon, Va.: Mount Vernon Ladies Association, 1957), 38, fig. 14
  • Philadelphia Silver, 1682–1800: Exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, April 14–May 27, 1956, exh. cat. (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1956), no. 151
  • Kathryn C. Buhler, Colonial Silversmiths, Masters and Apprentices, exh. cat. (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1956), 92, no. 292
  • An Exhibition of Silver: French, British, American, Modern, exh. cat. (Richmond, Va.: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 1940), no. 237
Object copyright
Additional information


"RH", conjoined serifs, in rectangle on bottom


Washington crest engraved on side

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