Simeon Soumaine (American, baptized 1685ca. 1750)
Silver; Overall: 4 5/16 x 2 11/16 x 2 1/4 in., 178 grams (11 x 6.8 x 5.7 cm, 5.723 troy ounces)
Gift of E. M. Newlin, 1964 (64.249.5a,b)
Canisters for storing dry tea leaves, now called tea caddies, were fashionable accessories for the tea table. Popular in England, where they were often made in sets of three, they are rare in American silver. This early octagonal example with pull-off cover is engraved with the arms and crest of the Bayard family of New York. The initials M+V+D are inscribed on its underside, probably for Margaret Van Dam (b. 1720), the daughter of Judith Bayard and Rip Van Dam, Jr. It originally belonged to a set consisting of two tea canisters and a larger one for sugar. The Bayard arms appear on a number of important pieces of American silver, for example a magnificent two-handled cup and cover now belonging to the Yale University Art Gallery.