L2019.1048 Bowl, overall

Bowl (Baptismal Basin)

  • Category:


  • Creator (Role):

    John Wolfe Forbes (Maker)

  • Place of Origin:

    New York, New York, United States, North America

  • Date:


  • Materials:


  • Techniques:

    Wrought, Engraved

  • Museum Object Number:


  • Complete Details

Object Number


Object Name

Bowl (Baptismal Basin)



Credit Line/Donor

Gift of Charles and Gemma Huntress Limington, Maine

Creator (Role)

John Wolfe Forbes (Maker)

Place of Origin

New York, New York, United States, North America



Mark or Signature or Inscription or Label

1. Mark; Foot rim, exterior; "I.W.FORBES" in rectangle, stamped
2. Mark; Foot rim, exterior; Sheaf of wheat in rectangle, stamped twice, flanking name
3. Mark; Foot, interior near rim; "I.W.FORBES" in rectangle, stamped
4. Mark; Foot, interior near rim; Sheaf of wheat in rectangle, stamped twice, flanking name
5. Inscription; Bowl, exterior; "1819. / MB” in script, engraved
6. Inscription; Bowl, exterior; "A Bequest / 1819 / Mary Ten Eyck Brown / daughter of Samuel Ten Eyck / and / widow of Thomas Brown / to her grand niece / Maria Susannah Decatur / daughter of John P. Decatur” in script


Religion associated; Military




Wrought, Engraved

Dimensions (inches)

4.75 (H) , 6.25 (Diam)

Dimensions (centimeters)

12.065 (H) , 15.875 (Diam)

Measurement Notes

Weight in ounces troy: 12 oz (according to seller).

Object Description

Web - 11/11/2019

In early America, a family of Protestant faith might commission a baptismal bowl to be made of silver or pewter. This deep bowl was engraved to preserve the silver's lineage from the donor, Mary Ten Eyck Brown to her niece's eldest child, Maria Susannah Decatur. Maria S. Decatur, in turn, left instructions about the bowl in her will so that her sister Anna Pine Decatur Parsons would treasure it: "our parents having had the holy rites of Baptism administered from it, to their children." Maria S. Decatur and her younger siblings, children of John Pine Decatur and his wife Maria Susanna Ten Eyck, were raised in Newark, New Jersey and Portsmouth, New Hampshire. This baptismal bowl was a revered silver relic from a family whose naval and military service to the nation added further luster to its history.