Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Robert Lewis, nephew of George Washington, visited Mount Clare on his way
to his Uncle's first inauguration in New York. He was accompanying Mrs.
Washington on the journey from Virginia. In his diary for May 19, 1789 he
recalled the visit:

Mrs. Carroll expecting Mrs. Washington had made considerable preparation,
we found a large bowl of salubrious ice punch with fruits, etc. which had
been plucked from the trees in a green house lying on the tables in great
abundance;--these after riding 25 or 30 miles without eating or drinking
was no unwelcome luxury, however, Mrs. C could not complain that we had not
done her punch honor, for in the course of 1 Quarter of an Hour, this bowl
which held upwards of two Gallons was entirely consumed to the no little
satisfaction of us all.

The Maryland Society of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of
America announce the successful purchase of a George III silver punch
bowl, circa 1771, which belonged to Charles Carroll the Barrister (1723-1783)
and his wife Margaret Tilghman Carroll (1742-1817).  The bowl which is marked
by an English maker is a foot in diameter and must have made quite an
impression on guests to Mount Clare, the couple's summer residence.
Having been introduced to the English gentry by Robert Adam in the 1760s, the
neoclassical surface decoration was the height of sophistication.  It is
thought that the couple might have ordered the punch bowl and ladle during
a trip to London in the spring of 1771; Mrs. Carroll returned inspired by
the up-to-date Adamesque tastes of Londoners. The Barrister returned to serve
on various committees in Annapolis as the colonies moved closer to war.  By
June 1776 he would help write Maryland's first Constitution, the
Declaration and Charter of Rights for Maryland.

Nineteen years his junior, Mrs. Carroll survived her husband by 35 years;
she made Mount Clare her permanent residence and was known for her gardens
and hospitality.  She also began to update some of the furnishings in the
house to the stylish neoclassical forms of the Federal style, which
reached American shores after the end of the Revolution.  The plinth base
with ball feet is not original to the piece but was a popular form in the
Baltimore area by the 1770s.  Examples of its use can be seen on silver by
Charles Louis Boehme and Standish Barry among other local silversmiths.

Mrs. Carroll died in 1817 and in her will she bequeathed her large
silver punch bowl,to James Maccubbin Carroll, her husbands nephew, who had
inherited the house and moved into Mount Clare for a brief time.  The bowl
descended through this line of the family to the current seller.

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