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Decorative Arts and Design

Large tankards were used as communal drinking vessels in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Those made of silver, such as this one, were particularly valued because silver was the coin of the realm and an indication of personal wealth.

This tankard was made for Jeromus and Jane Remsen, descendants of Sarah Rapalje (1625–1685). A medal that commemorates Sarah’s marriage to Hans Bergen in 1639 was inserted into the top of the tankard. The donor, Tunis Johnson, was a descendant of Rapalje’s.
DATES Tankard: 1735–1769; Medallion: ca. 1639
DIMENSIONS 5 1/2 x 3 3/4 in. (14 x 9.5 cm)  (show scale)
INSCRIPTIONS see description
CREDIT LINE Gift of Tunis Johnson
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Cylindrical shape, moldings around base and rim. It is slightly smaller in diameter at the rim than at the base. There is a circular lid with a projecting serrated piece in the front. A marriage medal dating from 1639 has been set into the lid. The medal has a design of a man and woman holding hands while the figure of Christ with a halo stands in the background, blessing them. The medallion is encircled by an inscription in Dutch, translated as: "Behold this young woman whom I love and none other. She is my true one, my love and is next to God alone." On the underside of the lid the reverse side of the medallion is exposed. It depicts nude figures of a man and woman beside a river with a dog at their feet. A Dutch inscription encircles this scene as well: "May my Creator create us, whole flesh and bone into one." The tankard has a spiral corkscrew thumb-piece and a three-piece hinge attached at the handle. The handle is decorated with a rat-tail motif and on the flat oval terminal button is engraved the initial "R" over "I," which probably stands for Jeromus and Jane (his cousin) Remsen, the owners of the tankard. Condition: Good
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Nicholas Roosevelt (American, 1715–1769). Tankard, Tankard: 1735–1769; Medallion: ca. 1639. Silver, 5 1/2 x 3 3/4 in. (14 x 9.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Tunis Johnson, 26.616. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 26.616_acetate_bw.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 26.616_acetate_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Nicholas Roosevelt (American, 1715–1769). <em>Tankard</em>, Tankard: 1735–1769; Medallion: ca. 1639. Silver, 5 1/2 x 3 3/4 in. (14 x 9.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Tunis Johnson, 26.616. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 26.616_acetate_bw.jpg)