The dram cup is recorded in English silver as early as the 1300s, and in the American colonies its popularity persisted until the beginning of the 1700s. Previously its name was thought to refer to the vessel’s capacity; however, variations in size among the surviving examples suggest otherwise. In this period the word “dram” referred to a small draught of liquor, which offers a more plausible explanation of the name. Fewer than forty examples of Hull and Sanderson’s flatware and hollowware are known from a partnership that spanned more than three decades. The existing forms encompass spoons, porringers, two-handled cups, beakers, wine cups, a tankard, and dram cups. It is believed that this diminutive cup was made for Daniel and Patience Denison. As early as 1635, Denison served as a representative to the Massachusetts General Court. By 1652, when the court appointed John Hull mint master, Denison was its speaker, and he remained a member of the Court for the rest of his life.

Cataloguing data may change with further research.

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John Hull, American, born England, 1624–1683
and Robert Sanderson, Sr., American, born England, 1608–1693
Dram Cup
c. 1655–1664
1 × 3 5/8 × 2 1/4 in. (2.5 × 9.2 × 5.7 cm)
Credit Line

The Bayou Bend Collection, museum purchase funded by the Theta Charity Antiques Show

Current Location
Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
Accession Number

Acquired Sept. 1, 1996, from Mrs. Jane Bortman Larus, Sarasota, Florida.