Overall: 16 x 17 1/2 x 9 7/8 in. ( 40.6 x 44.4 x 25.1 cm )
Inscription: embossed on the foot: "PRESENTED TO/ HON. THOMAS F. GRADY/ BY/ THOMAS D. SULLIVAN/ AND/ FRIENDS", (at center-left) "NEW YORK / APRIL 4th / 1898" Mark: stamped on the base: "925/ 1000 Fine/ STERLING" besides a shield marked "S" surmounted by
Wrought silver presentation loving cup; baluster shaped body with all over repoussé chased decoration, on one side a portrait of Chief Tamanend in an oval over crossed bow and arrow, tomahawk, and axe over two clasped hands, and surrounded by oak leaves and acorns; on the opposite side seventeen oval cameo portraits surrounded by oak leaves and acorns; applied to circular pedestal with four scrolled feet all over repoussé chased oak leaves and acorns and embossed with the inscription, "PRESENTED TO/ HON. THOMAS F. GRADY/ BY/ THOMAS D. SULLIVAN/ AND/ FRIENDS.;" two cast openwork handles decorated with oakleaves and acorns and surmounted by two gilt tigers' heads; maker's marks stamped on the base.
This profusely ornamented loving cup perfectly captures both the bravado and the political power of New York's Tammany Hall, a Democratic political machine that controlled party nominations and patronage from the mid-nineteenth century until 1932. The cup was presented to Tammany leader and state senator Thomas F. Grady (1853-1912) at a lavish banquet held on April 4, 1898, at the Hoffman House, a noted Broadway hotel. The cup is decorated with a profuse and eccentric array of Tammany symbols, not the least of which are the seventeen die-stamped portraits of Tammany "braves." The precise reason for Senator Grady's award is not recorded, but press coverage of the election of November 1897, in which Tammany Hall engineered a sweeping Democratic victory, suggests that the cup acknowledged Grady's efforts in securing municipal jobs for Tammany men-the "braves" depicted on the cup.
Presented to Thomas F. Grady (1853-1912); descent unknown; purchased at Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, Auction of Americana, November 27-December 1, 1979, lot 241.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.