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Nathaniel Hurd Collection

Nathaniel Hurd (1729/30-1777) was the son of a Boston silversmith, Jacob Hurd, from whom he learned his trade as a silversmith. Hurd was an expert at that trade providing a wide range of objects fashioned in the precious metal and decorated with the ornate embellishments that characterized the fashionable rococo style of the period. However, in addition to his abilities as an engraver of three-dimensional silver objects, Hurd developed his skills at pictorial engraving producing a large number of bookplates for Boston's elite and prints that served a number of commercial purposes--military commissions ordered by the provincial government, trade cards, tables of weights and measures, even an elegant trio of watch papers on a single sheet with portraits of James Wolfe, William Pitt and King George III. He also engraved several important independent prints. He died at an early age, even for the eighteenth century, and it is difficult not to speculate how his career would have unfolded after the Revolution. Would he have turned his artisan skills to industry as did Paul Revere? We will never know.

- Georgia B. Barnhill, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Graphic Arts

Bibliography:
In 2001, the University Art Gallery of the University of Rochester devoted an issue of its journal, Porticus (volume 20) to Nathaniel Hurd.
Hollis French compiled Jacob Hurd and His Sons Nathaniel & Benjamin: Silversmiths 1702-1781. The Walpole Society published this useful reference work in 1939.

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