Every week we shine a light on a different object from our collections that you may not have seen before. This week we have a silver host box from the Dominican Order, Galway.
The small cylindrical box with removable lid dated to 1733, was used to hold the consecrated Eucharist for the celebration of the Catholic mass. It was made by the Galway silversmith Mark Fallon, whose maker’s mark is stamped on the inside of the lid and on the base of the box.
The finely decorated lid features the arms of the Dominican Order and an inscription which reads ‘Pray for Mr. John Lynch of Burdox, his wife and posterity who made a present to both his sisters Brigett and Ann Lynch of this hoast box Anno Doni 1733’
The John Lynch commemorated on the host box is likely the same person that is commemorated on a silver chandelier, also made by Mark Fallon, currently in the Winterthur Museum in Delaware, United States. Lynch is believed to have fought for King James II at the Battle of Aughrim in 1691, and afterwards moved to France where he became a tallow merchant.
In the early 18th century many of the Tribes families in Galway donated silver pieces to religious institutions, often pieces by either Mark Fallon or Richard Joyce, both of whom were based in Galway and specialised in the production of ecclesiastical ware, particularly silver. The gifting of such prestigious items was possibly as either gifts or a dowry for their daughter or son entering the institution. Such pieces also acted as a legacy piece or memorial for the donor for years afterwards.
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Mulveen, J., 1994 Galway Goldsmiths, their marks and ware. Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society 46, 43-64.
Ticher, K., 1977 Galway Silver in a Dominican Convent. The Antique Dealer and Collectors Guide, October 1977.