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The Good Samaritan cup

The Good Samaritan cup


Charles Jones (1819–64) (Hobart, Tasmania)

metal (silver)

16.5 h x 9.5 w x 9.5 d cm

Presented by the Lotz Family, 2006



William Allison, to whom the Good Samaritan cup was originally presented in 1850, died without issue in 1856. The cup passed to his nephew John Allison Cunningham, who returned from Hobart to Peterborough, Scotland, in 1862. It then passed to John’s daughter, Florence Allison Cunningham, who married Dr Henry Lotz in Peterborough; they migrated to Western Australia in the 1890s. From there the cup passed through the Lotz family, via their daughter Sheila Lotz to her nephew John Lotz, with whom it returned to Britain in 1964. The cup then returned to Australia when it passed to John Lotz’s brother Anthony Lotz. In 2006 the family decided to return the cup to Tasmania and gifted it to the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.


The Good Samaritan cup was presented in recognition of the benevolence of William Allison (1799–1856). Allison had taken in and cared for a recent immigrant to the colony, Mr OGL Wheatley, who had fallen ill with ‘asthmatic consumption’ shortly after taking up a position as salesman for a Hobart merchant. Although Wheatley died of consumption, despite all of Allison’s care, the members of the Hobart Town Mercantile Assistants Association (1846–55) felt that his selfless kindness should be acknowledged. The Mercantile Assistants Association was established with the twin, and related, aims of promoting early closing hours for shops and providing encouragement for the self-improvement of its members through education. They organised lectures and provided a lending library for members. The Association was a precursor to later more focussed organisations such as mechanics institutes and trade unions.

The manufacturer of the Good Samaritan cup, Charles Jones (1809–64), was a member of the Mercantile Assistants Association. Jones was a Birmingham-trained silversmith who had been sentenced to transportation for seven years in 1832. He arrived in Hobart aboard the Georgiana in 1833. Jones was one of a number of convict silversmiths assigned to the Hobart watchmaker and merchant David Barclay (1804–84), for whom he worked until receiving his Certificate of Freedom in 1839. Jones then set up business on his own account in Elizabeth Street, Hobart, making jewellery as well as plate. In addition to the Champion cup of the same date, also in the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery collection, Jones is recorded to have made commemorative silver medals and cups for the Hobart Town Regatta, the Royal Society of Tasmania and the Society for the Encouragement of Colonial Arts.

Like Barclay, Jones stamped some of his work with hallmarks. Because there was no guild in the colony to guarantee either the work or the purity of the silver, these are essentially a fiction. His use of the anchor, the mark for Birmingham, is a reference to the city in which he trained and presumably to the last guild of which he was a member before leaving Britain. Jones was active in local theatrical circles and continued these interests when he migrated with his wife Mary (nee Thompson) to Sydney in 1858.

The Good Samaritan cup, along with the Champion cup, is distinguished by the use of cast bas-relief panels. In this case the panel represents the Good Samaritan lending succour to the oppressed: an image that was possibly based on a popular print. The fact that Allison lived at an inn may have added to the pertinence of this reference, particularly in a community versed in the bible.


A stemmed trophy cup with a tall flared bowl supported on an openwork stem of four acanthus leaves to a circular base. The lower part of the bowl has repoussé decoration of four stylised acanthus leaves, above which the surface is smooth and polished. On one side of the bowl there is an applied bas-relief panel depicting a scene with two figures; the other side is engraved.

Statement of Significance

The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery seeks to build a comprehensive representation of Tasmanian colonial decorative arts. This includes items made in Tasmania from 1803 to 1901. Between the early 1830s and the 1850s a number of ambitious commemorative silver pieces were made in the state, mainly by convict artisans. The Good Samaritan Cup made by ex-convict silversmith Charles Jones (1809–64) is a rare example both for its use of cast elements and because it was made to acknowledge benevolence within the colonial community. The latter point links it to the development of mutual aid societies in Australia through organisations such as the Hobart Town Mercantile Assistants Association (1846–55).


Engraved: ‘Presented / to MR. W. ALLISON / For his Charity and Kindness to the late / MR. WHEATLEY / by Several Mercantile Assistants / HOBART TOWN / 1850’.

Struck with hallmarks for Charles Jones:

- Anchor (nominally Birmingham)

- Lion passant

- Sovereign’s head (Queen Victoria)

- ‘CJ’ in a rectangular tablet (the maker’s initials, struck twice).

This website was made possible through the generous support of the Gordon Darling Foundation, which provided funds for research, equipment and website design.

© 2009 Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
This page was last modified on : 15 May, 2013