Marcus & Co. Pair of Antique Sterling Silver and Amethyst "Loop Handled" Master Salt Cellars, New York City, NY, c. 1905

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Set with cabochon amethysts, the loop handles of these jewel-like salt cellars attach the floating upper rim to the hammered foot. A removable liner rests on the upper rim. The designs of Charles Robert Ashbee and the Guild of the Handicraft inspired this design.

Rare loop-handled cups, sold by the Guild of the Handicraft as butter or jam dishes, are iconic to the arts & crafts movement, and we have had several American examples by Marcus and Shreve, Crump & Low - see here, here, and here.

These are the only salt cellars known in this design.

Ashbee's influence in the U.S. cannot be overstated. After he toured the U. S. in 1895, talking and lecturing about the arts & crafts movement, arts & crafts societies were begun in Boston and Chicago in 1896. When he moved the Guild of the Handicraft to the idyllic rural Cotswold setting of Chipping Campden, the Boston Society of Arts & Crafts associated Handicraft Shop moved to Wellesley Hills, MA.

ARK Antiques, 1979
Private Collection

Catalog entry for No. 47 (a Marcus Company loop-handled dish) in Wendy Kaplan, ed., The Art That is Life
W. Scott Braznell, "The Influence of C. R. Ashbee and his Guild of Handicraft on American Silver, Other Metalwork, and Jewelry" in Bert Denker, ed., The Substance of Style

These lovely sterling silver salt cellars are marked underneath 'MARCUS & CO," with the M & Co. trademark we rarely see and the scratch code "SZ[triangle]33." Also, underneath, they have collection numbers in black marker on clear nail polish. They measure about 3.625 inches over the handles, 2.625 inches in diameter by 1.125 inches high. They weigh 2.85 troy ounces and are in very good/ excellent antique condition; the removable liner has been polished, presumably to clean up remnants of gilding.


Annette Carruthers, Ashbee to Wilson (Cheltenham: Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum, 1986), p. 8