Bailey & Co Antique Sterling Silver Basket, Philadelphia, PA, c. 1860
This magnificent cake, bread or fruit basket is boldly shaped and features stunning classical ornamentation and naturalistic ornamentation. The flaring side of the bowl has exceptional textured scalloping bordered with an applied border textured like coral. The interior of the bowl shows robust repousséd design of overlapping acanthus leaves emanating from a blank center.
The Swing handle is a twisting vine covered with leaves and a couple flowers. The reserve at the top of the handle is engraved with a 'CB' monogram.The spreading foot is designed with scalloping and a textured border complementary to the bowl.
George Sharp had been Bailey & Co.'s silver shop foreman until he started his own business in 1861 or 1862 when Bailey discontinued the in-house manufacture of silver. Bailey continued to order silver from Sharp and this centerpiece bears the Bailey & Co. retail marks associated with Sharp's independent shop. (1)
This rare swing-handle basket measures 11.75 inches in diameter by 9.75 inches high to the top of the handle and weighs 33.85 troy ounces. It is marked with the 'lion, "S", shield' trademark that Bailey & Co. used on their sterling silver, two other lion passant marks and 'BAILEY & CO CHESTNUT ST PHILA/ 136'. It is in very good/ excellent antique condition with some light scratching to the center from use.
D. Albert Soeffing, "George B. Sharp, A Victim of the Panic of 1873" inSilver Magazine, March/ April 2004, p. 26.