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Henry Petzal Modern Sterling Silver Covered Jar, Shrewsbury, NJ, 1971

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This spherical jar has a plain cover that relies on the dome's graceful shape, the lovely knob handle, and the reflective surface for its beauty. The handle is a stunning piece of malachite. The body has a beautifully textured background and wonderful bold foliage. 

Silver by Henry Petzal is quite rare as he made all the pieces by hand and limited each design to a maximum of 8. This means that each of his objects was either one-of-a-kind or, at the most, eight. This example came from his private collection.

Henry Petzal was a businessman who 'rose through the ranks to become a textile executive. In 1963, age fifty-seven... he resigned and committed his life to a new career (silversmith)'. (1) Petzal studied at the Craft Students League in New York City under the instruction of silversmiths Rudi Schumacher and William Seitz. (2)

Fifteen examples of Petzal's work are represented in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 'In 1979, the Museum exhibited my work in a case right across the aisle from the Paul Revere bowl... At the opening reception Jonathan Fairbanks (Curator of American Decorative Arts) called these pieces "a major acquisition for the Museum"'. (3)

A nearly identical covered jar was donated to The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston by Henry Petzal in 1979. You can view it here.

For other examples of Henry Petzal's work in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, see here.

This rare and stunning covered jar is marked underneath with Henry Petzal's 'HP' trademark and 'STERLING.' It is also marked with a '6' over the date '1971', which means he made at least six of these bowls and no more than eight. It measures 5.5 inches wide by 8 inches high, weighs 31.35 troy ounces (handle inclusive), and is in excellent condition.

Provenance: Henry Petzal, by descent in the family.


  1. Robert M. Doty, Henry Petzal/ Silversmith, (Manchester: The Currier Gallery of Art, 1987), p. 4.
  2. Ibid, p. 7.
  3. Ibid, p. 12.