Karl Leinonen Arts & Crafts Sterling Silver and Enamel Communion Service, Boston, c. 1916
Examples of Boston Arts & Crafts ecclesiastical silver are exceedingly rare, and this is an extraordinary communion service consisting of a flagon, chalice, and paten. The flagon has a fitted, hinged cover with a cross finial. The bodies are unadorned and have an applied plaque with an enamel cross and open book which reads 'VERITAS ET VITA' which means 'Truth and the life.' The flagon is inscribed:
IN MEMORY OF ISABELLA WINLOCK MAY 6, 1832 - FEB. 19 1912 ANNA WINLOCK SEPT. 15 1857 - JAN. 4 1904
The chalice and paten are inscribed:
IN MEMORY OF LOUISA WINLOCK OCT 6 1860 AUG 28 1916
Anna and Louisa Winlock were daughters of Joseph and Isabella Winlock. Joseph was a famous astronomer and the 3rd director of the Harvard College Observatory. Having completed high school, Anna self-taught herself astronomy and became 'one of the first women to hold a paid position as a staff member at the Harvard College Observatory.'(1) Louisa is also listed as a staff member at the Observatory.
These pieces were entirely hand-raised by Karl Leinonen, a Finnish immigrant silversmith, who received the Society of Arts and Crafts highest award for his craft, the designation of 'Medalist,' one of only eight silversmiths to be so honored.
This communion service is the only ecclesiastical silver by Leinonen that we have ever seen. Silver owned by religious institutions rarely appears on the open market, and we are fortunate to be able to offer these remarkable pieces from St John's Memorial Chapel at the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The Episcopal Divinity School was formerly the Episcopal Theological School founded in 1867 in Cambridge; it changed its name in 1974 when it combined with the Philadelphia Divinity School which was founded in 1857. In 2018, the school merged with the Union Theological Seminary in New York City and the campus was acquired by Leslie University. For more history of the school, see here.
The flagon, chalice, and paten are marked with Leinonen's early 'L' mark and 'STERLING.' The flagon measures 11 inches high to the top of the handle. The set weighs a combined 56.30 troy ounces and is in good/ very good antique condition with professional restoration to the hinge of the flagon.