S. Kirk & Son Antique Silver Covered Monteith, Baltimore, 1846-61
This remarkable monteith is a unique custom made piece by the famous firm of Samuel Kirk & Son. We have never seen an American silver monteith with a cover, both pieces of which are exceptional.
The pedestal bowl is profusely repousséd and chased with exotic landscapes along with various structures including houses, bridges, a castle and a church. A bayonet fitting is used to attach the removable monteith rim decorated with flowers and foliage.
The cover is executed in the with similar decoration to the side, also including a small boat with two figures. The upper edge has a bold, applied, pointed ring chased with leaves. When the finial is removed and the cover is inverted, this ring acts as a foot enabling the cover to become a serving dish.
A magnificent example of superb modeling and casting, the finial depicts a coronet surmounted by a magnificent eagle holding the leg of another bird. This removable handle matches the crest engraved on a blank on the bowl.
This crest is recorded on an 1836 bookplate having belonged to Colonel Thomas Jefferson Lee of Baltimore. (1) Colonel Lee, no relation to Robert Lee of Virginia, was a graduate of West Point and served variously with the Army Corps of Topographical Engineers and as a civil engineer. His topographical work was distinguished and he helped map and establish state borders within the US and the US borders with both Mexico and Canada. (See here.) (2)
This unique monteith is marked underneath the finial and underneath the bowl 'S. KIRK & SON/ 11.0 OZ'. It measures 10 inches wide by 11 inches high to the top of the finial, weighs 73.35 troy ounces and is in excellent antique condition.
Charles Knowles Bolton, Bolton's American Armory, (Baltimore: Heraldic Book Company, 1964 reprint), p. 100. Confirmed similar Lee family crests in Faribairn's Crests.
"The following text is reproduced from (the report of the) Twenty-Third Annual Reunion of the Association of the Graduates of the United States Military Academy, June 9th, 1892." last accessed 12/29/2017 at: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/Places/America/United_States/Army/USMA/AOG_Reunions/23/Thomas_Jefferson_Lee*.html