Allan Adler & Porter Blanchard Massive Hand Wrought Sterling Silver Punch Service, Burbank & Los Angeles, c. 1950
This rare punch service is extraordinary. The massive size and incredible beauty make this one of the most impressive punch serving sets we have ever seen.
This rare set consists of a huge punch bowl with its original under tray, 24 cups and ladle.
The 17.75 inch long ladle is remarkable as it would have to be for such a punch bowl. It's graceful curve and oversized, double lip bowl sparkles with pronounced hammering to the surface. The ladle is stamped 'PORTER BLANCHARD/ HANDMADE/ STERLING' and with a 'w' in a circle. The 'w' may signify the silversmith Lewis Wise who specialized in making flatware in association with his father-in-law Porter Blanchard.
All the cups, the tray and the bowl are marked 'ALLAN ADLER/ STERLING'. Alan Adler was also a son-in law to Porter Blanchard. Adler married Rebecca Blanchard and became an apprentice to her father. Two years later, he went into business for himself.(1)
The bowl, due to its size and heavy gauge silver, is a masterpiece of silversmithing. It would have been incredibly difficult to raise such an object. It has an applied band around its top edge and an applied foot which splays outward.
The tray it rests on is also impressive. As with the bowl, it exhibits a stunning hammered surface and an applied band around its edge.
The 24 cups are also exquisite. They all don't fit on the tray when the tray is being used as an undertray. All 24 cups do fit beautifully when the tray is being used for serving the drinks. They are all shaped as beakers with applied feet like the bowl.
Allan Adler and Porter Blanchard were the most important mid-century silversmiths working in southern California. Both earned the reputation of 'silversmith to the stars' - their clients including stars such as Joan Crawford, Errol Flynn and Michael Jackson.
The tray measures 20 inches in diameter. The bowl, which itself weighs 71.55 troy ounces, measures 16.5 inches in diameter by 9 inches high. The total weight of the service is 276.50 troy ounces and it is in excellent antique condition.
Mary Rourke, "Allan Adler, 86; Crafted Beauty Queens' Crowns, Silver Pieces for the Stars" in The Los Angeles Times, December 5, 2002.