This magnificent ewer features extremely fine all over foliate engraving in the rococo style. The stepped foot, neck and rim have similar classical applied die rolled bands. The applied scroll handle is cast in two pieces. Two circular reserves, on opposite sides, contain wonderful engraving of game birds in the wild.
A third, under the spout, contains this inscription:
JOHN OLIPHANT, ESQ.
by sundry parties in New York
as a slight token of appreciation
of his Efficiency and attentive
courtesy in the performance of
his official duties,
July 9, 1850.
James Bogert was apprenticed to New York master William Forbes and was part of a silversmithing family that included his cousin Nicholas. Ball, Tompkins and Black became Ball, Black & Co. in 1850, about the time this ewer was made. They were the most important jewelers in the United States until the late 1860's when Tiffany & Co. became the leading jeweler in this country.
A nearly identical example can be found in the collection of the Museum of the City of New York, discussed and illustrated on page 285 of Elegant Plate
by Deborah Waters.
This outstanding piece measures 14.5 inches high and weighs 35 troy ounces. It is in excellent, crisp condition with a very small ding on the top on the handle.