Arthur Stone Arts and Crafts Sterling Silver Decorated 'Woolsey' Large Centerpiece Bowl, Gardner, MA c. 1921-27
This elegant footed centerpiece bowl has a shaped bowl with ten sections divided by ribs with an applied molded band around the rim. The applied molding consists of four reeds of silver wire conforming to the shaped edge. A stepped, circular pedestal creates the spreading foot. Overall hammering for which Stone's shop is so famous is beautifully executed and creates a wonderful, shimmering surface. Very unusual and stunningly beautiful is the repousséd and chased floral decoration in the center of the bowl from which the panel definitions emanate. Although small, it is visually captivating with its attention to detail and quality of execution. The chasing from Arthur Stone never ceases to amaze!
We have had a couple of similar centerpieces over the years, but neither half as nice as this. Not only does the floral decoration elevate the design, but the center of this bowl was designed with a bit of a depression that reinforces the decoration and makes the whole design come alive in a way that the others did not. This piece is a great example of how small changes can have a major impact.
Stone ran one of the most important arts & crafts shops in the country. Items were hand made using traditional silversmithing techniques. An innovator, Stone let the other masters who worked for him sign the items they made. This centerpiece was raised by Earle Underwood. Underwood worked for Stone from 1921-27 helping during the holiday season, also working for F. W. Smith Company in Gardner, MA (where Stone worked before opening up his own shop). His mark is uncommon on Stone silver and he achieved the rank of 'Master Craftsman' at the Society of Arts & Crafts, Boston. (1)
Theodore S. Woolsey was a Yale professor and connoisseur who gave Stone an English silver bowl that inspired this design. Stone's shop referred to this elegant style as 'Woolsey' when used in bowls and dishes. (2)
Marked with Stone's trademark, 'Sterling', and 'U' for Earle H. Underwood, this sterling silver centerpiece bowl measures 14.25 inches in diameter and 3.75 inches high. It weighs 50 troy ounces, has never been monogrammed and is in excellent antique condition.
Provenance: ARK Antiques, 1988 Private Collection
Elenita C. Chickering, Arthur J. Stone 1847-1938: Designer and Silversmith, (Boston: the Boston Athenaeum, 1994), p. 181.
Ibid., p 163.
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