Arthur Stone Sterling and Gold Two-handled Presentation Cup, Gardner, MA, c. 1913
This extremely rare and fine piece is an early example of the work featuring applied gold from Stone's shop. Of classical form with two loop handles and a stepped pedestal base, this cup has 14 hand-chased interlocking heart shaped loops which rise from the base. From the top of each loop hang scrolling volutes holding five gold balls below them. At the junction of these loops, a chased flower grows vertically. Each flower has three gold petals.
Arthur Stone used very little gold and mixed metal pieces from his shop are quite rare. Not only was the metal extremely expensive, Stone thought it was difficult to work with and apply to silver (see Chickering and Ross, Arthur J. Stone 1847-1938, Designer and Silversmith).
Objects made with gold are considered the very finest pieces made by his shop. A mixed metal wine goblet is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. These objects rarely come on the market and this is the first mixed metal piece we've had the privilege to sell.
Stone's consummate skill as a chaser is finely displayed here. With the awkward contour of the cup and the obstruction of the handles, this was a very difficult chasing job. Any serious error would require starting from scratch.
While Stone did the chasing and applying of gold, the cup was hand-raised and formed primarily by Herbert A. Taylor. One of Stone's first employees, Taylor was a master in his own right. In 1917, he won the title of "Medalist" from the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts - one of only seven silversmiths to receive this prestigious award, the highest honor bestowed by the society.
The Smithsonian Institution houses the Archives of American Art. In it, "The Papers of Arthur Stone Associates," Box 2, Folder 51 ("Presentation cups; posset cups, tea strainers, shaving mug") contains a very preliminary drawing for this cup: "No. 8701", "Presentation Cup".
This exceptional cup measures 6.5 inches high at the handles (5.375 inches high to the rim) and 5.5 inches wide across the handles (3.75 inches in diameter). Marked 'STERLING' and with the Stone shop trademark (Arthur J. Stone 1847-1938, Designer and Silversmith mark no. 78), it also bears a 'T' mark for Herbert A. Taylor. It weighs 10.75 troy ounces and is in very good/excellent condition with a few minor scratches consistent with its age.
Underneath the pedestal foot, the cup is inscribed:
MRS. HELEN LADD CORBETT
PAULINE S. GILLISON
OCT - 1913
Helen Kendall Ladd (daughter of one of Portland's early settlers and its fifth mayor, William S. Ladd) married Henry J. Corbett (eldest son of another of Portland's early settlers, the highly successful businessman, banker and US Senator Henry Winslow Corbett). Widowed at the young age of 34, Helen Ladd Corbett was one of Portland's leading citizens at the turn of the 20th century.
She played a prominent role in Portland's Progressive movement, both as a member of the Portland Women's Union and as the principal backer of The People's Institute Settlement Work, a progressive settlement house project based on Jane Addams' Hull House in Chicago.(1)
Meyers, Gloria E.; Municipal Mother: Portland's Lola Green Baldwin, America's First Policewoman; Oregon State University Press: 1995.
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