Cellini Craft Sterling Silver After Dinner Coffee Service c. 1940
It's been a long time since we've had a great hand wrought coffee set and this one is a beauty. This set stands out - wonderfully designed with beautiful planishing from the hand hammering. The tall coffee pot is of bulbous form with a lightly lobed body, a curved spout and dark ebony handle. Cast and applied floral blossom decoration make up the handle attachment and finial. The handle decoration is repeated on the creamer and sugar bowl. The oval tray continues the lobed motif along the edge of the center and blossom castings are applied to the cutout handles.
Even the 'JFB' monograms on all the pieces are wonderful.
All pieces are marked underneath with the Cellini Craft Inc. trademark along with the 'Cellini Craft', HANDWROUGHT', 'STERLING' and the model numbers. The tray measures 11 inches deep by 16 inches long and weighs 29 troy ounces. The coffee pot weighs 21.45 troy ounces and measures 9 inches high. The creamer weighs 5.3 troy ounces and the sugar bowl 4.9 troy ounces for a total combined weight of 60.65 troy ounces. The set is in excellent antique condition.
The Cellini Shop played a unique and important role in the American 'Arts & Crafts' movement by being one of the first firms to adopt 'modern Danish' designs early in 20th century. In 1934 they created 'Cellini Craft' in Evanston, Illinois to produce their high-end silverware and a less expensive line, 'Argental,' that was made from aluminum. While cheap, mass produced silver in the the modern Danish taste is fairly common (International Silver Co. made a lot), American examples of this expensive hand wrought silver are quite rare.
We attribute the design of this set to Hans Gregg, based on a very similar design illustrated (plate 141) in Chicago Metalsmiths by Sharon Darling (Chicago: Chicago Historical Society, 1977). It is interesting to note that when Ms. Darling was organizing the seminal Chicago Metalsmiths exhibition in 1977, she chose an identical Cellini Craft service to represent the shop's excellent work.
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