Eoff & Shepard for Ball, Black & Co. Antique Coin Silver Wirework Centerpiece Fruit Bowl, New York City, 1852-60
This is a spectacular example of early American silver by the great partnership of Edgar Eoff and George Shepard who were one of the suppliers of silver to Ball, Black & Co. The weight of the centerpiece is very impressive. Made primarily from bands of wire that have been soldered together and then shaped, twisted and meant to resemble strawberry vines, the silversmith created this unique and striking design. The foot of the base is a stepped ring onto which are soldered loops of double wire onto which are applied wonderful strawberry leaves chased with lovely details.
Travelling up the column, the double wires are soldered together in groups of four which adds strength. Midway up the column is a decorative, horizontal ring which also adds strength. The groupings of wire are again separated into pairs near the top of the bowl creating the open basket effect. A silver ring is applied to the underside of the bowl and a solid, circular sheet is applied to the interior bottom of the bowl. Superb castings depict bunches of applied hanging strawberries with leaves applied to four areas of the bowl.
This rare centerpiece is marked underneath the bowl 'E&S/ N.YORK/ BALL, BLACK & CO'. It measures 9 inches high by 9 inches in diameter, weighs 52.65 troy ounces and is in excellent antique condition.