Franklin Porter Sterling Silver Arts & Crafts Butterfly Brooch, Danvers, MA, c. 1930
This beautiful ornament is a rare example of arts & crafts silver from Franklin Porter. It is entirely hand-made. The wings are hammered with stunning effect with sweeping antennae and hand engraved decoration to the body. The reverse has the original, functioning clasp.
Franklin Porter (1869-1935) was an important arts & crafts silversmith working in Danvers, Massachusetts when this pin was made. Porter trained at the Rhode Island School of Design. (1) However, he was fiercely independent and never joined Boston's Society of Arts & Crafts, eschewing the commercial pressures of that organization. (2)
He worked out of his home, the 1670 Judge Samuel Holten House, and each piece was accompanied by a note which read in part:
Like the House in which it was made, this piece is constructed of the best material obtainable, by methods older than the House itself and is intended for a century or more of service. (3)
Examples of his silver holloware are uncommon, always hand-raised and of good quality. A four-piece demitasse set by him is in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (4) and his masterpiece, The Resurrection Communion Service, is in the treasury of the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. (5)
This wonderful pin is marked underneath 'F. PORTER/ STERLING' and with his trademark first used in 1925. It measures just under 3 inches wide by 2.25 inches high, weighs 1.0 troy ounce and is in very good/ excellent antique condition.
Jeannine Falino and Gerald W. R. Ward, eds.,Silver of the Americas, 1600-2000: American Silver in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, (Boston: MFA Publications, 2008), p. 273.
"Franklin Porter, Silversmith" by Helen Porter Philbrick in theEssex Institute Historical Collections(Vol. CV, No. 3, July, 1969), p. 211.
Philbrick, p. 147.
Falino, p. 273.
Philbrick, pp. 195-99.
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