Gale & Hayden Important Silver Presentation Cream or Milk Pitcher of Southern interest, c. 1846, retailed by Gregg & Hayden, Charleston, South Carolina
in grateful remembrance
of his praiseworthy services
at the fire in Columbia
22d Sept. 1846.
Of octagonal baluster form with a conforming drawn molded foot and scrolled handle, this superbly engraved pitcher is indicative of the best silver of the 1840's. The fine engraving on each panel is in a scrolling foliate and floral rococo revival style popular in the mid nineteenth century. In the foliate cartouche with the inscription is a wonderful engraved scene of firefighters engaged in battle.
This pitcher measures 6 inches high and weighs an impressive 15 troy ounces. It is in very good condition with the minor abrasions and dings one expects with its 150 years of age.
Nathaniel Hayden was a prominent jeweler in Charleston, South Carolina in partnership with William Gregg from 1838-43. He then left for New York to become a partner of the important silversmith, William Gale from 1846-50. His brother, H. Sidney Hayden, replaced him in partnership with William Gregg in Charleston from 1846-52 where they kept shop at 232 King Street. This presentation pitcher was made by Gale and Hayden in New York to be sold by Gregg and (brother) Hayden in Charleston to the Aetna Insurance Company for presentation to G. Monteith, who - if we are to judge by the hefty weight - was an important hero fighting the Columbia, SC, fire of 1846.
Gale and Hayden silver is in many important public and private collections including that of the Winterthur Museum in Wilmington, Delaware. The Gale & Hayden presentation ewer owned by Winterthur was won by Henry F. Du Pont's grandfather as an agricultural award in 1849. It is interesting to note that while the Du Pont piece is 6 inches taller, it weighs only five ounces more than this presentation pitcher.
For more information see:
American Silver at Winterthur by Ian Quimby, South Carolina Silversmiths by E. Milby Burton and Warren Ripley and Don Soeffing in Charles Venable's Silver In America.