Gebelein Arts & Crafts 5-piece Sterling Silver Tea Service, Boston, c. 1920
This very fine and elegant hand-wrought service is of urn form in the federal style that was popular around 1790. It consists of a large tea or coffee pot, a tall pot for hot water or hot milk, a creamer, covered sugar urn, and a waste bowl. Each lid is tapered and surmounted by a twist flame finial. The rims of the bodies have applied banding as do the shoulders of the coffee and teapots. The ebony handles of the pots are beautiful in contrast with the silver.
The hot beverage pitcher is a very rare item and can be used for various hot liquids including coffee, chocolate, cider, milk, etc. The creamer and sugar have gracefully formed loop handles.
The exterior of the pieces have a stunning reflective surface while the interior exhibits wonderful hammering from being hand-raised.
George Christian Gebelein was a seminal figure in the Boston arts & crafts movement, being one of only eight silversmiths to win the prestigious 'Medalist' award from the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts, the society's highest honor for craftsmanship.
Having immigrated from Germany as a teenager, Gebelein apprenticed in Boston for Goodnow & Jenks. He was then employed in New York City by George W. Shiebler. Starting at the age of 19, Gebelein worked at Tiffany & Co. for a little over two years and then in 1900 moved to the firm of William B. Durgin in Concord, New Hampshire.
In 1903, he joined other artisans at the Boston Society of Arts and Craft's 'Handicraft Shop' in Wellesley Hills, MA.(1) Ultimately, in 1909, Gebelein opened his own shop at 79 Chestnut Street in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston where he continued to work for the rest of his life. (2)
This service is partially represented in a great article by Rosalie Berberian who states: "The technical mastery of this exceptional silversmith can be seen in the exquisite craftsmanship of this service." (3)
Literature: Rosalie Berberian, "The Society of Arts & Crafts of Boston and its Master Silversmiths" in Arts & Crafts Quarterly Magazine
This stunning service is marked underneath 'Gebelein/ STERLING/ Boston.' The tea/ coffee pot measures 11.5 inches across the handle and spout by 9 inches high. The total weight is an impressive 84.25 troy ounces and the service is in excellent condition. A copy of Margaretha Gebelein Leighton's book, George Christian Gebelein, Boston Silversmith, 1878-1945, accompanies this service.
Margaretha Gebelein Leighton, George Christian Gebelein, Boston Silversmith, 1878-1945, (Lunenburg, VT: The Stinehouse Press, 1976), pp. 12-33.
Leighton, p. 54-56.
Rosalie Berberian, "The Society of Arts & Crafts of Boston and its Master Silversmiths" in Arts & Crafts Quarterly Magazine, Vol IV, No.1, pp. 16-23.
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