Gorham 'Chicken-leg' or 'Mary Todd Lincoln' Antique Coin Silver Teapot, Providence, RI, c. 1860
One of the most famous and rare forms in Gorham's coffee and tea line is the tête-à-tête set owned by President and Mrs. Abraham Lincoln, now in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.
Years ago we had a creamer and sugar in this line. We have never had the pleasure to offer a tea pot. Truly remarkable, the pot incorporates great design with a little bit of whimsy. The round body is decorated with a midsection of repoussé flowers, chased leaves and blades of grass. Stippled backgrounds add texture to the 3-dimensional decorations.
Around the upper rim and around the base of the spout are a series of applied ball decorations. The plain domed, hinged lid has a teardrop finial. The dramatic handle has a feather thumb piece and beautifully replaced insulators.
The pot is supported by four feet in the form of chicken legs with detailed castings of the hocks, shanks and toes. These whimsical feet celebrate the agrarian nature of our country at the time and the healthy living associated with it.
This rare coin silver teapot is marked underneath with Gorham's trademark, '0110' and 'COIN'. It measures 7.75 inches across the handle and spout by 5.5 inches high, weighs 11.80 troy ounces. Aside from a slight stress fracture where the hinge meets the cover, it is in very good/ excellent antique condition retaining the original interior gilding. As mentioned, the insulators are plastic replacements.
This model is quite rare. For a picture of and more information on the Mary Todd Lincoln's 'chicken-leg' tête-à-tête set, see Gorham Silver, p. 46.
Here is a link to the Smithsonian picture of the set: here
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