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Katherine Pratt Arts & Crafts Sterling Silver Centerpiece Bowl, Dedham, MA, c. 1927, Exhibited at Tricennial Exhibition of the Society of Arts & Crafts, Boston, March, 1927

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This bowl is a rare masterpiece by the arts & crafts female silversmith Katherine Pratt, whose works are rarely seen today, and her exhibition pieces are much rarer.

Hand-raised, featuring a lovely shimmering hammered surface, this bowl has chased line decorations around its rim. The domed pedestal base has an applied, shaped ring edge that matches the top rim. A series of alternating flowers and leaves rise from the base and elevate the bowl.

In 1927, The Society of Arts & Crafts, Boston, celebrated its 30th anniversary with the Tricennial Exhibition, held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Their finest artisans lent pieces to this juried show. Pratt exhibited five pieces, including this bowl, catalog number 118. The other masterpiece she exhibited at this show was her Gothic Box, now in the collection of the Dedham Historical Society.

The bowl was again exhibited in 1930 at the Boston Tercentenary Fine Arts and Crafts Exhibition, where Pratt won an award for silversmithing. (1)

It is partly because of the strength of her exhibits at the 1927 and 1930 exhibitions that Pratt was honored with the Society's Medalist Award, their highest honor, in 1931.

Katherine Pratt bowl exhibited at the Tricennial Exhibition of The Society of Arts & Crafts, Boston, 1927
Catalog image of the Katherine Pratt bowl when exhibited at the
Tricennial Exhibition of The Society of Arts & Crafts, Boston, 1927

Katherine Pratt was one of only eight silversmiths to receive the prestigious 'Medalist' award from the Society of Arts & Crafts in Boston and the only female silversmith to do so.

She graduated from the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts and then served a three-year student/ apprenticeship with George Gebelein on an experimental scholarship for women. Later, she opened her studio in Dedham, where she continued doing limited work for Gebelein and taught metal working at the Beaver Country Day School. In 1937, she won a gold medal at the Exposition Internationale des Arts et des Techniques in Paris. (2)

Generally regarded as one of the preeminent female silversmiths of the American arts and crafts movement, her silver is rarely seen on the market today.

Exhibition:
Triennial Exhibition of the Society of Arts & Crafts, Boston, March, 1927 (#118)
Boston Tercentenary Fine Arts and Crafts Exhibition, Boston, July 1930 (#29-300)

Literature:
Illustrated in the catalog of the Tricennnial Exhibition of the Society of Arts & Crafts, Boston, March 1927
Catalog of the Boston Tercentenary Fine Arts and Crafts Exhibition, Boston, July 1930

This important centerpiece is marked 'PRATT/ STERLING.' It measures just shy of 11 inches in diameter by 5 inches high, weighs 31.80 troy ounces and is in excellent antique condition with some light interior scratching from use.

Endnote:

  1. F. W. Coburn, "Boston Fine Arts Exhibit on View" in The Boston Herald, July 8, 1930, p. 13.
  2. Jenny Perry, "Woman Silversmith Continues to Learn," in the Santa Barbara News-Press, July 4, 1967, p. B-1.