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Kennard & Jenks/ Kennard & Co. Antique Sterling Silver Trompe L'oeil Cheese Dish & Cover, Boston, 1876-80

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This whimsical covered cheese dish features a wonderfully hand-chased faux napkin design mounted with faux biscuits and a faux cover. Hand chased with a spot hammered background, the cylindrical cover rests on a similarly decorated base.

Upon the cover 'rests' a hand chased trompe l'oeil napkin with intricately chased woven details and fringe. On the napkin are silver 'biscuits' which support a spot chased faux cover resting at an angle on top. An inspired and thoroughly delightful design.

Talented designer Lewis Jenks developed this style of American trompe l'oeil silver inspired by Russian silver objects. Gorham hired Jenks and then purchased the Kennard & Co. firm in 1880.(1) They continued to make silver in this style for a very brief period.

This stunning and rare piece is marked with the Kennard & Jenks/ Kennard & Co. trademark, 'STERLING' and 'K.' It measures 8.75 inches in diameter across the under plate, 5.25 inches high and weighs 27.3 troy ounces. It is in very good/ excellent antique condition with very crisp engraved decoration.

  1. D. Albert Soeffing, 'Biographies of Selected Silver Producers and Retailers' in Silver in America a Century of Splendor: 1840-1940, (Dallas: The Dallas Museum of Art, 1994), p. 320, and private conversations with Samuel Hough.