Lewis E. Jenks Sterling Silver 3 Piece Coffee Set, Boston, c. 1872-75
This is a very high quality sterling coffee service with great details and design. The overall design is flowing branches with leaves, flowers and fruit, all on a stippled background to bring out the 3-dimensional quality of the workmanship. The handles are nicely cast with cast and applied thumb pieces, flowers and leaves. The coffee pot has a stunning spout with a serpent form end and cascading stippled neck (see below). The cream jug also features a spout with outstanding casting.
Having worked at the Boston firm of Bigelow Bros. & Kennard, Lewis Jenks went into business on his own around 1872. Seeing the working dates for Crosby, Morse & Foss are 1869-1875 and Jenks went into business in 1872, we can fairly accurately date the set to between 1872-1875. It is unusual to find Boston silver of this period marked by both the maker and retailer, usually only the retailer marked the silver.
Jenks was a very important designer of silver in Boston. His next firm, Kennard & Jenks, created the only Japanesque silver made in Boston. After selling Kennard & Jenks to Gorham in 1880. His son, Barton, became a principal of Goodnow & Jenks, Boston's leading silversmiths of the 1890's. They sold important colonial revival silver of very high quality to an elite clientele.
His importance is further underscored by the highly respectable provenance of this coffee service. It belonged to the Reverend Chandler Robbins, successor to Ralph Waldo Emerson at the First Church of Boston.
Each piece has its original block-style 'R' monogram in the blank and is marked underneath by Lewis Jenks company mark, 'STERLING/BOSTON' and by the Boston retailer 'CROSBY, MORSE & FOSS. The coffee pot is 11 inches high and has great weight at 39.4 troy ounces. The covered sugar bowl is 7.5 inches high and weighs 25.95 troy ounces. The creamer is 8 inches high and weighs 19.3 troy ounces. The combined weight is 84.65 troy ounces.
Condition: Very good with some wear to the highlights.
Provenance: the Reverend Chandler Robbins, successor to Ralph Waldo Emerson at the First Church of Boston.