Peer Smed Antique Sterling Silver Coffee Service with Tray, New York City, c. 1930s
This extremely rare service showcases the unique designs and exceptional skills of the important New York silversmith Peer Smed.
This large service is complete, consisting of a coffee pot, tea pot, hot water kettle on stand, creamer, covered sugar bowl, hot milk vessel and two-handled tray. The bulbous bodies are uniquely executed with subtle organic lobing similar to calla lily seed pods. The removable covers to the pots, kettle and sugar bowl have lovely applied calla lilies in bloom. The handles to the pots have their original ivory insulators and an applied leaf thumb rest.
As seen in the above picture, the handles on the sugar bowl are formed as leaves. More of this foliate-inspired design is used to create lovely pierced pedestal feet for the vessels.
In the feet, ornate pierced designs create stunning scenes of leaves and swirling stems as if in the process of unfolding.
Two items we have never seen before by Peer Smed are the hot water kettle with its original stand and burner and the hot milk pourer. We believe it is for hot milk due to the insulating ivory handle which follows the motif of the blossoming calla lily.
A tour de force, the magnificent hot water kettle on stand has exceptional design, execution and presence.
Bold carved ivory handles with sterling rods emerge from the sides terminating against the body with lovely leaf designs. Emerging from the front of the body is a spout with a ivory spigot handle carved to compliment the foliate decorations around the base.
The base of the kettle is also visually striking. The four supports rising from the bottom bow outwards, reflecting the shape of the kettle. They are executed in the forms of flower stems with leaves at the base and leaves and unfolding flowers at the top.
A striking pierced design decorates the center of the base and rises in the center to support the original burner. Even the chained pins which secure the kettle to its stand are finished like the stamens of a calla lily flower.
An original tray accompanies this service and is beautifully decorated with wonderful handles of calla lilies and foliage. Also decorating the edge are sections of beading, similar to the stamens.
In order to preserve the beauty of the shapes and surfaces which shimmer with wonderful hammering, Peer Smed executed the monogram in one of the most original (and clever) ways we have seen by incorporating the pierced monogram into the strainer of the tea pot. To create this unique monogram, the pot would have been pierced in reverse on the outside and then the spout would have been attached over it.
Provenance: The monogram is 'ECW' for Elma Currier Willey. She was the wife of Raymond Willey, President of the Harbison-Walker Refractory Company in Pittsburgh. Amongst other heat-resistant things, they manufactured heat-resistant tiles used by the steel industry there. By descent in the family.
This exquisite service is marked underneath 'PEER SMED/ STERLING/ HAND WROUGHT'. It has stunning detail and exceptional quality. The kettle measures 14 inches high and the tray is 26 inches in length. The total weight is an impressive 255.95 troy ounces. The service is in excellent condition with normal age lines in the ivory. The carved ivory spigot handle is restored.
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