Beautifully executed with classical decoration, this wonderful butter dish has a domed cover with chased classical leaves around its sides outlining the shape of a blossomed flower. The finial is an artichoke, a 19th-century symbol of hospitality.
Oval flutes ornament the flaring rim of the bowl which is also decorated with the classical leaf decoration against a textured background. A band of applied fluting which matches the rim ornaments the spreading foot.
The bowl-shaped insert is pierced in the form of a flower. It has a small attached (later) handle to remove the insert easily.
The underside of this rare butter dish is marked 'R&W/ COIN/ BOSTON' along with the Rogers & Wendt eagle trademark. It is also marked by the Boston retailer 'BIGELOW, BROS & KENNARD.' It measures 5.25 inches in diameter by 5.25 inches high, weighs 15.35 troy ounces and is in very good/ excellent antique condition.
John Rudolph Wendt is well known today as Ball, Black & Co.'s independent master silversmith, working much in the same way John & Edward Moore did with Tiffany & Co. before they were subsumed by Tiffany in 1869. However very little is known of Wendt's formative years in Boston. After arriving from Germany, he quickly gained a reputation as a highly skilled designer and chaser(1) and soon was a partner with Augustus Rogers, a seasoned silversmith who wholesaled his silver to many local retail firms. (2)
In Leading Pursuits and Leading Men (1856), Edwin T. Freedley notes that Rogers and Wendt: 'are said to be the largest exclusive manufacturers of hollow silver-ware in Boston, and probably in the Union…they are prepared to receive orders from all parts of the United States, and execute them with fidelity and dispatch.'(3)
For more information on Rogers & Wendt, please read our article featuring a coffee service now in the Museum of Fine Arts here.
- Edwin T. Freedley, Leading Pursuits and Leading Men: A Treatise on the Principal Trades and Manufactures of the United States, showing the Progress, State and Prospects of Business…, (1856, Philadelphia: Edward Young), p. 397.
- loc. Cit.
- loc. Cit.