These rare silver dishes from the famous firm of Kirk exhibit exceptional work and are large examples of this form.
The bottom sections are repousséd in stunning detail. One is covered in robust flowers and foliage with a couple small clusters of fruit. The other dish is also brilliantly covered in stunning repoussé which also incorporates a scene of fruit and a bird in flight. Bordering the rims of the bottom dishes are applied bands of leaves. The stippled background to these lovely scenes enhance their beauty and 3-dimensional raised designs.The covers are also covered with foliage and scroll ornament and trees. There are also exceptionally executed vignettes. One cover has an unusual scene on one side of a man on horseback looking behind him fleeing a fire. He is trailing a deer flanked by birds. Behind him are a dog and a fox. The opposite side has two scenes separated by a cartouche engraved 'JHW'. One scene is of a small boat with a standing male figure holding an oar. Behind him is a young boy and, at the stern, is a female figure with her hand in the water. These romanticized scenes are quite uncommon and intriguing. To the right of the monogram is a large mansion with a fence.
The other cover also has two scenes on the sides of the monogram. One depicts a frontiersman holding a rifle with a small cabin in the background. A rustic home and a large tree are to the right of the monogram. The opposite side incorporates a deer fleeing the pursuit of a Native American on horseback jumping over a log. The use of Native Americans depicted in silver during this period is extremely rare.
The fully cast lion handles are some of the finest figural examples we have ever seen. The details are stunning. The statuesque animals bearing their teeth stand on oval patches of brush. These handles are removable to be used as table ornaments when using the covers as secondary serving dishes. Applied, oval bands of leaves around the top act as the bases for the covers when they are inverted.
These exceedingly rare covered serving dishes are marked underneath with the rare 'Civil War' Kirk mark, 'S. KIRK & SONS/ 11OZ', which was used only briefly from 1861-68. They measures 12 inches in diameter by 6 inches high and weigh an impressive combined weight of 117.30 troy ounces. They are in very good antique condition with light wear to the highlights.