Shiebler Sterling Water Pitcher from the Slocum Family, New York City, c. 1889
This wonderful Shiebler water pitcher features the bold design that makes Shiebler's work so collected today. Of undulating gourd shape, this pitcher has a band of finely chased arabesques around the rim. Lively acanthus leaf decoration is repousséd around the base with a cross-hatched design in the background.
Gentle lobes rise vertically from this acanthus decoration to the arabesques around the rim. A cast and applied handle displays bold medieval inspired strap work where it joins the pitcher. Typical of Shiebler's best designs, this pitcher combines design influences in a highly creative and idiosyncratic manner.
The front lobe is monogrammed 'FES' in an artistic foliate script for Florence Elizabeth Slocum who married Henry Peoble Kingsbury on June 11, 1889, the date inscribed underneath the pitcher. This was a wedding present to the eldest surviving child of Civil War hero General Henry Warner Slocum (1827-94).
Slocum rose through the ranks of army leadership during the Civil War. He played important roles at the First Battle of Bull Run, the Battle of Crampton's Gap, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg. Ultimately he was promoted to major general, commanding the left flank of General William Sherman's Army of the Potomac on its famous 'march to the sea' through Georgia and later commanding the Army of Georgia. After the war, Slocum served in congress and in other political and civic capacities.
On the wedding of his daughter Florence Elizabeth, the New York Times reported on June 12, 1889:
One of the most notable weddings of the present season in Brooklyn was that yesterday afternoon of Miss Florence Elizabeth Slocum, only daughter of Gen. H. W. Slocum, and Capt. Henry P. Kingsbury of the Sixth Cavalry, at present stationed at Fort Stanton, New Mexico. The large drawing rooms of Gen. Slocum's residence were decorated with palms, ferns, and, smilax. A temporary chancel was erected at the upper end of the parlor, at which the couple knelt during the ceremony.
The bride wore a gown of white corded silk, with front of mousseline de soie, trimmed with a delicate silver passementerie. A light spray of orange blossoms held in position a tulle veil. She wore a brooch set with diamonds and pearls, the gift of the groom . . . .
A reception followed from 4 until 7 o'clock, at which an elaborate collation was served by Pinard. Gen. W. T. Sherman sent a letter expressing regret that he could not be present. He took occasion to say that the railroads had removed the greatest drawback from the paths of young ladies who married army officers who were stationed in the far West. Letters of regret were also received from President and Mrs. Harrison, Secretary and Mrs. Blaine, and Judge Walter Q. Gresham.
This water pitcher is marked underneath with the Shiebler winged trademark, 'STERLING', 'THEO B. STARR' (the retailer) and the model number '1710'. It measures 9.25 inches high, weighs 26.35 troy ounces and is in very good antique condition.