Shreve & Co Sterling Silver 7-piece Coffee and Tea Service, San Francisco - c. 1905
This boldly designed coffee and tea service consists of an after-dinner coffee pot, large tea pot, creamer, covered sugar bowl, waste bowl, a table bell and handled tray.
Shreve & Co was one of the most important California silversmithing firms, and still San Francisco's preeminent jeweler. Known for their fine arts & crafts silver, their unique designs and high quality special-order craftsmanship can be clearly seen in this service.
Each piece is wonderfully hammered and the stunning surfaces sparkle. The rare after-dinner or demitasse coffee pot was used for serving strong black coffee. It is also uncommon to find a service with its bell.
The lovely tray fits some of the pieces, giving the user many options. The rectangular-formed handles are hammered and are executed with shaped edges applied to the top of the tray and chased with a leaf design.
Most unusual about this service are the handles to the coffee and tea pot. We have rarely seen such striking design and unusual construction in a handle. In order to insulate and attach the handle to the body, three carved ivory wafers were drilled and fitted with a sterling rod or rivet which is hammered on both ends. These act as insulators on the tea and coffee pots so that the handles remain cool to the touch. Applied mounts, chased with foliate decoration, secure the handles to the pots.
It is wonderful how simple forms can be enhanced with dramatic design elements and retain a reserved beauty. The creamer, like the coffee pot, has a slender neck and bulbous body. The sugar and waste bowls reflect the shape of the tea pot. Below you can see the detail of the hammered surface, the handle construction and the chased leaves.
Similar lovely chasing decorates the area around the spouts of the pots.
Exceptionally engraved on all the pieces is a 'P' monogram in a shield within wonderful armorial mantling of flowing foliate decoration.
This exquisite service is marked 'SHREVE & CO/ SAN FRANCISCO/ STERLING'. The bell is also stamped '1212'. The 10 inch high coffee pot is also stamped '2 PINTS' and the tea pot is stamped '3 PINTS'. They weigh 25.35 and 30.45 troy ounces respectively. The tray measures 14.25 inches across the handles by 9.5 deep and weighs 24.20 troy ounces. The total weight of all the pieces is an impressive 111.80 troy ounces and the service is in excellent antique condition.