Arthur Stone - The Julia Marlowe Sothern Sterling Silver Bread Basket, Gardner, MA, c. 1915
Of shaped oval form, this wonderful basket features some of the finest hand chased floral decoration that we have seen from Stone's shop. The shaped, raised border slopes gently toward the center depression. Rose flowers and leaves decorate this area with the chasing focused on both ends where it surrounds a shaped reserve. Highlighted in the chased decoration on one end are three monograms 'JMS' styled as they are on all of Julia Marlowe Southern's silver.
Julia Marlowe Sothern and George Booth were Stone's most important clients. Julia Marlowe (1865-1950) became an accomplished Shakespearian actress sharing billings with another famous actor Edward Hugh Sothern. The two married in 1911 and purchased some of the finest silver the Stone shop produced over the next several years for their homes in Litchfield, CT and New York City.
Pieces commissioned by Sothern bear her distinctive 'JMS' repousséd monogram, can be found in important museum collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and have set auction records for Stone's silver. Several pieces are illustrated in Arthur Stone 1847-1938: Silversmith and Designer by Elenita Chickering.
In a note written to Stone in 1915, Julia Sothern thanks him for her beautiful items:
'They will be a lifelong joy to me – I rejoice in their beauty – and they will represent to me always, and will be symbols – of your sincerity in life and your joy in [silversmithing]' (Arthur J. Stone Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution).
The basket measures 12.25 inches long, 8.375 inches wide and 2.25 inches high. It weights 20.2 troy ounces and is in excellent, crisp antique condition.
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