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Hart, Son, Peard & Co., Rare Antique Sterling Silver Communion Service, London, 1871/72

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This spectacular service, with parcel gilt accents, features a flagon, pair of goblets, pair of patens and a collection plate. The gothic shapes and ornamental engraving create a wonderful presence.  It is very rare to find an entire service like this intact.

The pedestal bases consist of six panels terminating in lobed edges. The magnificent wine ewer has a hinged cover surmounted with a cross with a central semi-precious stone. Lovely engraving decorates the shoulder and neck. An engraved band around the bulbous body reads "THIS IS MY BLOOD OF THE NEW TESTAMENT." It is also engraved on one side "St. John's/ Memorial Chapel/ Cambridge" and the other side ''GIVEN BY/ Robert Means Mason/ IN MEMORY OF HIS DAUGHTER/ CLARA THORNDIKE MASON'. A lovely Christogram is engraved on the front.

Both goblets and patens also are engraved with the same dedication and also include Christograms. The patens are engraved "DRINK EAT THIS IS MY BODY," and the goblets are engraved "DRINK YE ALL OF THIS." Once again, the stunning collection plate bears the same dedication on the back and the Christogram on the front. Engraved along its border is ''HE THAT HATH PITY UPON THE POOR LENDETH UNTO THE LORD".

Heart, Son, Peard & Co. were leading makers of ecclesiastical "furnishings" in London during the second half of the 19th century, meaning they created all sorts of church interior fittings.  They were most famous for their award-winning ironwork and silver which they regularly exhibited at international fairs and exhibitions.  The firm worked with important Victorian Gothic designers William Butterfield and William Burgess although the designer of this service is unknown.   

Robert Means Mason was one of the founders and patrons of the Episcopal Theological School and St. Johns Chapel. This was the original chapel communion service.

Provenance: Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Episcopal Divinity School was formerly the Episcopal Theological School founded in 1867 in Cambridge; it changed its name in 1974 when it combined with the Philadelphia Divinity School which was founded in 1857. In 2018, the school merged with the Union Theological Seminary in New York City and the campus was acquired by Leslie University. For more history of the school, see here.

This rare set is fully hallmarked. The flagon measures 12.25 inches high. The total weight of the set is 78.95 troy ounces, and it is in very good antique condition with some expected wear to the original parcel gilding.