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Tiffany & Co Antique Sterling Silver Persian-style Hot Milk Jug, New York City, 1883

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Hot milk jugs are rare and were quite the fashion during Victorian times for use in adding milk to tea without cooling it. This is an exceptional example of stunning design and workmanship from Tiffany that was given as a wedding gift to a member of a prominent New York family in 1883. Encompassing the bulbous-shaped body is decoration of exotic flora and foliage. Flowing designs encompass the vessel. Separating the neck from the body is a band of finely chased foliage below a simple, plain ring below a row of classical leaves. Complimenting these themes are the band around the top of the body and the large leaf-form spout. An attached S-scroll handle is also adorned with the same body decoration and a cast foliate thumb-piece. A blossoming flower finial adorns the domed lid.

This wonderful jug is engraved underneath:
Mrs. William E. Chisolm
to her cousin
Mary Rhinelander Stewart
on her wedding day
April 25th 1883'
Mary Rhinelander Stewart (1859-) married Frank Spencer Witherbee (1852-1917) on April 25th, 1883, becoming Mrs. Frank Witherbee.

Frank S. Witherbee graduated Yale in 1875. He entered and became president of his father's iron ore mining business Witherbee, Sherman & Company. He was also president of the Lake Champlain & Moriah Railroad Company, the Cubitas Iron Ore Company, and vice-president of the Cheever Iron Ore Company and others. (William Richard Cutter, New England Families, genealogical and memorial, vol. 1, [New York: The Historical Publishing Company, 1913], p. 14)

Mary Rhinelander Stewart (1859-) was the daughter of Lispenard & Mary (Rhinelander) Stewart and grand-daughter of William C. Rhinelander(1791-1878) who, when he passed away, had an estate 'valued conservatively at $60,000,000.00'. This enormous amount of wealth increased over the years and in 1893 when Mary Rhinelander Stewart's mother passed away, the New York Times reported 'By the division of Mr's. Stewart's share of the estate, Lispenard Stewart will become one of the wealthiest bachelors, and Mr. and Mrs. William Rhinelander Stewart and Mr. and Mrs. Frank Witherbee two of the richest couples in this city' ("Mourned by Rich and Poor; Mrs. Lispenard Stewart Buried from Grace Church" in The New York Times, October 11,1893, p.5).

This rare antique silver jug is marked underneath 'Tiffany & Co Makers Sterling Silver 925-1000, 1. Q./ T' along with the pattern numbers '5014/1694'. It measures 8.75 inches high, weighs 20.30 troy ounces, retains its original ivory insulators on the handle and is in excellent condition.