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Vincent Laforme (attr.) Jones, Ball & Poor Coin Silver Cruet Set, Boston, MA, 1848-52

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This rare cruet set features seven containers in a stunning frame. The exceptional silver frame has a twisting oak branch creating the top rim of the body, executed with numerous knots and hanging branches with acorns and leaves. The detail and condition are very striking. Each end has a small cartouche engraved with a 'C' initial. A reeded ring around the base of the oval body houses a (replaced) mahogany base and is elevated on four beautiful feet. An elegant scrolling handle accented by flowers has a horizontal frame to stabilize the bottles.

Likely original to the set, the bottles are hand-blown with polished pontils underneath. Two bottles have pierced silverplate covers, and the mustard pot has an attached silverplate hinged cover and a silverplate mustard ladle. Seven-bottle American silver cruets from this period are quite rare. Spices and sauces were an important dining staple for those who could afford them, and having seven bottles would allow the opportunity to offer a variety of savor.

Jones, Ball & Poor was Boston's leading jeweler during this period, the partnership ultimately becoming Shreve, Crump and Low in 1869. Silver bearing the Jones, Ball and Poor mark and the actual maker's marks on items sold by the firm is very uncommon. Boston items of the early 19th century are only occasionally found with makers marks on them. It was traditional with both silver and furniture for only the retailer to mark the item: this is why attributions of furniture and silver from this period can be so difficult.

Vincent Laforme was one of their suppliers, and almost certainly, the maker of this piece as oak was one of his favorite design themes. His drawings at Winterthur show pieces of nearly identical oak designs - and interestingly, a cruet set design features bottles with almost identical finials.

This stunning cruet set is marked 'JONES, BALL & POOR.' It measures 7.5 inches long by 6.5 inches wide by and spout by 12.25 inches high to the top of the handle. The wood base is a lovely replacement and is held in with small brass pins, which are also replacements. The silver and set are in excellent condition, the glass is also in very good/ excellent condition with only a few of the tiniest chips, and there is light wear to the mustard pot's silverplated cover.

The well-matched silverplate fiddle-tipt pattern mustard ladle is later 19th century. It measures 5.5 inches long and is in very good condition with light scratching from use. It is lightly marked "[LE]ONARD HUBER," a Louisville, KY, jeweler.