William Bogert for Tiffany & Co Antique Sterling Silver Ewer, New York City, c. 1872
This magnificent ewer is extremely rare and of stunning design and quality. The cast and applied ornamental handle is formed as a twisting vine terminating with 3-dimensional leaves and clusters of berries.
A bold renaissance inspired mask forms the underside of the spout with details of a man's face with mustache and a vine with leaves and berries emerging from his mouth.
The body is covered with fine circles chased on the textured surface. This stunning treatment adds to the visual effect of the piece and makes the decorative elements shine.
Decorating the is some of the finest repoussé work we have seen. Finely hand chased details give texture to the vine bark, veins to the leaves and feathers to the birds. The details are remarkable and the surface pristine.
Eight birds are found amongst the twisting vines with each one doing something unique. The bird above is sleeping with his eyes firmly shut while perched on one leg.
The bird depicted in the picture above has its wings spread as it goes in to catch a large flying insect.
One of our favorites is this bird which is scratching an itch. Exceptional art and whimsy is portrayed throughout this wonderful ewer.
The front contains a wonderful presentation inscription contained within a circular field bordered by a vine with leaves.
George W. Norton
"MY MORE THAN FRIEND"
AND AS A TOKEN OF LOVE AND
GRATITUDE FROM HIS FAMILY.
FEBY 5th 1872.
This stunning classical pattern can be traced to Moses Henry's A Collection of Antique Vases, Altars, Paterae, Tripods, Candelabra, Sarcophagi &c. from Various Collections (London, 1814) where this design can be found in plate 28. One can see where the design originated, although the design on this ewer has been reinterpreted with somewhat more modern, Japanese inspired birds. Also, Samuel Kirk in Baltimore has been documented as using this design.(1)
This magnificent ewer is marked underneath with Bogert's trademark 'B' within a diamond twice. It is also marked 'ENGLISH-STERLING/ 925-100/ 1/ 4247' and by the retailer 'TIFFANY & Co'. It measures 14 inches high by 7 inches wide, weighs 51.85 troy ounces and is in exceptional antique condition.
Gregory R. Weidman and Jennifer Goldsborough, Classical Maryland 1815-1845, (Baltimore: Maryland Historical Society, 1993), p. 161.