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Wood & Hughes Antique Sterling Silver Figural Centerpiece Bowl, New York City, c. 1870

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This is a large and magnificent bowl of stunning quality. There are many spectacular attributes to this ship-shaped (also called a 'nef') centerpiece including unique design and wonderful castings for which Wood and Hughes excelled.

The shaped bowl has a shiny, reflective exterior and a gilt, matte finish to the interior. The front edge is bordered with applied, bold beading. The slightly splayed applied foot is beautifully designed with a crisscross diamond pattern with classical ivy leaves. The partial gilding and its reflection up onto the body of the bowl is beautiful.

The front of the bowl features a thick, shaped platform upon which a cherub rests.

This wonderful casting has the cherub on a ruffled blanket amongst grapevines and resting on one arm with the other arm poised as if blocking the sun while gazing upwards.

The back forms a large wave-shaped scroll. It is ornamented and supported with wonderful scrolling foliage.

The large casting of a woman emerging from lily-of-the-valley is extraordinary. She clutches a rod attached to the body of the bowl. Reminiscent of ship figureheads meant to bring luck and safety, this figure has a flowing dress and wind-swept hair.

This rare centerpiece is marked underneath 'W&H/ STERLING'. It measures 16 inches long by 6.7 inches wide by 7.75 inches high to the top of the female figure. It weighs an impressive 41.25 troy ounces and is in good condition with a couple light scratches and staining to the interior original gilding from use and uneven fire scale on one side (visible in featured picture).