Child's cup

Philadelphia
about 1855–1867
Probably by George B. Sharp (American (born in Ireland), 1819–1904), Retailed by Bailey & Co. (1848–1878)


Object Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Dimensions

8.2 x 10.5 cm (3 1/4 x 4 1/8 in.)

Accession Number

1971.95

Medium or Technique

Silver

Not On View

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Silver hollowware

The seamed cylindrical body with heavily repouseé-chased landscape decoration above a plain s-shaped band sits on a narrow ring base. A hollow s-curved handle is attached at the upper rim and lower body of the cup. The lower edge of the cup shows the dents and wear of normal use.


The picturesque landscape of thatched-roof cottages and picket fence set among towering trees that embellishes the body of this presentation cup would have charmed a small child. The time-consuming handwork of the repousséd and chased decoration made it a most luxurious gift from Philadelphia’s prominent jeweler, Bailey & Co., which is today the well-known Bailey, Banks & Biddle.
Even though it bears only the retailer’s marks, the cup may have been made by George B. Sharp, who managed Bailey & Co.’s silverware manufacturing production from 1852 to the mid-1860s. Bailey & Co.’s quality mark was introduced in 1855 and indicates an early adoption in this country of the English sterling standard. When the firm reverted to its earlier emphasis on manufacturing jewelry and retailing silverware, Sharp went into business for himself.

This text has been adapted from “Silver of the Americas, 1600-2000,” edited by Jeannine Falino and Gerald W.R. Ward, published in 2008 by the MFA. Complete references can be found in that publication.

Inscription

On the front of the cup within a reserve in script " From / M.S. Pyles, / to / M.G. Strean."

Markings

“BAILEY & CO / CHESTNUT ST PHILA” retailer’s mark, in the shape of enclosing ellipses, struck incuse on base of cup; “136” struck in center. Below is a lion passant, struck twice, each within a shaped reserve. Beneath these touchmarks appear the lion passant within a shaped reserve; “S” within an oval; and a shield.
Ada Mark * F4436

Provenance

The cup descended through the Strean/Greenleaf family of Cambridge, Massachusetts to the donor.

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. H. S. Geery