Covered pitcher, one of a pair

about 1828
Lewis Cary (American, 1798–1834)


Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Dimensions

31.8 x 29.7 x 19.8 cm (12 1/2 x 11 11/16 x 7 13/16 in.)

Accession Number

1991.250

Medium or Technique

Silver

On View

Kristin and Roger Servison Gallery (Gallery 133)

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Silver hollowware

The raised bulb-shaped body is decorated with repoussé-chased leaves arranged in four panels at the base. An inset circle of silver that carries an additional inscription is inserted under each short-stemed, molded foot. Die-rolled floral bands ornament the base and neck of both pitchers. A broad, curved spout is applied over plain piercings; the domed cover is hinged at back and finished with a “basket of flowers” finial. The crolled handle is highly ornamented and textured.


These impressive pitchers were presented as a gift to Brig. Gen. Theodore Lyman Jr. upon his resignation from the Third Brigade of the First Division of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. The expansive size, in addition to the presentation of not one but a pair of grandly decorated vessels, underlines the importance of both the recipient and the occasion.
Like Cary’s creampot (cat. no. 183), the Lyman pitchers were produced using handwork and machine work. The hand-raised, repousséd, and chased bodies, as well as the individually cast and cold-chased finials and handles, represent hours of labor. The wide and narrow die-rolled bands covering the junctures and rims of the pitchers are machined ornament that was readily available to the silversmith by the first decades of the nineteenth century.
In contrast to the reserved gadrooned bands that quietly define the creampot’s form, the bold floral bands of the pitchers compete for attention with their profiles. The remaining polished areas serve mainly as foils for the visually commanding ornament.

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

"Presented to / Brigadier General Lyman / by the Officers of the / Boston Brigade / May 1828." On the bottom: "Chosen / Brigadier General / February 17, 1823. / Resigned November 9th / 1827 "

Markings

Stamped "L. CARY" in uppercase Roman letters in a rectangle on the neck near the handle.

Provenance

The pitchers descended from Brigadier General Theodore Lyman, Jr. (1792-1849) [m. Mary Elizabeth Henderson 1821] to their son Colonel Theodore Lyman (1833-1897) [m. Elizabeth Russell 1851/6] to their son Dr. Henry Lyman (b. 1878) [m. Elizabeth Cabot 1907] to their children Cora (1910-1982) [m. Dr. Richard Warren 1933], Charles Peirson (b. 1912) and Henry (b. 1915).

Credit Line

Gift of Charles P. and Henry Lyman, and Richard Warren in memory of Cora Lyman Warren