Kettle on stand
Gorham Manufacturing Company (active 1865–1961)
Object Place: Providence, Rhode Island, United States
28 x 29 x 22.5 cm (11 x 11 7/16 x 8 7/8 in.)
Medium or Technique
Not On View
The reeded kylix-shaped lower body is spun and joined to the concave shoulder and slender neck by an egg-and-dart decorated stamped band. A flat-chased Greek-key design with additional floral motifs above rings the shoulder. The domed and reeded hinged lid has a cold-chased acorn finials. The cast spout is reeded. The short-stemmed foot is deeply gadrooned at the bottom edge. The kettle rests in a stand with curving brackets; its round flared base is encircled with the smaller scaled banding of the hollowware’s upper bodies and sits on bun feet.
This large coffee and tea service is composed of six pieces made by Rogers & Wendt in the mid-nineteenth century and a matching kettle on stand made by Gorham in the early twentieth. The addition succeeds beautifully and provides evidence of the high quality of workmanship available after the turn of the century.
Formed and decorated in the late classical style, the original six pieces are the work of Rogers & Wendt, a little-known Boston firm. Johan Rudolph Wendt apprenticed with master goldsmith Dietrich Heinrich Stadt II in his native Germany and immigrated to the United States during the 1848 revolution. Listed as a chaser in the Boston directory of 1850, he prospered quickly. By 1853 he appeared in partnership with Augustus Rogers, who had begun his career in New York but established himself in Boston in the 1840s. Reported to have a large shop of forty workers, the firm prospered. Rogers & Wendt retailed this service and other wares through Jones, Shreve, Brown & Co., one of Boston’s largest and most prestigious retailers of luxury goods.
This fully marked service is a major example of comparatively rare Boston silver by this firm. In 1860 Rogers & Wendt formed a partnership with George Wilkinson, Gorham’s head designer, to supply the well-known New York firm of Ball, Black & Co. For unknown reasons, the partnership lasted only a few months, but Wendt retained his New York connection and, for more than a decade, occupied two floors of the firm’s new building as an independent supplier. Although Wendt is recognized as a major New York City silversmith, his Boston work remains relatively unknown.
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.
“EGB” entwined letters within a medallion engraved on concave shoulder of side of kettle, to right of handle. “from / W. B. and K. D’C. B. / June 28, 1915” in alternating script and Gothic letters engraved underneath base.
Lion passant within an octagon, anchor within a shaped reserve, Gothic “G” within an octagon, and “STERLING / M T G.” struck incuse on base of Gorham kettle on stand; the stand is marked underneath in the same manner with manufacturer’s and quality marks and “H T G.” The burner is similarly marked on base and carries additional “[P-shape] / PAT. APPLIED FOR / [dagger] 1915 date symbol],” all incuse.
Ada Mark X
The Gorham company costing slip for the kettle and stand shows that it was a special order to match the Jones, Shreve, Brown & Co. tea set. The set was made for Tilden Thurber Company of Providence, Rhode Island, who sold it to the Binney family. Elizabeth Goddard Binney (b1893) married Barnes Newberry of Rhode Island about 1915, which is when the kettle was added to the service. The service descended to their son William Binney Newberry (b. 1928), who placed the service at auction. In 1998 it was purchased by dealer Spencer Marks and therafter purchased by the Museum. Thomas Newberry was Secretary of the Navy under President Roosevelt. William Binney was the founder of the R.I. Hospital Trust Bank, which is now Bank of Boston.
Museum purchase with funds donated by The Seminarians, other friends, and the Curator's Fund in memory of Harry H. Schnabel, Jr.