Coffeepot

about 1847–50
Woodward & Grosjean (active 1847–1850)


Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Dimensions

29.5 x 26 x 17.5 cm (11 5/8 x 10 1/4 x 6 7/8 in.)

Accession Number

1990.363

Medium or Technique

Silver

Not On View

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Silver hollowware

Repousséd and chased floral and rocaille decoration and gadrooned C scrolls frame an asymmetrical cartouche on the front and back of the raised gourd-shaped vessel. The cast spout, handle, and scrolled feet are embellished with acanthus leaves. A dramatic flame finial sits atop the hinged, domed cover.


With its scrolls and repousséd and chased floral motifs confined to the lower section, this raised coffeepot is a somewhat conservative version of the often exuberant Rococo-revival style, the most current and popular of the midcentury. Several examples of silver hollowware retailed by Jones, Ball & Poor, one of Boston’s most prominent retail jewelers, bear the “W & G” mark identified as that of Woodward & Grosjean. However, a number of questions remain about the identities and histories of the men.
The names Elijah Woodward and John H. Woodward appear separately in the Boston directory as silversmiths in 1841 (though no place of business is listed for either); John’s home is listed as 12 Madison Place, and Elijah boarded at 34 Pitts. No Grosjean appears in the Boston directories until 1847 – 1851, when one is listed as the second-named partner in the firm of Woodward & Grosjean at 13 Court Square. In 1852 Woodward and Grosjean have disappeared from the directory. It is unclear whether Woodward is Elijah or John or what Grosjean’s given name was.
Woodward and Grosjean apparently moved to New York City to work by 1853, and the name of the firm was changed to Grosjean & Woodward. The pair worked there for some years as major suppliers for Tiffany & Co. The obituary for Tiffany designer Charles T. Grosjean in the Jewelers’ Circular of April 1888 notes that he “learnd the silversmith’s trade from his father, of the late firm of Grosjean & Woodward.” When the elder Grosjean died, his son joined the Tiffany firm.

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

None.

Markings

Stamped in individual rectangles: "JJONES, BALL & POOR/ PURE COIN / W&G / BOSTON"
Ada Mark * F4739

Provenance

Early history unknown; to the donor at an unknown date and made a gift in 1990.

Credit Line

Gift of Jane Sears Kostoff