Compote

about 1901
Arthur Stone (American, born in England, 1847–1938)


Object Place: Gardner, Massachusetts, United States

Dimensions

10 x 19.2 cm (3 15/16 x 7 9/16 in.)

Accession Number

1987.204

Medium or Technique

Silver

On View

Lorraine and Alan Bressler Gallery (Gallery 222)

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Silver hollowware

The raised bowl tapers outward and gently inward to a rounded everted rim. Alternating open and closed crocuses are chased and repousséd onto the bowl. It has a splayed trumpet foot that was raised and applied to the bottom of the bowl.


Judging from its mark, this compote dates to 1901, when Stone launched his own business and joined the Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston. He received a certificate of commendation from the society for this piece and three other works he submitted for exhibition in November 1903. This achievement validated Stone’s dream to “to work without stress in a little shop of his own.” The care taken in the execution of the bowl’s shimmering, planished surface attests to his respect for materials and his sensitivity in representing the natural world. He often incorporated floral designs in his work, and the crocus is said to have been one of his favorite floral decorations.
From the start, Stone employed his trademark “signature,” which he used with minor variations until his retirement. His first initial “A” was suggested by the head of a chasing hammer, with the handle positioned horizontally to cross the “St” of his last name. He was proud of his chasing abilities, a skill few silversmiths master. Even when he had a full shop of able assistants, Stone continued to perform most of the chasing work himself until a disabling stroke in 1926 limited his technical abilities.

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

“STERLING” struck on underside of bowl, above center point. “Stone” incised below center point, with profile of incuse chasing hammer stamped across St.

Provenance

Early history unknown. According to family lore, it was received as a wedding present in 1905 by Mary Kennard Scott (1877 – 1960), who left it to her daughter Mary Adams Scott Evans (b. 1908) in 1959.

Credit Line

Gift of Mary Adams Scott Evans