Five-piece tea set

about 1908
Arthur Stone (American, born in England, 1847–1938), Made by Herbert A. Taylor (active 1908–1937)


Object Place: Gardner, Massachusetts, United States

Dimensions

Kettle: 23.5 x 23.5 x 18.5 cm (9 1/4 x 9 1/4 x 7 5/16 in.) Sugar bowl: 11.5 x 19.8 cm (4 1/2 x 7 13/16 in.) Teapot: 13.5 x 27.3 cm (5 5/16 x 10 3/4 in.) Waste bowl: 7.6 x 19.7 cm (3 x 7 3/4 in.) Creamer: 10.2 x 15.3 x 10.3 cm (4 x 6 x 4 1/16 in.)

Accession Number

1987.551-555

Medium or Technique

Silver

On View

Lorraine and Alan Bressler Gallery (Gallery 222)

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Silver hollowware

Kettle: This is a spun vessel with an applied foot with a perforated design. Chased crocuses framed by symmetrical scrolling vines divide the body of the vessel into twelve sections; however, the crocus bud was omitted behind handles and at the spout. The kettle has a button finial with a chased leaf pattern. The kettle has a five-part hinge and chased leaves extending the length of the top of the spouts. The kettle has four applied knobs for positioning the piece on the stand. The handle on the kettle has ivory or bone insulators.
Sugar bowl: The pear-shaped form was raised. The foot was applied. Chased crocuses framed by symmetrical scrolling vines divide the body of the vessel into twelve sections; however, the crocus bud was omitted behind handles and at the spout. The sugar bowl has delicately scrolled thumb rests at the handle joins and shows evidence of gold wash. The sugar bowl has button finials with chased leaf pattern.
Teapot: The pear-shaped form was raised. The foot was applied. Chased crocuses framed by symmetrical scrolling vines divide the body of the vessel into twelve sections. The teapot has button finials with chased leaf pattern and a five-part hinge and chased leaves extending the length of the top of the spout. The handle on the teapot has ivory or bone insulators.
Waste bowl: The pear-shaped form was raised. The foot was applied. Chased crocuses framed by symmetrical scrolling vines divide the body of the vessel into twelve sections; , except on the teapot. The waste bowl has delicately scrolled thumb rests at the handle joins and an applied band at the rim.
Creamer: The pear-shaped form was raised. The foot was applied. Chased crocuses framed by symmetrical scrolling vines divide the body of the vessel into twelve sections; however, the crocus bud was omitted behind handles and at the spout. The creamer has a delicately scrolled thumb rest at the handle join, evidence of gold wash, an applied band at the rim.


The decoration of this tea set is admired best when the pieces are in use and viewed at the proper height. The pleasing forms, refined lines, and delicate chasing demonstrate the aesthetic and technical ambition of Stone’s shop.
Commissioned as a wedding present for Lawrence and Alice Bullard in 1906, the original four-piece set documents early workshop practices when Stone executed much of the raising and chasing. After his stroke in 1926, much of that work was handled by his assistants. Stone was sufficiently proud of the group, and no doubt eager for similar commissions, to borrow the set from the Bullards in order to include it in the Society of Arts and Crafts exhibition the next year. Some six years later, the set was augmented by the kettle and stand, which were perhaps given as an anniversary present to Mrs. Bullard.2 By that time Stone’s business had grown, and he employed several full-time assistants. Herbert Taylor (w. 1908 – 1937) was involved with the creation of the kettle and stand to such a degree that he was allowed to strike his initial on them. The burner, however, was purchased from Whiting, one of the period’s foremost silver manufacturers.

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 / Stone [with profile of incuse chasing hammer stamped across St] / T” struck on bottom of kettle, near edge of rim.

Provenance

The kettle may have been commissioned by Lawrence Bullard in 1912 as an anniversary present. The set descended to the Bullards’ daughter Margrette Bullard (1907 – 1983) and then to Alice Bullard’s grandchildren Alice N. Mays and Barbara N. Ziems; they sold it to the Museum through ARK Antiques, New Haven, Connecticut.

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated by a friend of the Department of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture, John H. and Ernestine A. Payne Fund, and Curator's Fund