Footed bowl

Samuel Kirk & Son (active 1846–1861, 1868–1896), Samuel Kirk (American, 1793–1872), Henry Child Kirk, Sr. (American, 1827–1914)

Object Place: Baltimore, Maryland, United States


19.5 x 36.2 x 19 cm (7 11/16 x 14 1/4 x 7 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View




Silver hollowware

The shallow, oval, raised bowl of the compote has an undulating rim with a rounded applied band and sits on a spool-type pedestal with a wide oval foot. Large butterflies of indeterminate species (possibly a swallowtail butterfly, family Papilionidae), with stamped details, perch upon the ends of the bowl. A dense band of repousséd and chased floral decoration circles the bowl, under the rim. Clusters of naturalistic flowers embellish the front and back of the engraved and punched ground of the elliptical foot with applied foot ring.

This footed bowl still displays the deep relief characteristic of the Rococo-revival style, as seen in the encircling naturalistic band of flowers. However, the graphic outlines and flat interior markings of the butterfly’s wings seem to relate it to the newer, flatter forms and more stylized design popular during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The sinuous line of the rim and elongated body suggest a natural pool of water that has attracted the two insects and may reflect an affinity for the Japanese aesthetic in vogue at the time.

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.


“June 25, 1875” and “June 20th 1964” in script engraved beneath each end of elliptical bowl. Crest is the head of a panther on a coronet, engraved within a reserve on side of bowl


“S. Kirk & Son” in italic letters and “11.oz” both struck incuse on base.

Ada Mark X


Descended through the Lemaire family to Anne Johnson Matthews, who bequeathed it in June 1953 to the donor.

Credit Line

Gift of Anne Seddon Rutherfoord Lemaire