Basket with Cornucopiae Handles, about 1820
Harvey Lewis (1783–1835), Philadelphia (active about 1811–about 1827)
Silver, 5 3/16 in. high, 16 3/16 in. long, 10 1/2 in. wide
Signed [with touch, twice, on the bottom]: HARVEY · LEWIS
Weight: 49 oz.
EX COLL.: [Gebelein Silversmiths, Boston, Massachusetts, 1969]; to private collection, 1969–2007
Harvey Lewis (1783–1835) was one of the best and most important American silversmiths of the Neo-Classical period. Working in Philadelphia, he was thus contemporaneous with the firm of Fletcher and Gardiner, Simon Chaudron, Anthony Rasch, and Edward Lownes, and contributed to the ascendancy of Philadelphia as the leading center for the silver trade at this time. Lewis was first in business with Joseph Smith, and operated as Lewis and Smith from 1805 to about 1810. He then worked alone until about 1827, when ill health appears to have brought his career as a silversmith to an end.
The present basket is one of the most elaborate pieces by Lewis that has appeared. With its flawlessly cast and chased cornucopiae handles, paw feet, and elaborate border around its upper edge, it is representative of the best of Philadelphia silversmithing in the period around 1820.