Basket with Cornucopiae Handles, about 1814
[Thomas] Fletcher (1787–1866) and [Sidney] Gardiner (1785/7–1827), Philadelphia (active 1811–27)
Silver, 6 3/4 in. high, 15 1/8 in. long, 10 1/8 in. wide
Signed and inscribed (with seal mark, on bottom): FLETCHER & GARDINER / PHILA.; (with engraving, on the bottom): The gift of Mary Gibbs to her daughter / S. Gibbs 1814 / George & Mary Kane Gibbs. / 11th April 1871.; (on one side, outside): S.Gibbs, April 30, 1873. / Sarah Gibbs Thompson April 17, 1901. / Stephanie Sarah Pell, February 5th 1945; (on other side, outside): [Gibbs coat of arms]
Weight: 47 oz. 10 dwt.
RECORDED: “Very Rich and Handsome: Hirschl and Adler Galleries Hosts Sixth Annual Exhibit of American Neo-Classical Decorative Arts,” American Fine Art Magazine 19 (January/February 2015) p. 85
EXHIBITED: Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, 2001–02, Of the Newest Fashion: Masterpieces of American Neo-Classical Decorative Arts, pp. 66 illus., 67, 96 cat. 42
EX COLL.: presented by Mary (Mrs. George, II) Channing Gibbs (d. 1824), Boston, Massachusetts, and Newport, Rhode Island, to her daughter Sarah Gibbs (1784–1866) in 1814; to her brother Governor William Channing Gibbs; by gift to his daughter Mary Kane Gibbs on the occasion of her marriage to her cousin Col. George Gibbs, April 11, 1871; by gift to her sister Sarah Gibbs, on the occasion of her marriage to Col. Robert Means Thompson, April 30, 1873; by gift to their daughter Sarah Gibbs Thompson (d. 1939) and her husband Stephen Hyatt Pelham Pell, Fort Ticonderoga, New York, on the occasion of their marriage, April 17, 1901; by gift to their granddaughter Stephanie Sarah Pell on the occasion of her marriage to Roger Dechame, February 5, 1945, and by descent until 1998; to private collection, until the present
The leading silversmith in America during the later Neo-Classical period, about 1815–35, was the firm of Fletcher & Gardiner of Philadelphia, and, following Sidney Gardiner's early death in 1827, Thomas Fletcher alone. Their production covered the gamut of household silver, including coffee and tea services, covered soup and sauce tureens, platters, trays, and salvers of various shapes and sizes, baskets, cruet frames, chalices, wine coolers, and flatware, as well as a considerable range of presentation pieces for which they achieved deserved renown.
Among the most interesting pieces they produced were baskets in a variety of shapes, of which fewer than a dozen examples have been recorded. This basket must have been made shortly before it was given to its first owner, Sarah Gibbs, in 1814.