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.
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.