Monumental Ewer with Presentation Inscription to Mrs. John S. Barbour, 1832
Edward Lownes (1792–1834), Philadelphia (active 1817–34)
Silver, 15 5/16 in. high
Signed and inscribed (with touch, four times, under platform base): E. LOWNES; (with engraving, in engraved cartouche under spout): Presented to Mrs. John S. Barbour / BY / Mrs Bayler & Daughters / 1832
Weight: 58.4 oz. Troy
Philadelphia was unquestionably the center of the production of the best silver during the later Neo-Classical period in the United States, about 1815–35. And the best silversmiths in Philadelphia were the firm of Fletcher and Gardiner, and Thomas Fletcher alone after Gardiner’s untimely death in 1827; Harvey Lewis; Simon Chaudron; Anthony Rasch; and Edward Lownes, who was the maker of the present ewer.
Although the quality of Lownes’s silver is extremely good, the rarity of his work suggests that he likely had a smaller shop—and hence a smaller production—than his sliversmithing contemporaries in Philadelphia.
Lownes’s ewer is distinguished by its substantial scale and its impressive weight. In terms of ornament, the square platform base is supported by four beautifully cast and chased paw feet, the lower part of the body is artfully decorated with a broad border of repousséd acanthus leaves, while the shoulder is ornamented with an elaborate cast border of acanthus leaves, flowers, etc., and three different die-rolled borders decorate the base, the stem, and the top edge.