SMP Logo
SM Publications
Silver Salon Forums - The premier site for discussing Silver.
SMP | Silver Salon Forums | SSF - Guidelines | SSF - FAQ | Silver Sales

The Silver Salon Forums
Since 1993
Over 11,793 threads & 64,769 posts !!
American Silver before sterling Forum

A GLOSSARY of MILLED BANDS
Past American Coin Silver Forum topics/threads worth a look
WEV's American Silversmith's Family Tree Project Smith's Index

How to Post Photos REGISTER (click here)

customtitle open  SMP Silver Salon Forums
tlineopen  American Silver before sterling
tline3open  Illinois maker?

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

ForumFriend SSFFriend: Email This Page to Someone! next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Illinois maker?
wev
Moderator

Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 01-06-2003 08:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Sent along by a friend, this piece has me stumped:

It is about 3.5" tall including the finial and 5.5" wide, handle to handle. Tea caddy? Sugar box? Date? Given the form and monogram, I am guessing c 1790-1800.

And who is the maker? I am not sure if it is I:R or L•R, but whichever it is, neither is recorded with an Illinois maker that I can find.

Thoughts, anyone?

IP: Logged

Brent

Posts: 1502
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 01-07-2003 10:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Great piece!

The form does look quite early, and far more French than English in inspiration. French-Canadian silversmiths did set up shop at some of the early frontier trading posts in the Louisiana Territory, including places in "Ilinois". The spelling with one "l" is consistent with early French maps of the area.

My first thought was that it had to be someone contemporary with Antoine Oneille, the famous early frontier silversmith. A quick look through SILVER IN THE FUR TRADE turns up a Louis Robitaille. He was working in Detroit, MI from 1794 to 1799, and produced trade goods for a fur trader in Sandwich, Ontario from 1819 to 1822. Which leaves a nice 20 year gap spanning the right time period for this piece, not filled in. He certainly could have travelled about the area and spent some time in "Ilinois". The mark shown in the book is not exactly like the one on this piece, but the pellet IS way over on the left. The mark in the book is also more likely to have been a trade jewelry mark, rahter than a hollowware stamp. At any rate, even if it isn't by Robitaille it is almost certainly by a contemporary frontier silversmith of French extraction.

If I am right about this, the piece is very important and probably ought to be in a museum. I'm sure there would be a lot of interest in Illinois!

Brent

IP: Logged

wev
Moderator

Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 01-07-2003 08:09 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Brent; I had not thought to look there. I also had a note back from Winterthur on the piece:
"In the book, St. Louis Silversmiths, it's identified as Larkin Rutherford, ca. 1775, a "trader" of Kaskaskia, Illinois. However, a tablespoon in the collection of The Detroit Institute of Arts with similar marks suggests Louis Robitaille as the maker (See Fox, Quebec and Related Silver, 1978, pp.128-29, #41)."

IP: Logged

labarbedor

Posts: 353
Registered: Jun 2002

iconnumber posted 01-09-2003 12:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for labarbedor     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have been researching LR Ilinois for about 30 years, and can't give all the information I have in this space. He was a Canadian silversmith, Louis Robitaille, who worked in Ste. Genevieve Mo. around 1800. As Brent points out that is the way Ilinois was spelled on French maps. However the territory the French and later the Spanish, ruled under that name was Upper Louisiana or what is now Missouri and other states west of the Mississippi.
Robitaille's presence in Ste. Genevieve Missouri is well documented over a period of years, and he sold at least some silver in St. Louis, although it is not certain he ever had a shop at the second location.
Quite a few pieces of silver by Robitaille are known in both public and private collections. Most of the holloware pieces, have strong Missouri provenance and are marked LR Ilinois, some of the flatware has Missouri connections but lacks the Ilinois mark, probably due to lack of space.
The engraving on the piece seems very similar to at least one other known piece, and I don't doubt that it was done by the silversmith himself.
As far as the form, I would just be speculating. My guess is a sugar box, but I could be easily argued out of that opinion.
I would be interested in any unpublished information about Robitaille, especially concerning his career in Canada.

IP: Logged

Brent

Posts: 1502
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 01-13-2003 11:22 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the great new information, Labarbedor. Is any of this information published elsewhere, or is this the result of your own research? Do you have additional pieces in your own collection?

Thanks again!

Brent

IP: Logged

labarbedor

Posts: 353
Registered: Jun 2002

iconnumber posted 01-13-2003 06:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for labarbedor     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't know of anything much published, maybe a reference or two, and of course those mentioned. The information has been known by a small group of people for many years, I think I was one of the first to find any primary sources on Robitaille in Ste Genevieve. I don't have any examples myself, but I have seen pieces and pictures of pieces in private collections, and at least one original receipt still exists. There were at least four 18th century silversmiths practicing in Mo. and quite a few more in the first 20 years of the 19th century. Most of the silver found in Mo. has been misidentified over the years because the style is not what is normally found in the rest of the U.S. and sometimes it is confused with other makers in the Mississippi Valley. No one has yet to address the Mississippi Valley and the French silversmiths who worked there as a cultural unit. There has been a lot of drivel written about silver on the "frontier" which seems to ignore the huge amount of silver owned by some of the very wealthy traders and speculators who lived west of the Mississippi. I think the primary reasons more Missouri made silver hasn't been found is a combination of the fact that the old families still own a lot (French silver was made to last and it has), because many people purchased their silver from France itself, and finally because it was often far heavier than Eastern coin silver and so it was more likely to be melted down periodically.

IP: Logged

All times are ET

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.46a


1. Public Silver Forums (open Free membership) - anyone with a valid e-mail address may register. Once you have received your Silver Salon Forum password, and then if you abide by the Silver Salon Forum Guidelines, you may start a thread or post a reply in the New Members' Forum. New Members who show a continued willingness to participate, to completely read and abide by the Guidelines will be allowed to post to the Member Public Forums.
Click here to Register for a Free password

2. Private Silver Salon Forums (invitational or $ donation membership) - The Private Silver Salon Forums require registration and special authorization to view, search, start a thread or to post a reply. Special authorization can be obtained in one of several ways: by Invitation; Annual $ Donation; or via Special Limited Membership. For more details click here (under development).

3. Administrative/Special Private Forums (special membership required) - These forums are reserved for special subjects or administrative discussion. These forums are not open to the public and require special authorization to view or post.


| Home | Order | The Guide to Evaluating Gold & Silver Objects | The Book of Silver
| Update BOS Registration | Silver Library | For Sale | Our Wants List | Silver Dealers | Speakers Bureau |
| Silversmiths | How to set a table | Shows | SMP | Silver News |
copyright © 1993 - 2020 SM Publications
All Rights Reserved.
Legal & Privacy Notices