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  one pot, two Lowneses

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:   one pot, two Lowneses
akgdc

Posts: 289
Registered: Sep 2001

iconnumber posted 01-14-2004 10:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for akgdc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote



Here's an 1810s Philadelphia Empire-style coffeepot I just bought that has two maker's marks on it: one "E. LOWNES" in block letters for Edward Lownes (1792-1834; active from 1816), and beneath it "J. Lownes" in cursive for Joseph Lownes (1758-1820; active from c. 1785).

According to the usual published sources, Edward apprenticed with his uncle before setting up shop on his own in 1816. Uncle Joe either retired in that year or went into partnership with another relative until his death in 1820 (depending on which book you believe).

I know there's a lot of silver around marked by both Lowneses individually. But have any of you gurus ever seen both their marks on the same piece?

I also wonder whether the piece was

1) made by Edward (perhaps toward the end of his apprenticeship, and then it was still unsold in the shop when he got his own mark, so he took it and signed it)

or

2) made by Joseph (and then he gave it to his nephew to sell)

or

3) made by anyone you please, and retailed by both Lowneses in partnership.

Any insights/theories?

IP: Logged

swarter
Moderator

Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 01-15-2004 03:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I would guess it was made by Joseph and sold by Edward, shortly after the latter set himself up in business. It was not uncomon for silversmiths to mark and resell items gotten from from colleagues. It was especially common for freed apprentices to maintain contacts with their mentors, and it is not unusual to find identical products marked by one or the other that seem to have been made by only one. Joseph could habe been inundated with orders or had a short deadline and had Edward make it for him. Most likely it was the other way around - the younger would make spoons and other easier objects, while the elder made the more complex ones (not wasting his time on the mundane when his skille were better used elsewhere). Many of the more successful smiths had thriving businesses supplying to the trade, and Joseph may well have ben one of those; many bought in items for resale from others, as well. These relationships are documanted in a number of surviving daybooks, and sometimes an individual piece can be traced.

Whichever one made it, it is a really nice pot.

[This message has been edited by swarter (edited 01-16-2004).]

IP: Logged

akgdc

Posts: 289
Registered: Sep 2001

iconnumber posted 01-15-2004 06:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for akgdc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Stuart, thanks, that explanation makes a lot of sense. Certainly it is easier to believe that Joseph made this than that Edward did at such an early age. Do you know if there are any surviving day books for either of the pair, by the way?

I also wanted to post a closeup photo of the spout on the pot, which is exceptionally detailed. I suppose this would have been cast and then chased?

Whichever Lownes it was did go a bit bananas with the die-rolled borders, though ... by my count there are 5 different ones on this pot, some used twice!


IP: Logged

swarter
Moderator

Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 01-15-2004 07:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't know of any daybooks - you might inquire of Winterthur, They would surely know.

The spout tip was certainly cast; whether it was chased or merely touched up afterward I cannot say. Decoration on some Empire style style silver did seem excessive, but this one seems well proportioned and nicely balanced. It all seems to work quite well. And I think that bacchanalian border is great (but maybe better suited for a wine jug than a tea or coffee pot).

I don't quite know what to make of the two-piece handle, though; perhaps it is a partial or complete replacement? The color match on the two parts looks to be good. How does the wood grain compare ?

IP: Logged

FredZ

Posts: 1069
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 01-15-2004 08:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A superb piece of holloware!

It was the common practice to cast the in two halves and file and perhaps do some preliminary chasing before soldering them together. The final chasing was accomplished after the spout was soldered to the body of the pot. Sometimes the mounts for the wooden handles were cast in the same fashion.

Fred

IP: Logged

swarter
Moderator

Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 01-15-2004 08:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Perhaps I shouldn't say, since I do not have one to examine for a seam, but I believe I have read that these animal-head spout tips were cast in one piece separately from the spout proper, and soldered onto the spout after it was assenmbled. There would have been more of the detail in the casting of the head than in the halves of the spout, on which the acanthus leaves were chased.

IP: Logged

mdhavey

Posts: 164
Registered: Dec 2003

iconnumber posted 01-15-2004 09:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mdhavey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The wooden handle in two pieces—now that's a curiosity. How are they joined? What keeps them together? A splinth? Is that a large pin? Is it loose? It would seem like an old repair job—does anyone think it's possible that this was original and intentional?

IP: Logged

akgdc

Posts: 289
Registered: Sep 2001

iconnumber posted 01-15-2004 11:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for akgdc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Scott, grazie for fixing my photos. I'm still finding my way around the world of pic posting.

The spout definitely has a visible casting seam in the middle of the dragon's upper and lower lips. I will try to get a good pic of this.

The handle is not loose. The wood matches perfectly, so it looks like the two halves are the result of an old break along the grain. Then they fixed it by drilling it and inserting a plug of lead through the broken part to hold it together (the two slightly protruding ends of the plug are just visible in the photo). This old-fashioned repair seems to be holding up just fine.

Since the pot weighs 41 oz when empty, I can see how there would have been considerable stress on the top of the handle while pouring!

Have any of you seen that Bacchus banding before, by the way? I swear i have, but I can't recall where.

I really appreciate everyone's insights on this piece.

[This message has been edited by akgdc (edited 01-15-2004).]

IP: Logged

swarter
Moderator

Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 01-16-2004 11:40 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Unfortunately most photos don't show enlarged details such as this. Apparently both the animal head styles and the milled bands were quite localized, being characteristic of specific regions. Die rolled bands were available either from local suppliers, or if a smith owned his own rolling mill, to a specific shop, so this band would be expected only on Philadelphia silver or only on objects from the Lownes shop. Similarly other cast components (spouts, fininals, etc.) seem to have been available to multiple silversmiths. These features have enabled scholars to trace the output of shops that supplied the trade; for example, silver sharing certain unique characteristics sold by several Baltimore silversmiths has been traced back to the Philadelphia shop of Samuel Williamson.

So many times a disproportionate or oddly shaped handle is suspected of being a replacement for a broken handle, and one can never be sure what the original was like. Even the method of repair carries with it information that would be lost with removal. To my way of thinking, a repaired original handle is part of the history of the object and should decrease the importance of a piece less than would a replacement; I would be inclined to leave it, as a prior owner had wisely done. Often such a piece comes directly from an estate, as some (but not all) dealers would have replaced the handle, anticipating a higher price for an undamaged piece.

IP: Logged

akgdc

Posts: 289
Registered: Sep 2001

iconnumber posted 01-16-2004 02:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for akgdc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Lowneses seem to have been such prolific silversmiths - there's a lot of their work around - that they must have "outsourced" a good deal, I suppose. In fact, maybe the star-shaped mark on the bottom of my pot is the signature of the anonymous journeyman who actually made it.

I don't plan to repair the handle. I agree with you; things like that are charming and part of a piece's history. I'll just have to be *very* careful when I use this to pour coffee (as I certainly plan to).

Adam

IP: Logged

FredZ

Posts: 1069
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 01-16-2004 04:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for FredZ     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is possible that the main body of the spout may have been formed from sheet silver and then the cast tip could have been soldered to the end. It would take a closer look to ascertain the method of construction. If the seam on the tip continues down the full length of the spout it was probably cast in halves. Does the acanthus chasing have the same texture (pitting) that the end of the spout has?

I am also curious if this teapot body is perferated with strainer holes where it is attached to the spout or has or is it open the full size of the spout base?

Fred

[This message has been edited by FredZ (edited 01-16-2004).]

IP: Logged

akgdc

Posts: 289
Registered: Sep 2001

iconnumber posted 01-16-2004 08:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for akgdc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes, Fred, the acanthus has the same casting dimples, and although the seam has been well disguised, I'm pretty sure it runs all the way down the spout.

And the body of the pot is indeed pierced with strainer holes. By the way, you call it a teapot; I had been thinking of it as a coffeepot because it's so large and because it's raised on a rather high foot. Is there a surefire method to tell which kind of pot it is? Or is the distinction between teapots and coffeepots a somewhat artificial one that we've imposed on vessels that could have been used interchangeably?

(A somewhat more whimsical reason for thinking this a coffeepot is that with all the grapes and Bacchus heads on it, I was sure it must have been designed to hold someone's hangover remedy.)

IP: Logged

swarter
Moderator

Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 01-17-2004 12:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Teapots grew larger over time as supplies increased and prices dropped. Teapots and coffee pots in matching sets look alike except for size. I could have sworn a large heavy pot by Lewis and Smith was a coffee pot until I saw a picture and description (with weights and measurements) of (an identical piece in) a set with both, and the otherwise externally identical coffee pot was significantly larger. I should think the strainer holes should be a good indication that tea leaves were expected to be in it.

IP: Logged

akgdc

Posts: 289
Registered: Sep 2001

iconnumber posted 01-17-2004 09:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for akgdc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting ... that seems to make sense. On the other hand, an Old Sheffield Plate pot I own, c. 1795, has a strainer opening and is *definitely* a coffeepot, of the characteristic tall urn form that the English used. And coffee, after all, would also have dregs in it that the strainer would help to catch (though perhaps not as effectively as tea leaves).

IP: Logged

swarter
Moderator

Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 01-17-2004 12:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I probably should have qualified my comment about similarity of coffee and teapots in sets to limit it to the period in which this one was made. Earlier coffee pots were more vertical in shape, and had a higher spout placement. In this country matching sets were not really made until late in the 18th Century, and in the Neoclassical style coffee pots were more vertical, and pedestal mounted, as you expected. In the Empire style they came more frequently to resemble the teapots, particularly in the mid-Atlantic region (Philadelphia and Baltimore) where yours was made. In addition, sets sometimes also contained hot water pots (used to add water to the teapots), so there could have been three similar pots, with the coffee pot being the largest, making it even more difficult to determine the function of a single pot. Coffee pots often tend to have somewhat larger bellies to increase their capacity - yours looks to have what I would expect to be more the proportion of a teapot, but you gave no size measurements, other than to say it was "large".

The matter of holes at the base of the spout may be of a different matter - it may be related more to the strength of the mounting in maintaining the integrity of the body than to filtration in pots other than teapots. One tends to look more at these pots than in them, and published descriptions rarely - if ever - mention the interior. I looked in a large Sheffield coffee pot that has five larger holes rather than the more numerous smaller holes common to teapots. Remember also that coffee and tea were brewed differently. Except in the case of biggens and combination pots, coffee may not have been brewed in the pot, which might have been only used for serving (see the thread in which these pots ( Rare form?) are discussed, so there would be less of a need for filtration.

In earlier English pots, it was not difficult to tell coffee pots from teapots by size and shape, but distinguishing coffee pots from chocolate pots was another matter - handle/spout placement and stirring rods were relied upon, but no mention have I ever seen about filtration holes, which one would not expect in chocolate pots, so either they both had them, or neither. One needs to visit a large collection and look inside some. Perhaps someone knowledgeable on this matter can contribute.

IP: Logged

akgdc

Posts: 289
Registered: Sep 2001

iconnumber posted 01-17-2004 05:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for akgdc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The pot is 10 1/2 inches high and weighs 41 ounces. So yes, I guess it could be a large teapot.

"Filtration hole placement in early Anglo-American tea and coffee wares" -- I smell a dissertation topic on the wind.

Seriously ... I'm delighted to be learning so much from this purchase, and from the people in these forums.

IP: Logged

swarter
Moderator

Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 01-17-2004 06:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well, that is large. I reviewed a number of sets of this style in Silver in Maryland, and it is large for a teapot. And very heavy. Only one coffee pot exceeded it in weight, but was larger still. Most teapots were smaller and considerably lighter. The small number of hot water pots were in between in size, about where yours is, so . . . .

We really need to locate other examples like yours for comparison.

IP: Logged

vathek

Posts: 962
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 01-18-2004 08:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The 1760's sheffield plate coffee pot that I have has holes, but they are too large to filter out coffee grounds. I believe coffee would have been made by putting loose grounds in a container and just pouring hot water over them. Adding a raw egg would encapsulate the grounds when pouring, but I also seem to remember reading somewhere that both coffee and tea were made in a separate vessel then decanted into the appropriate pot.

IP: Logged

swarter
Moderator

Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 10-14-2006 11:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
"Filtration hole placement in early Anglo-American tea and coffee wares" -- I smell a dissertation topic on the wind

The Clark Institute's catalog makes a point of mentioning this feature in their thorough descriptions - their British coffee and chocolate pots have large single holes behind the spout, while tea pots all have multiple small strainer holes. If any American coffee pots have multiple holes, they may have been customarily provided by at least some makers in all pots, perhaps because American families were less likely to own complete sets, so one pot would have to serve either coffee or tea (which was the case before sets became popular).

IP: Logged

Ulysses Dietz
Moderator

Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 10-17-2006 02:18 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In this Sim[e]on Chaudron coffee and tea set, the coffee pot is 10.5"H and the teapot is 8.5"H. The teapot has a strainer over the spout entrance from the body, while the larger coffeepot does not. A hot water pot (which we don't have on either of these sets) wouldn't have the strainer either, presumably, so might be confused with a small coffeepot. This is also true on a Fletcher & Gardiner tea and coffee set we have.

IP: Logged

swarter
Moderator

Posts: 2920
Registered: May 2003

iconnumber posted 10-17-2006 02:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for posting that confirmation - the set conforms to the expected pattern. One wonders why the Sheffield coffee pots mentioned above each have multiple holes.

The Chaudron set is spectacular. Would you be able to provide a close-up or enlargement of one of the dragon-head (?) spouts for the Witches brew thread? The required 640 dpi posted pictures have too low a resolution to allow enlargement of so small a portion.

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