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Author Topic:   Salt and Pepper - Dutch?
mountain8

Posts: 13
Registered: Jul 99

iconnumber posted 07-29-1999 08:49 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mountain8     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Good Morning.

I bought a S & P set that has a mark I haven't been able to find. The set is about 4" tall, looks to be silver plate but I'm not sure what the base metal is.

It is 4 sided, square, with heavily embossed figures of 18th Century man (three corner hat) and woman on alternate sides. the cap is inserted, not screwed on, and acts as the fill hole.

The cap looks somewhat like the top of a chess bishop in the classic chess design and the holes are in a pattern that makes me think it is older than what I am used to.

The mark is what looks like a Dutch windmill with a smoking pipe on each side. Beneath it is the # 3550.

I will try to send scans through an e-mail. The green isn't there. It's only on the scan.

Is any one familiar with the mark or the age of these. Or where could I go to research other marks?

Thank you

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wev
Moderator

Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 07-29-1999 10:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The mark is for the Barbour Silver Company of Hartford CT. They were founded in 1892 by Samuel Barbour, Isaac Steane, and J. L. Daigleish. They later became one of the original partners in the formation of International Silver, moving to Meriden CT and taking over the factories of the old Meriden Silver Plate Co there. They produced silverplate of all kinds, generally of moderate price and uninspired design. The windmill mark dates from the 1920s.

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mountain8

Posts: 13
Registered: Jul 99

iconnumber posted 08-02-1999 01:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mountain8     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks WEV. I am still trying to get the pics posted, I regret I have little experience in this. But the design seems to be anything but Uninspired.

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Ulysses Dietz
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Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 08-02-1999 07:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Dutch designs were probably inspired by one of two things. The colonial revival, commencing with the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876, sparked a huge interest in all things colonial--which meant much 18th-century design from Europe. New Yorkers in particular focused on Dutch design, and Dutch silver novelties flooded into upper-class American homes from 1880 on. The Newark Museum owns many such things, including silver miniature windmills of great craftsmanship, owned by a Newark brother and sister who were great collectors. But Dutch motifs, on all sorts of decorative arts, and the blue and white color scheme of Delft ceramics, became a leitmotif of the New York Colonial revival. My guess is that this Barbour set was aimed at that "Knickerbocker Revival" market.

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Scott Martin
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Posts: 11377
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 08-02-1999 09:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

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mountain8

Posts: 13
Registered: Jul 99

iconnumber posted 08-06-1999 11:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mountain8     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Mr Dietz, and WEV

This information is wonderful. I hope I am not abusing the system but my research tools are limited. So I really value the information I gain here. As you might guess I am just beginning to collect silver and silver plate. These shakers cost me $8 and I thought that was a deal but they were not bought from knowledge, mearly appeal.

About the shakers,I seem to have a conflict with dates. If these were for the "Knickerbocker revival" inspired by the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, does that conflict with the 1920s date for the mark that WEV points out? Or is a date between 1892 - 1920s acceptible? Did the revival last that long?

------------------

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wev
Moderator

Posts: 4095
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 08-06-1999 02:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You are welcome.

As to the dating, I don't think there is necessarily a conflict. While the first great colonial revival was started by the 1876 Centennial, re-revivals have been coming around roughly every other decade.
There was a strong one during the early 20's. There were several factors driving it -- the influx of new money from the stock market, the building of colonial style estate homes with the concurrent need for appropriate furnishings, and the beginnings of serious research on, and collecting of, original 18th century works. In addition, advances in color printing allowed magazines like Town and Country to disseminate the fashionable trends to a much wider audience. Companies like Barbour were very quick to pick up on these trends and supply designs to suit. In all fairness, I must add that I have only a cursory knowledge of silverplate wares and their makers. It is entirely possible that the windmill mark was introduced somewhat earlier; I was only quoting what I understood to be the generally accepted dating.

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Ulysses Dietz
Moderator

Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 08-16-1999 10:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hey, you guys hardly need me. However, I thought I'd clarify the Colonial Revival a bit. It started at the centennial (although there were elements of it that predate 1876) but it has never ended. It began life as one of many victorian style possibilities, and then, ironically, became the exemplary "anti victorian" style. Your shakers look very 1890s. I find it hard to believe they were made in the 1920s, but I don't know Barbour's mark history.

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Ptate
unregistered
iconnumber posted 08-17-1999 11:22 AM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
8/17/99

Dear Mountain8:

I have a silver plate covered condiment tray with a glass insert made by the Balbour Silver company. It is covered with Dutch interiors and vistas with windmills. In fact, the scene featured on the cover is a tavern scene with people drinking and playing cards which is 17thc. iconographic code for "The Prodigal Son." The Counter-Reformation hit hard in Holland and those who could afford art, enjoyed the subtleties
of relegious expressions in what appeared to be secular art.

By the last 19thc., most of that original meaning was lost, but you still see episodes that could be related the the biblical story of the prodigal son in table ornaments and dinnerware. The moral of the Prodigal son story is the quintessential "Let's have a party and kill the fatted calf." idea. So even if a decorator didn't know the biblical origin of these scenes, they were put on the silver decorative items, because they seem ed appropriate.

It will take me a week, but I will post a picture of the scenes on the centerpiece to this website.

Sincerely,

Priscilla
212-787-1122

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mountain8

Posts: 13
Registered: Jul 99

iconnumber posted 08-24-1999 11:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for mountain8     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Prisilla, et. al.

Facinating information. I had wanted to place a late 1800s date on the shakers. From the hole pattern if nothing else. When I think of the 20s, all I see is flapper girls.
Though I know I can't say 1890 for a fact, it eases my mind when I can say a curator agrees with "around that date." My wife will love it.

The symbolism, Prisilla, do you know any more? It facinates me to see how little has been lost in religious symbols no matter the persecution. From the fish to Dutch beer halls. Amazing.

I've tried guessing about my two images but the closest I get is the parable about the seeds that fell in good ground, for the girl. I can't think of anything for the man. Any ideas?

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Priscilla Tate Antiques
unregistered
iconnumber posted 08-24-1999 03:46 PM           Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interpreting symbolism in art is like interpreting dreams. There may be more than one interpretation that makes sense. I don't know if there is an overall iconographic scheme for these Dutch Revival Table ornaments, we would need more information about the other pieces. But one of your shakers shows a woman pouring water, I believe, not sowing seeds. A woman pouring water is frequently associated with the virtue of Temperance, another one of those moral lessons the prodigal son should have learned. A good example of the "Dutchiness" of that kind of symbolism is the painting by Vermeer of the woman with the Water Pitcher in the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

The man appears to be sniffing a bouquet of flowers and the prodigal son is frequently viewed as an allegory of the seven senses. perhaps this is the sense of Smell? But that is another digression: Prodigal Son and allegories of the seven senses. I will go down that path another time.

Let's stick with one possible level of meaning --the woman watering plants and the virtue of Temperance.

So how does a 19thc. decorative scheme go to back in time for inspiration? The Germans have a word for it, naturally, Nachleben, or afterlife. It means the survival of symbolism long after the source for the symbol has been lost.

The Renaissance itself is about integrating pagen and christian symbolism. Renaissance humanists(who were friends with all the artists) rediscovered the art and literature of antiquity and created little artistic conceits around pagan references that were cloaked with biblical symbolism. One of the most popular source books for artistic and literary ideas were Emblem Books and one of the first and most widely used book was Cesare Ripa's Iconologia published in the 16thc. It was a kind of artist's idea book for portraying vices and virtues and you will find that one of the ways it describes portraying Temperance is to show a woman watering plants.

Now Vermeer is at least 100 years later, but his use of emblem books for ideas is well documented. Frequently Vemeer's paintings allude to counter-reformation themes and you can be sure that Vermeer added his own time's political references to the pagan and biblical symbolism. In the portrait of the Woman with the Pitcher, there is a map of South Flanders on the wall, certainly no accident in such a well constructed painting.

So Vemeer's meaning for his contemporaries is far different from the meaning of the painting to us today. But the association of the woman watering with the virtue of temperance was part of the culture, even if art patrons didn't read about it in some Italian emblem book. Statues of women watering plants are in use today as garden ornaments.

So we have the beginnings of a good case for basic prodigal son imagery inspiring the table ornaments. Because the set is a Dutch revival, they are looking to Dutch history and art for inspiration. The prodigal son story can and was applied throughout history to the Holland and Flanders and the split along religious lines into Catholicism and protestantism.

So we are getting somewhere, I think.

Sincerely,

Priscilla

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