Five-Piece Coin Silver Tea Service
Comprising: 2 Tea Pots h: 9.75″, Lidded Sugar Bowl h: 8.25″, Cream Pitcher h: 7″ & Waste Bowl h: 5.5″
Thomas Fletcher (1787-1866) & Sidney Gardiner (1787-1827)
Each with Circular Impressed Mark: Fletcher & Gardiner/ Philadelphia (in Phila. 1811-1827)
Philadelphia, c. 1817
170 oz. Troy
Each piece with repoussé, chased, die-rolled and cast decoration, the tea pots with original carved wood handles.
Condition: Excellent: leaf tip on one pot finial missing, cream pitcher with later engraved inscription: Alice F. Aertsen 1902
A seemingly identical tea service is pictured in Donald L. Fennimore’s article “Thomas Fletcher and Sidney Gardiner: The stylistic development of their domestic silver” (The Magazine ANTIQUES, October 1972), 642-649. This service is inscribed on the bottom: From the family of George Gibbs to Walter Channing 1817. Fennimore sights the influence of English silversmiths Rundell, Bridge and Rundell, to whom Fletcher had been exposed on a trip to England in 1815, on the design of these sets.
The firm of Fletcher and Gardiner was among the finest silversmiths in the United States in the Classical period. They were commissioned to create a pair of monumental, highly decorated presentation urns to celebrate Governor De Witt Clinton’s important role in the creation and completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 (collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art). They also created the monumental presentation urn from the citizens of Philadelphia to Captain Isaac Hull (c. 1813), for his heroic naval victory commanding the USS Constitution in its battle with British frigate HMS Guerriere in the War of 1812 (collection Naval Historical Foundation), among many other important presentation pieces. The firm created no fewer than thirty major public commissions for commemorative plate and swords according to Fennimore.
The tea service descended in the family of Alice F. Aertsen (1842-1916), as the inscription on the cream jug attests. The Aertsen’s were a prominent Philadelphia family. Alice’s father, James M. Aertsen, living in fashionable Germantown, at 131 West Coulter, was, from its founding in 1854, the Vice President of The Saving Fund Society of Germantown and the President of the Episcopal Tract Society.
Fletcher and Gardiner were the subject of a major exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2007 and its catalog, Silversmiths to The Nation: Thomas Fletcher & Sidney Gardiner, 1808-1842.