The straight sides of the seamed pitcher rise to a slight lip and rest on a large stepped, molded base. The domed cover is stepped and has a cast lotus finial. The cover features a five-part hinge and is shaped to overlap the spout. The cast applied handles on the pitcher and the cups are...
The straight sides of the seamed pitcher rise to a slight lip and rest on a large stepped, molded base. The domed cover is stepped and has a cast lotus finial. The cover features a five-part hinge and is shaped to overlap the spout. The cast applied handles on the pitcher and the cups are composed of sections of banded stalks of lotus blossoms. A cast seated Greek sphinx serves as the thumbpiece above the pitcher’s handle, and the V-shaped spout is applied opposite the handle, over large strainer holes. The interior and exterior of the entire service were given a matte acid-etched surface before it was engraved; only the central dedicatory inscription appears on a polished ground. Engraved decoration consists of an Egyptian-style entranceway with cavetto molding, at the center of which is the inscription. At the base of the doorway are two floriform capitals and flanking it are a stringed instrument, two fans, and a vessel. Below is a sun disk flanked by uraei, with a lotus below and two lotus flowers (one in bud form) outstretched on long stalks. Engraved bands of stylized papyrus leaves, lotus flowers, and geometrical ornament encircle the domed cover, the upper and lower edges of the body, and the spout.
"To John Gilbert / on his birthday / from his old friend and companion in Art / Lester Wallack / Feb. 27th 1876" on the front of the pitcher opposite the handle. Engraved in a circle around the lid "Be So Good As To Pledge Me / She Stoops To Conquer "
Incuse marks of a lion holding an elliptical cartouche emblazoned with “W / STERLING / 406 / A” struck on pitcher; “x334” lightly scratched on bottom.
Given in 1876 to John Gilbert (1810-1889) by Lester Wallack (1819-1888); later history unknown until purchased in 1975 from Richard B. Pierce of Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts.
Marion Davis Fund