Vessels for dispensing beverages such as water, beer, cider, and wine became increasingly popular during the first half of the nineteenth century. This handsome ewer, replete with cast, chased, and die-stamped ornament, is marked by Fletcher, who had founded, together with his partner Sidney Gardiner (1787–1827), the preeminent American silversmithing firm of the era. A preparatory drawing for the ewer survives in the Metropolitan Museum’s collection.
Inscription: Engraved on body below spout: [crest of a hand holding keys] Engraved on back edge of plinth in script: Lee Wood Gorham March 29– 1910
Marking: Marked on underside in oval banner: T[pellet] Fletcher[pellet] [pellet] PHILAD.
Probably Governor Isaac Shelby (1750–1826) of Kentucky; Lee Wood Gorham (1864–1918), Lexington, Kentucky, from 1910; her husband, John Breckenridge Gorham, until 1943; private collection, until 2001; [Hirschl and Adler Galleries, Inc., New York].