Silversmiths to the Nation
Thomas Fletcher and Sidney Gardiner, 1808–1842
November 20, 2007–May 4, 2008
The silversmithing firm established in Boston in 1808 by Thomas Fletcher and Sidney Gardiner, and relocated to Philadelphia three years later, produced silver of unprecedented quality and grandeur. This exhibition is the first devoted entirely to their work and its role in commemorating America's pride as a nation. It features monumental vessels that celebrate naval and civic heroes as well as domestic and personal items, all of which display sophisticated design and skilled manufacture. The grand scale and patriotic imagery that characterize much of their work reflects the country's coming of age as a commercial, industrial, political, and artistic center. English and Continental models provide background and context for the American achievements. In addition, an extremely rare group of surviving drawings belonging to the Metropolitan Museum illuminates the creative process.