Lustrous, malleable, and durable, silver has been worked since antiquity into objects of beauty and utility. Of benefit to both the arts and the sciences, it is most familiar as a precious metal used for creating hollowware, flatware, jewelry, medals, and coins. Early American Silver vividly conjures the lives of America’s earliest colonists, many of whom transported precious family possessions across the Atlantic to the New World. As comforting reminders of their former lives and emblems of status and wealth, objects of silver graced dining rooms, tea tables, and houses of worship. Pride of ownership was expressed not only in the display of silver but also in the coats of arms, monograms, and inscriptions with which it was engraved. The stories behind these objects and the craftsmen who made them offer engaging social and historical narratives.
Nearly a century after the publication of C. Louise Avery’s classic American Silver of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, this catalogue presents the finest colonial and federal-period silver in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The authors have studied and catalogued these objects anew, using advanced scientific analysis as well as traditional connoisseurship to explore the distinctive contributions of silversmiths, patrons, and engravers. Early American Silver also addresses patterns of ownership; retailers and specialized craftsmen; and issues of condition, dating, attribution,and provenance.
Whether one is a specialist, a student, or a generalist, the reader will find a wealth of information and compelling new insights in this beautifully illustrated volume.