Benjamin Halsted (American, 1743–1817)
Silver, copper, glass; 21 1/8 x 17 1/4 in. (53.5 x 43.3 cm)
Marked on underside of each foot in script: Halsted (in shaped surround)
Partial and Promised Gift of The Estate of Esther and Samuel Schwartz, Paterson, N.J., 2007 (2007.471.1)
Table centerpieces constructed of silver and mirrored glass were rarely made in America; only three are known today. This octagonal example marked by the New York silversmith Benjamin Halsted displays the clean, spare lines of Neoclassical design. Its eight cast feet are soldered to a sheet copper base, onto which are pinned engraved silver borders and a simple inner molding that secures the mirrored expanse. The twisted wire handles were added later to facilitate lifting and carrying.
Benjamin Halsted is best known for his short-lived partnership with New York silversmith Myer Myers. Halsted's mark, which appears primarily on flatware, is seldom encountered on objects of this scale and sophistication. According to family tradition, the plateau was made for Daniel Crommelin Verplanck, eldest son of Judith Crommelin and Samuel Verplanck, whose household furnishings are exhibited in the Museum's Verplanck Room.