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Superb Pair of Decorated Philadelphia Silver Sugar Tongs, Harvey Lewis

Superb Pair of Decorated Philadelphia Silver Sugar Tongs, Harvey Lewis
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$135.00

Offered is a gorgeous pair of American coin silver sugar tongs by noted silversmith Harvey Lewis (1783-1835), working in Philadelphia circa 1805-11 in partnership as Lewis & Smith, and working alone in Philadelphia circa 1812-25, before his health declined and he gave up silversmithing. Despite a shorter working career, Harvey Lewis established himself as one of the leading silversmiths of his day in Philadelphia, and his work is nearly always superb. His pieces are represented in every major American decorative arts collection, and are typically tasteful and restrained, either Neoclassical or Empire in inspiration.

This pair of sugar tongs is the first decorated pair I've come across for Lewis, with nicely engraved and chased decoration, and a well-done period script monogram. The maker's mark of "HL" without periods or pellets is previously undocumented (the only other HL mark without such periods or pellets is quite different), and appears to be quite rare, as I've had many pieces by Lewis and have handled many others - none with this exact mark. Given that these decorated tongs were most popular in the mid-1820s, this may have been a new maker's mark that was just being introduced when Lewis had to leave the business due to health. If there is ever an update to Hollan's "Philadelphia Silversmiths", the mark from this piece will likely be included. These tongs measure about 6 5/8 inches in length and weigh a heavy 47 grams. Condition is excellent, with little or no wear and no dings, dents, splits or repairs. All in all a superb example of Harvey Lewis' work, and Philadelphia high style in the 1820s!

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