London 1726 Sterling Silver Crested Covered Bowl
The size of a sugar bowl, this piece may once have been part of a tea set, although it certainly stands on its own. The lowest portion measures 3 7/8" across at the widest, has a footed base that is 2 1/4" in diameter, rises 2 1/2" to the rim, and weighs 4.8 T. oz. It has a fitted, 4" diameter lid, is 2 3/8" high to the top of the finial, and weighs 3.3 T. oz. The total height of the piece with the cover in place is 4 1/2". It is clearly and fully marked on the underside for sterling, London, and a date of 1726. The maker's stamp is "W [pellet] F" in an oval. This exact image is identified in Grimwade's benchmark reference on London silversmiths for William Fordham, with a 1728 citation. It has a round body and lid, with the two units together forming a nearly perfect orb. Both parts are chased in a hand raised leaf, floral, and scroll pattern. The finial is solid and cast with a pointed tip, and leafy, bulbous base. There are two armorial details that probably tell something of the history of this (to someone with knowledge of such things). One inscription is a crest of a probably wolf's head with a crown encircling its neck. The other is two crosses that appear to be parts of two shields set alongside each other. Perhaps they represent a union of two parties such as a marriage. There is also an inscription on the underside that is relatively recent. It reads in block lettering, "E.T.B to E.W.A, 1955." The conditional is exceptional. There are no dents, tears, or bends. The rimmed base sits evenly and is free of crimps. The finish shows slight traces of fire scale but is overall quite lustrous. There is a rounded cut in the rim of the bottom half, apparently made to accommodate a ladle or spoon. This may not be original, but has clearly been present for a long time, as the margins have a smooth surface that would only come from years of use and polishing.