Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dragon Pitcher, Simpson Hall and Miller, Pride of the Collection

This silverplate pitcher is part of the pride of the collection. It has an inside spout shield, incised decorations and the figure of a dragon on top. The dragon is not quite the Welsh dragon but is close enough as far as Victorian silverplate goes for my taste. If it is not a dragon it might be described as a sphinx though it is defiantly not an Egyptian sphinx.  Its tail is a swirly scaled affair almost like a sea monster but there is no other sign of sea life on the pitcher so I think this can be dismissed. The scroll work on the side and the shape of the handle add a Persian influence, perhaps Assyrian. Look at the handle, the scroll work, shape and proportion recall the ancient world.  I have not yet found this piece in a catalogue but I hope to soon.  

It is from Simpson, Hall and Miller, also known as Simpson, Hall, Miller & Co.  from Wallingford Connecticut. They were founded in 1866.  By 1895 they were manufacturing sterling. They also had the contract to manufacture the Eagle Wm rogers Star Brand flatware. In 1898 they were a founding member of the International Silver Company. When they joined international, they focused mainly on sterling becoming the center of the International Silver Companies sterling production. This means their mark was used well beyond 1898 for sterling ware. Silver plate was left to to other companies, Derby, Wilcox, Meriden Britannia Company.

Above we see some of the marks used by Simpson, Hall, Miller and Co. This is not exhaustive of the marks that they used. The pitcher uses a mark of the name Simpson, Hall, Miller and Co. above a rectangle that reads quadruple plate with Wallingford Connecticut below. Another common mark are the initials seen above S H M &Co. and for sterling the S in a shield with a helmet.

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