Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Book Review St. Louis Silversmiths


St. Louis Silversmiths is a book I had been looking forward to examining for a few weeks now. Ever since I purchased a Mermond-Jaccard silverplate tea service that I gave as a Christmas present, but for some reason failed to get a picture of. At any rate, Mermond-Jaccard was a major maker and jewelry store in St. Louis. In doing research on them I found this book and ordered it through my ILL account. I did this right before the holiday and have been waiting for it to arrive. Over the holiday I also had the chance to view a few books recently purchased by a friend and fellow collector. One I enjoyed was entitled Silversmiths of Kentucky. I looked forward to a complete and well researched book like this on St. Louis silversmiths. 

I was disappointed. 

While there is nothing particulary wrong with this volume its content and piece list were not the complete  
record of St. Louis Silversmiths I had hoped it would be. While this volume is not as good as other more specialized catalogs I had thought it to be, it is still an interesting if short read.

Made for an exhibit at the St. Louis Art Museum in 1980, the first six pages give a broad overview of silversmithing in St. Louis. The remainder of the books 39 pages is an alphabetical list of silversmiths that worked in the St. Louis area. The listings are simple giving a name approximate dates and a verbal description of their marks if they were available. There are also several pictures of silver made in St. Louis from its founding to the modern period.

This book does a good job of listing what it lists but I fear I have been spoiled by online databases of silver information. At a going rate of about $20.00 used I fear there are other books that will be in line before it for the library. However, I am grateful that even in its incomplete form that it is available for consultation.  

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