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AN AMERICAN SILVER TANKARD
AN AMERICAN SILVER TANKARD
AN AMERICAN SILVER TANKARD
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PROPERTY FROM AN EAST COAST FAMILY
AN AMERICAN SILVER TANKARD

MARK OF JOHN BAYLY SR., PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, CIRCA 1770

Details
AN AMERICAN SILVER TANKARD
MARK OF JOHN BAYLY SR., PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, CIRCA 1770
Baluster form on a stepped circular foot, the front engraved with a rococo cartouche enclosing a lion rampant, with a crest above and motto Clario Hinc Honos, the stepped domed cover with openwork scrolled thumbpiece, the double scroll handle with oval terminal, marked on underside I pellett Bayly incuse, and engraved with weight 37 oz, further marked IB in an oval left of upper handle terminal
8 1⁄4 in. (21 cm.) high
36 oz. 8 dwt. (1,132 gr.)
Provenance
Possibly William Buchanan (1748 - 1824),
Thence by decent to the present owner.
Sale room notice
Please note this tankard has additional provenance. It is being offered by a decendant of the original owner.

Brought to you by

Sallie Glover
Sallie Glover Associate Specialist, Americana

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Lot Essay

This tankard demonstrates the classic form of tankard found in Philadelphia during the third quarter of the 18th century. Characterized by the "bellied" shape seen here, as well as openwork thumbpiece and large foliate engraving to the front, this form can be seen in tankards created by John David Sr. and Richard Humphreys, as well as others by Bayly, including a nearly identically formed tankard in the collection of The Philadelphia Museum of Art (Acc. No. 2016-66-1). This tankard is also discussed and illustrated in D. L. Barquist and B. B. Garvan, American Silver in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, vol. 1, New Haven, 2018, pp. 138-139, cat. 65. Another similarly formed tankard by Bayly, circa 1775, was sold in The Collection of Roy and Ruth Nutt: Highly Important American Silver, Sotheby's, New York, 24 January 2015, lot 563.
It is possible that the engraving found on this tankard was done by James Smither Sr (d. 1797). Born in England, Smither moved to Philadelphia, where from 1768 he worked as an engraver, as well as creating cuts for printers and ornamental tools for bookbinders. Described as a master of all forms of engraving, particularly in the popular Rococo style, Smither was known to have worked on engravings for silversmith Richard Humphreys, known to have operated a relatively small workshop focused on bespoke commissions, hence the employment of a highly skilled engraver. An example of Smither's work with Humphreys can be seen on a hot-water urn in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Acc. No. 1977-88-1) and illustrated in H. R. Dietrich III and D. M. Rebuck, In Pursuit of History: A Lifetime Collecting Colonial American Art and Artifacts, New Haven, 2019, p. 192, fig. 4.3. The skill seen in the execution of both this engraving and that found on the present lot, and especially the similar Rococo style and Smither's position as a highly regarded engraver in this period, could suggest that either he, or an engraver he trained, executed the coat-of-arms found here. Though little work can be firmly attributed to Smither, he is known to have assisted with the creation of the plates used to print Pennsylvania bank notes, knowledge he would later use to assist the British in creating counterfeit notes. Charged with high treason in June of 1778, Smither fled with British military escort to New York City, then under British occupation, where he continued to work as an engraver before moving with his family to Nova Scotia, and eventually returning to Philadelphia in 1786 when it because clear he would not be further persecuted for treason.
The crest, motto, and coat-of-arms found on this tankard are those of Buchanan, possibly for William Buchanan (1748 - 1824) of Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, Maryland, the grandson of the founder of Druid Hill Park. Buchanan married Margaret Hill Dorsey in 1772, potentially the impetus for the commission of this tankard. A bookplate for William Buchanan matching the arms found here is described in C. K. Bolton, Bolton's American Armory, Baltimore, 1927, p. 25.

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