I’m pleased to announce the opening of Silver in Kentucky, 1800-1860, a new installation at Louisville’s Speed Art Museum. The exhibition features over twenty-five outstanding examples of silver hollowware, including pitchers, tea sets, and other forms. All come from the state’s finest private collection of Kentucky silver.
Along with the work of well-known Kentucky silversmiths like Asa Blanchard (about 1770-1838), the exhibition also includes pieces by less familiar makers like Charles Plimpton (working from at least 1814). Judging by period advertisements, Plimpton was more active in Lexington as a “silver plater” than as a silversmith, perhaps explaining the relative scarcity of silver pieces with his mark.
Other highlights include: an extremely rare coffee or hot water urn bearing the mark of Lexington’s George Stewart (active in Kentucky from about 1857 until about 1864), a Stewart horse racing trophy for the 1846 Chiles Stake, and an Asa Blanchard teapot that retains an old, and perhaps original, cloth strainer bag mounted on a silver collar.
Photos of pieces in the exhibition, including images of their marks, will appear on the Kentucky Online Arts Resource in early 2011. (As you can see from the image below, photographing the pieces wasn’t a point-and-shoot operation!)