INSCRIPTION: Engraved on side of body “B.B.P.” in elobarate script featuring acanthus leaves, diagonal fill lines, and graduated pellets.
MARK: Struck on underside of base with incuse “G.SHARP JR / DANVILLE. KY” mark.
MAKER: George Sharp Jr., a native of Virginia, trained in Baltimore under silversmith Robert Brown. In 1857 purchased the Danville, Kentucky business of T. R. J. Ayres, who had moved west. Sharp’s advertisements thereafter claimed he was “successor to T. R. J. Ayres.” The 1860 United States Federal Census for Danville, Boyle Co., listed George Sharp as a jeweler and watchmaker, age 25, $12,000 personal assets, native of Virginia.” At that time he boarded with S. P. Barbee (a saddler) and his family. His shop was on Main Street. When T. R. J. Ayres returned to Danville in 1860 or 1861 he was upset at Sharp posing as his successor. In the “Kentucky Tribune” of 1 March 1861, the two men published “an exchange of business cards” thus publicly airing their business disagreements. Ayres left town soon thereafter and relocated in Keokuk, Iowa. Sharp remained in Danville until 1864 when he moved his business to Atlanta, Georgia.
In Georgia, Sharp worked on his own as a watchmaker and jeweller at 33 Whitehall Street until 1871 when he took on a partner, Eugene B. Floyd, and worked under the name Sharp & Floyd until 1872. Sharp seems to have left Atlanta in 1877 and nothing further is known of his career.
See Marquis Boultinghouse, “Silversmiths, Jewelers, Clock and Watch Makers of Kentucky, 1785-1900” (Lexington, KY: Boultinghouse, 1980); Ashley Callahan and Dale L. Couch, “From Sideboard to Pulpit: Silver in Georgia,” exhibition catalog, November 2005–March 2006, Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, GA; and George Cutten, “The Silversmiths of Georgia” (Savannah, GA: Pigeonhole Press, 1958).
FORM: Small drinking cups were popular throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Earlier examples usually have handles while nineteenth-century examples often did not. Like most silver hollowware created after the late eighteenth century, beakers were most often made from a rolled sheet of silver and seamed vertically up the side, in contrast to earlier examples that were raised (hammered up) from a disc.