MARK: Struck on underside of bottom with an intaglio “A.E. WARNER” mark in a serrated rectangular reserve and “10/15” in rectangular reserves. The purity mark “10/15” translates to 10 ounces 15 pennyweight silver to 1 ounce and 5 pennyweight of alloy metal, or 89.6% silver. Baltimore was the only American city to establish an assayer’s office to ensure the purity of silver sold by local smiths. Established in 1814 under the Silver Purity Act, the Baltimore assay office is the nearest any early American community came to creating a guild system similar to those found in Britain and Europe. The assay office marks from 1814 to 1830 follow provisions set forward by the act and include the state of Maryland’s shield of arms, a date letter, and a mark for the city’s assayer. There were three men whom served as official assayers: Thomas Warner, from 1814 to 1823; LeRoy Atkinson from 1824-1829; and Samuel Steele from 1830 to 1843. The Silver Purity Act of 1814 was amended in 1830, removing the compulsory assaying of silver produced by Baltimore’s silversmiths but required silver not assayed by the office to bear a numerical quality mark that indicated the amount of silver contained per troy pound of twelve ounces (i.e., “11/12” or “11OZ” for 11 ounces of pure silver to 1 ounce alloy metal, or 91.66% silver). See Jennifer Faulds Goldsborough, “Silver in Maryland” (Baltimore, MD: Maryland Historical Society, 1983), 26-37.
MAKER: Andrew Ellicott Warner Sr. (1786-1870) was one of Maryland’s most celebrated silversmiths and part of the prolific Warner family of silversmiths that worked in Baltimore for the entire span of the nineteenth century. The family’s patriarch, Cuthbert Warner (1753-1822) moved from Pennsylvania to Baltimore and was listed in city directories as a watch- and clockmaker from 1799 until 1812. In addition to clockmaking, he provided the traditional services of a silversmith. Following in Cuthbert’s footsteps as a silversmith were his sons, Thomas Warner (1780-1828), Andrew Ellicott, and John (1795-d.c.1846), as well as grandsons Joseph (1811-1862) and Andrew Ellicott Jr. (1813-1896). Andrew Ellicott Warner first appears as a silversmith in 1805 when he formed a partnership with his older brother, Thomas Warner, and two worked together for the next seven years until Thomas joined the military to fight in the War of 1812. Andrew Ellicott Warner also participated in the war, commissioned as a captain in the Maryland Militia, and took part in the Battle of North Point in 1814. He continued to work in the partners’ former shop at 5 Gay Street until his death in 1870. Warner was a skilled craftsman and provided stiff competition for Samuel Kirk (1793-1872) during the second quarter of the nineteenth century and contributed to the popularity of silver work featuring excessive repousse ornamentation that defined Baltimore silver during most of the century. See Gary Albert, “Silver and Gold: A Pair of Officer’s Swords Marked by Thomas and Andrew Ellicott Warner of Baltimore, Journal of Early Southern Decorative Arts, Vol. 32, No. 1 (Summer 2006), 48-52; available online: https://archive.org/details/journalofearlyso301321muse (accessed 6 June 2017) and Jennifer Faulds Goldsborough, “Silver in Maryland” (Baltimore, MD: Maryland Historical Society, 1983).
FORM: Although silver goblets had been made in America since the seventeenth century, the form is uncommon. Most were intended for use in churches (communion chalices); however, in the nineteenth century many were made for domestic purposes. Domestic goblets were often ornamented with either the owner’s initials, surnames, or more lengthy inscriptions. Both communion chalices and domestic goblets were sometimes elaborately decorated with cast, die-stamped, engraved, or repousse ornament. Most goblets are lined, as is this one, with a gold wash; though the wash is often worn away.