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Aiken, George
Place Made:
Baltimore Maryland United States of America
Date Made:
HOA: 13-3/4″
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Silver ladle with hemispherical bowl and pointed end. Arched, tapering handle that comes to a point at tip. Bright-cut border engraved on face of handle. Double drop on underside of bowl.

INSCRIPTION: “Elliot” engraved in circlet on the face of handle.

MARK: Struck twice on reverse of handle with script “G. Aiken” rectangular intaglio mark.

MAKER: George Aiken (1765-1832) first advertised in Baltimore during 1787, begging “…to aquaint the ladies and gentlemen… that he carries on the Goldsmith and jewellery business in their various branches; and also executes all manner of Devices, worked in Hair for Lockets, Rings, Pins, &c.” Nine years later, Aiken opened a shop at 1 South Calvert Street, and from 1802 to 1812 he operated his business at 72 Baltimore Street. His most prolific period was up to about 1810–only one piece of his silver is known that bears the Baltimore Assay Office mark, established in 1814. He remains listed as a silversmith of various locations until 1823, when he is referred to simply as “gentleman.” Apparently, financial difficulties drove Aiken out of his practiced trade. Throughout his career, Aiken was known for his requent use of classical urn shape forms and at least seven different marks are attributed to him. See Jacob Hall Pleasants and Howard Sill, “Maryland Silversmiths, 1715-1830” (Baltimore, MD: Lord Baltimore Press, 1930).

FORM: Large silver ladles were popular for serving punch or soup. Most had plain hemispherical bowls, others were round, and a few had scalloped or shaped bowls. Smaller ladles of silver were most often designated for serving sauces and gravy.

Credit Line:
Gift of Frank L. Horton