Collections › MESDA Collection › Pitcher

Pitcher

Artist/Maker:
Sharp, George Jr. __Retailer ||Krider & Biddle __Manufacturer
Place Made:
retailed in Atlanta, GA Philadelphia Pennsylvania
Date Made:
1864-1870
Medium:
silver
Dimensions:
__14-1/2″
Accession Number:
5976
Description:
DESCRIPTION: Silver pitcher with a curved spout featuring applied lip molding opposite an applied S-scroll handle. The top of the handle rises above the rim where it is attached and the bottom is attached on body at the shoulder of the bulbous body. The one-piece spout and neck is attached to the top of the body. The round base has a flared top where it meets the body and features a molded foot ring.

INSCRIPTION: Not engraved.

MARK: Struck on underside of body with incuse “GEO. SHARP JR. / ATLANTA GA,” incuse Krider & Biddle manufacturer’s mark, and incuse “925” sterling standard 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).

Krider & Biddle was a prolific Philadelphia silver manufacturer in partnership from 1858 until about 1870. Peter L. Krider (1821-1895) was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and began his apprenticeship in 1835 under silversmith John Curry (b.c.1798-1868). He finished his apprenticeship with the Philadephia firm of Robert & William Wilson (in partnership 1825-1846). About 1842 Krider moved to Boston where he worked as a journeyman with Obadiah Rich (1809-1888) and returned to Philadelphia in 1846 to serve as the R & W Wilson shop foreman. Krider first appears under his own name as Krider & Co. in the 1851 Philadelphia city directory. His firm would become one of the city’s most important in the second half of the nineteenth century. Krider specialized in beakers, and partnered with retailers throughout the United States, but also made holloware for prominent local and regional retailers. From 1859 to 1870 he partnered with John W. Biddle (1835-1916) under the business name Krider & Biddle. Biddle was also born in Philadelphia. He may have been more of a businessman and not a silversmith or jeweler as he is only listed as a manufacturer in the United States Federal Census during his partnership with Krider (1860 and 1870). See Catherine B. Hollan, “Philadelphia Silversmiths and Related Artisans to 1861” (McLean, VA: Hollan Press, 2013) and entry for John W. Biddle in William Erik Voss, “Silversmiths & Related Craftsmen” (online: http://freepages.rootsweb.com/~silversmiths/genealogy/makers/silversmiths/65576.htm [accessed 16 April 2019]).

FORM: Silver pitchers in Colonial America were most often small cream pitchers in the rococo fashion that were used as part of the tea ceremony to serve milk. Large wide-mouthed pitchers in the neoclassical and empire styles became popular after the American Revolution. Such pitchers were used to serve water or wine and provided silversmiths with abundant flat surface area for engraving everything from simple monograms to armorials to lengthy presentations. The term “pitcher” is most commonly used in the United States and can be applied to any container with a spout for pouring liquids. In other English-speaking countries, the term “jug” is use more prevalently. A “ewer” is a vase-shaped, handled pitcher, often decorated, with a base and flaring spout.

Credit Line:
James H. Willcox Jr. Silver Purchase Fund