Canoe-Form Butter Dish with Silver Mount

Object Name: 
Canoe-Form Butter Dish with Silver Mount

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Object Name: 
Canoe-Form Butter Dish with Silver Mount
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 11.3 cm, L: 25 cm, D: 7.5 cm
On Display
about 1880
Web Description: 
This fascinating pair of serving dishes (2010.4.11 and 2010.4.12) was created by the Philadelphia jeweler J. E. Caldwell & Company. Caldwell purchased the glass forms, which were undoubtedly made to order, and then added the silver. Since Caldwell ordered some pieces for mounting from T. G. Hawkes and Company of Corning, it is possible that the glass for these serving dishes was made in Corning. The engraving on the glass and silver imitates birch bark, while the bow of each canoe has two crossed silver feathers. The butter dish comes with a silver butter knife in the form of a canoe paddle. The presence of canoe-shaped dishes on the table at a formal dinner may seem a bit peculiar, and these examples are unusual for their period. However, they are very well made and were probably expensive, so they were certainly used for formal dining. The condiment dish is rare, and the butter dish is thought to be unique. The condiment dish was probably used for pickles, olives, or other food flavorings. The other dish would have had a shaped pat of butter on the silver drainer, and the ice water in which the butter had been stored would drip into the canoe. Most silver and silver-plated butter dishes made in the late 1800s have strainers, but it is unusual for a glass dish to have one. However, this set is so unusual in its design that the presence of a strainer is not surprising. One wonders if these dishes were specially ordered for the dining room of a sporting club of some kind. They do not seem to have been a standard production by Caldwell.
Spencer Marks, Ltd, Source
stamped On underside of silver stern (a)
Stamped On underside of silver paddle
Stamped On underside of silver tray (b)
J E C & CO 8083 B
stamped / scratched On underside of silver bow (a) Company name is stamped while the numers and letter B are scratch engraved.
Primary Description: 
Colorless glass; blown, ground, cut; sterling silver. Dish in the shape of a canoe with pattern of small cut lines and a bow and stern made out of sterling silver patterned to look like a wood canoe. The bow has two silver feathers for decoration. The canoe has a silver insert designed to hold the butter above the cavity of the canoe and two hooks to hold the butter "knife" in the form of a paddle.The silver is marked with the trademark of J. E. Caldwell of Philadephia, a jewelry store.
The Corning Museum of Glass: Notable Acquisitions 2010 (2011) illustrated, p. 40, #25; BIB# AI86878
Recent Acquisitions: American Glass (2010) illustrated, p. 16; BIB# AI82514