Covered Two-Handled Urn
The silversmiths Thomas Fletcher and Sidney Gardiner created some of the most imaginative presentation silver of the early nineteenth century. They specialized in Neoclassical forms, such as the two-handled amphora shape, and decoration, such as the paw feet, acanthus leaves, and grape vines, seen on this urn. The urn was presented to James C. Fisher by the proprietors of the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal to honor his "faithful and useful Services as President of the Company." When the canal was completed in 1829, it was one of the most expensive construction projects in the young nation and immediately facilitated trade throughout the Mid-Atlantic states. The maritime context for the commission of the urn is underscored by the plaques on the side of the plinth, which depict the construction and operation of the canal, and by the figure of Neptune, who surmounts the lid.
Kathryn C. Buhler and Graham Hood, American Silver in the Yale University Art Gallery, 2 vols. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1970), vol. 1, pp. 23537, no. 928, ill.
Graham Hood, American Silver: A History of Style, 16501900 (New York: Praeger, 1971), 19495, 197, fig. 217.
Gerald W. R. Ward and Barbara M. Ward, eds., Silver in American Life: Selections from the Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale University, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1979), 35, 9698, no. 73, ill.
Harold Newman, An Illustrated Dictionary of Silverware (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1987), 136, ill.
Handbook of the Collections (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 110, ill.
Donald L. Fennimore and Ann Wagner, Silversmiths to the Nation: Thomas Fletcher & Sidney Gardiner: 1808-1842, exh. cat. (Easthampton, MA: Antique Collector’s Club Ltd., 2007).
Helen A. Cooper et al., Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness: American Art from the Yale University Art Gallery, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2008), 276, no. 168, ill.