In this outstanding silver centerpiece, celebrated English silversmith Paul Storr demonstrates his mastery of Georgian design. It was crafted for Rundell, Bridge and Rundell, an iconic London-based firm of jewelers and goldsmiths who served the Royal family and other important patrons. Displaying an artful balance of classical and French Huguenot Baroque influences, this centerpiece is comprised of an oak leaf-edged basket born by three caryatids. Each of these figures bears two staffs, one topped with a pineapple, a symbol of luck and hospitality, and the other topped with a wheat berry, a symbol of abundance.
The double tripod base boasts elements such as satyr masks that reveal Storr’s neoclassical background, while his Baroque style is glimpsed in its abundant garlands of fruit and flowers. This centerpiece is not only an artistic triumph, but also references the ancient caryatids, women of the Peloponnesian village of Karyai who danced with baskets of live reeds on their heads. A pair of almost identical centerpieces was part of the first Duke of Wellington's Ambassadorial Service, and they are presently preserved at the Wellington Museum in Apsley House, London. Another is in the Birmingham Museum of Art.
Storr is renowned for perfecting the styles and designs of the Regency period. Though he held no formal title, Storr enjoyed patronage from the most important and powerful figures of the period, including King George III and the Prince of Wales, the future King George IV. Many of Storr's successes were due to the influence of Philip Rundell, of the popular silver retailing firm of Rundell, Bridge and Rundell. Rundell's firm nearly monopolized the early 19th-century market for superior silver, having obtained the Royal Warrant in 1806. Rundell recognized the unique talents of Paul Storr and began pursuing him in 1803, but it wasn't until 1806 that Storr finally joined the firm. Due to his remarkable talents, Storr was allowed to retain his own mark while working for Rundell, a remarkable show of esteem from the retailers.
Hallmarked London, 1812
10 1/2" wide x 10 3/8" deep x 16 1/8" high