Water Lily Water Pitcher, circa 1855
Maker: Baldwin & Company, Newark, New Jersey
11-1/8″ high to top of handle with little more than a half-gallon capacity
Ref. No. 100310_002
This coin silver water pitcher is marked on the bottom with a crowned head and knight’s head (chess piece) in separate cartouche–the mark used by Baldwin and Company of Newark, New Jersey during the mid-19th century. Avant-garde styling considering the date, as this form of decoration is seldom encountered until the Aesthetic Movement of the 1880s. A few pieces are known from the mid 1850s by at least three firms. Evidently the style was not well received and does not emerge again for a generation when Tiffany and Gorham successfully adopt a more organic architecture in their styling which they infuse into similar repoussed designs. An auction price for a piece produced by either will routinely fetch over $20,000. Our example by Baldwin is of equal weight and accomplishment, yet earlier than the coveted Aesthetic Movement examples. Curiously, its value in the current marketplace is a fraction to that of the later examples. If this phenomenon had occurred in the painting marketplace there would be a multiple impact to its value. The pitcher pours well, and is in good condition with very slight wear to some high spots from frequent polishes.