George III Silver Pitcher, ca. 1771
Appraised Value: $3,000 (1997)
IMAGE: 1 of 5
Appraisal Video: (3:05)
Senior Vice President & Department Head, Silver
APPRAISER: I see you've brought this magnificent English Georgian ewer or pitcher in to show us today. It's an 18th-century piece, as you well know. And I understand it's been in your family, is that right?
GUEST: Yes, yes, it has.
APPRAISER: I see a monogram here, E.H. And can you tell me a little bit about who that stands for?
GUEST: Yes, it stands for Eliza Hungerford, and she is a great-great-great-great- great-great-grandmother.
APPRAISER: Six "greats."
APPRAISER: Six "greats." amazing.
GUEST: A long way back, so that's kind of neat.
APPRAISER: She was English?
GUEST: She was English. It was made in London as far as I know.
GUEST: I think so.
APPRAISER: And I see you've brought some of your ancestors with you.
GUEST: Mm-hmm, this is my great-great- great-grandfather in the center and then his son, my great-great-grandfather.
APPRAISER: It's an amazing piece and, uh, you seem to know a lot about it. The first thing in English silver which you want to look at, of course, are the hallmarks under the base. And it has the marks of London and the date letter "Q" for 1771. I don't know, does that fit in with her marriage? Was she married around then, do you think?
APPRAISER: Well, that would be the time that she would have come to own this piece. And the maker's mark-- the man who made the piece is C.W., and that's Charles Wright, who was a very well-known London silversmith in this period. However, the shape of this piece, this pitcher, which we call a ewer, is very unusual. Charles Wright made a lot of coffeepots and teapots and things like that, but this ewer would have been on a sideboard, probably accompanied by a basin. And that would have been used for rinsing, and the basin would have caught the water. It wasn't for pouring punch or beer or anything like that. And it was by this period in the 18th century used primarily for display, so it's a very rare form by a well-known maker. And one other thing that's very rare and interesting about it is this piece of decoration right under the spout-- this lion's mask. It's very English-looking, very sculptural, and it's a very nice added detail, which adds to the quality of the piece.
GUEST: It's gorgeous.
APPRAISER: Yes. And another thing... You brought another photograph which I just thought we should look at because it's a room shot. It features this pitcher in pride of place in this very unusual photograph.
GUEST: Yes, that's the house of my great-great-grandfather.
APPRAISER: Well, that shows you how esteemed this piece has been in your family. So I think that's very special. As far as value, I think you'll be very pleased to know that a rare form like this would command a great price at auction. I would think a collector would be very happy to pay $10,000 for it.
APPRAISER: So, it has more than sentimental value.
GUEST: Definitely, but it won't be leaving these hands for a long time.
APPRAISER: Very good, very good.
GUEST: It's going to go on to my kids.
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