Thomas Fletcher Philadelphia Silver Pitcher
Ever since I was a child, I always remember my mother would hide it in the closet whenever we would leave town, so I knew it was something very special to her. I believe that it was my great-grandmother's, and my great-grandmother was born and raised at the Arlington Plantation in Natchez, Mississippi. She married a portrait painter, and we've always believed that it was a wedding gift to them.
Have you ever hidden it in a closet?
No, I haven't hidden it in a closet, but after Katrina, our locks were taken off our houses so we could get in. I had to hide it in the stove.
Do you know where it was made?
I think since my great-great-grandfather was from Philadelphia that maybe it was made in Philadelphia. I know a lot of artisans that worked on the plantation homes in Natchez came from Philadelphia.
It was made in Philadelphia by Thomas Fletcher. And Thomas Fletcher was in business for himself for quite awhile. He started out in Boston and then moved to Philadelphia, and later, he became a partner of Sidney Gardiner in the firm of Fletcher and Gardiner. Made the most beautiful silver during the American neoclassical period. They worked from 1808 to 1842. And the pieces they made, such as this piece, are of superb quality. You see the wonderful neoclassical lines here, and we have this cartouche shield with the American eagle above it, which is so fantastic. This is a wonderful pitcher, either a water pitcher or for mint juleps, made for the Southern market around 1830. Natchez was such a wealthy town with the cotton plantation owners that they could afford to buy things from a firm such as Fletcher and Gardiner. I feel that you should insure it for $9,000. Where will the next hiding place be?
Well, I can't tell you that. (both laugh)
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