Kettle, stand and tray

ARTIST / MAKER: Bailey & Co. (manufacturer)
DATE: 1845-50 (made)
PLACE: Philadelphia (made)

This kettle, stand and tray were made by Bailey & Co., a silversmithing firm based in Philadelphia which originated from a partnership formed in 1832 by Joseph T. Bailey and Andrew B. Kitchen. As American silversmithing companies developed from small-scale workshops to larger factories which employed new technologies, firms such as Bailey & Co. created innovative forms, ornament and styles which drew from earlier European silver design. This created an eclecticism of styles and taste, which catered to the burgeoning, upper middle-class American demand for elaborate tea and tablewares. This silver kettle demonstrates the revived taste for the Rococo style, a mid-18th century style characterised by asymmetrical decoration and scrolling floral motifs. The kingfisher crest engraved on the tray is reproduced as an usually large, cast silver finial on the kettle, presumably requested by the client for whom it was made. The kettle was descended in the Fischer, Powell, and Bringhurst families, whose members were some of the wealthiest and prominent citizens of Philadelphia.