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Flagon (USA), 1860–80

This is a Flagon. It was made by Peter L Krider. It is dated 1860–80 and we acquired it in 2013. Its medium is spun, cast and engraved silver. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

This elegant flagon, by the important 19th-century American silversmith Peter Krider, is an excellent example of a piece of American silver that uses modern technology and historic design elements. The former is represented by the technique of spinning to create the hollow bowl, as opposed to traditional raising methods. Spinning, while done on a machine, is hand-controlled and only as good as the silversmith who holds it.
This interest in combining modern techniques with the tenets of arts and crafts is one that Christopher Dresser helped introduce in England in the mid-19th century as part of the reaction to the machine-made object, but without William Morris’s abhorrence of mechanical aid. The use of plain surfaces is one that Krider would have gleaned from his time with R & W Wilson, silversmiths for whom he worked before setting out on his own. R & W Wilson believed in creating pieces on which only the patron’s initials were featured and used various forms that let the silver shine on smooth surfaces.
True to its era, the flagon combines different styles and sources into a harmonious whole. The rococo scroll handle emanates out of a baluster form with no gothic arches. The gothic decoration is provided by the finely engraved inscription band around the waist—atypical of gothic revival design, this constitutes the decoration. The Maltese cross that forms the finial is an example of form creating design and may have some significance as Krider was a Freemason. The function of the flagon may relate to a Freemason rite, as its inscription is from the Old Testament and has nothing to do with the Communion Service.

This object was donated by Brian Clyne and Brian Tolle. It is credited Gift of Brian Tolle and Brian Clyne.

Its dimensions are

H x diam.: 33.7 x 15.2 cm (13 1/4in x 6 in)

It has the following markings

On underside: Lion passant, Gothic K and crown, Krider's pseudo-hallmarks, "STERLING", and "J.E. Caldwell" in Roman incuse letters

It is inscribed

Around body: "They Drank of the Spiritual Rock"

Cite this object as

Flagon (USA), 1860–80; Made by Peter L Krider (American, 1821 - 1895); spun, cast and engraved silver; H x diam.: 33.7 x 15.2 cm (13 1/4in x 6 in); Gift of Brian Tolle and Brian Clyne; 2013-28-1

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Teaspoon Gallery: Recent Acquisitions.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35474659/ |title=Flagon (USA), 1860–80 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=3 December 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>