On February 4, 1774, the surviving son of Martha Washington -- John "Jacky" Parke Custis -- married Eleanor Calvert, uniting two of the most well-connected and wealthy families in colonial America. Although young (nineteen and sixteen respectively), the couple recognized the importance of surrounding themselves with fine goods that spoke of their fortune, taste, and gentility. They assembled an impressive array of silver hollow and flatware imported from England such as this cruet stand. It likely originally held two glass bottles for oil and vinegar, and three silver casters for salt, pepper, mustard, or other spices.
See also hot water urn, W-107, salvers, W-108, W-2516 and W-2760, cake basket, W-2519, punch strainer, W-2527, ladle, W-2554, and candlesticks, W-2521/A.1-D.2.
Five-bottle cruet stand on five cast and pierced scrolled bracket feet adorned with applied beaded swags; the five cylindrical bottle holders are made from pierced sheet silver with applied beaded borders at lip and base; each is soldered to a flat circular ring and to one another at lip and base to form a cinquefoil shape; applied cartouche on front bottle holder engraved with the Custis family crest, the head of an eagle issuing from a wreath; cast, bail-type handle is formed from two S-scrolls joined by two garlands of acanthus leaves that meet at a flower; the handle is affixed to a swelled and collared shaft that terminates in a stepped base screwed to a circular platform supported by five S-scroll legs, each adorned with an acanthus leaf at the knee and is soldered to the corresponding seams of the bottle holders.
Overall: 10 1/4 in. x 6 13/16 in. x 6 13/16 in. (26.04 cm x 17.3 cm x 17.3 cm)
Other (body): 4 3/4 in. (12.07 cm)
Four hallmarks or stamps on the underside of the front bottle holder: date letter features the letter "T" in a round-cornered square; London city mark features a crowned leopard's head in a shield; British sterling standard mark features a lion passant in a pointed shield; maker's mark features the letters "TD" surrounded by scrolls, all in a round-cornered rectangle; One hallmark or stamp on back of central shaft: British sterling standard mark features a lion passant in a pointed shield.
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