PROPERTY FROM THE ST. BERNARD COMMANDERY NO. 35, KNIGHTS TEMPLAR, CHICAGO (LOTS 55-59)
all stamped Hammersmith & Field / Silver and Copper
The 1904 San Francisco conclave was held from September 6th to 9th and was honored by the attendance of the Supreme Grand Master of the United Kingdom, the Earl of Euston. "The decorations, the parades, the welcome and receptions and entertainment were resplendent with California hospitality." When, two years later, the host city was stricken by the earthquake, American Templars sent over $48,000 to their San Francisco brethren, including $4,631 from Illinois.
"The competitive drill held in Golden Gate Park attracted over 25,000 people. Generous credit was given for the high degree of efficiency shown by the competing Commanderies. No prizes were awarded but beautiful trophies were presented to each Drill Corps" (Francis J. Scully, M.D., History of the Grand Encampment Knights Templar of the United States of America). The piece was described in Sunset Magazine: "a punch bowl of more than ordinary beauty and artistic merit. It is of hand-beaten copper, gold lined, ornamented with Indian arrow-heads, silver shields, spears, war-hammers, targets, scalps, and other Indian trappings bound in place with silver thongs. The handles of the bowl and the ladle are of deer horns. It was designed and exectued in San Francisco by Hammersmith and Field and is, as an easterner said, thoroughly westernesque." Despite this assertion in the press, the local jeweler had in fact turned to a New York maker for this "western" piece.
Joseph Henrich was established as a metal molder and finisher in New York by the 1880s. After 1902 he was listed both at 948 Broadway, opposite the Flatiron building and probably a showroom, and at 227 West 29th Street, most likely a workshop and perhaps a wholesale showroom. His innovative copper and silver pieces were retailed by many important firms, including Tiffany and Black Starr & Frost. An "Indian" punch bowl and stand, with many of the same motifs as the offered lot, is in the Metropolitan Museum, with a retailer's mark of Shreve, Crump & Low, Boston (Charles L. Venable, Silver in America, fig. 6.68, p. 198). The business ended in the mid 1920s.
Hammersmith & Field were San Francisco retail jewelers, founded in 1886. After the earthquake of 1906 the name was changed to Hammersmith & Co. Souvenir spoons and watches bearing their name are fairly common, but they did supply larger works such as this punch bowl and a trophy that was raced for by the San Francisco Yacht Club in 1895. However, nothing in their labeled wares indicates they could have "designed and executed" a piece of this complexity.
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