Overall: 13 1/2 x 6 1/8 x 9 1/2 in. ( 34.3 x 15.6 x 24.1 cm ) Silver Weight: 36 oz (troy) 3 dwt (1125 g)
stamped: on the base: "W [?] B" in a rectangle, double struck
Wrought silver water pitcher; raised, urn-shaped body with a plain, applied shoulder and concave neck that flares to a broad pouring lip in the front; continuous band of chased acanthus leaves around the lower body; a die-rolled basket-weave band is applied below the shoulder and a die-rolled geometric band is applied to the outside of the rim; stepped, circular, splayed foot with a die-rolled band of stars around the joint, and a molded, plain convex band below; foot applied to a square base with a vertically applied, die-rolled band of roses, seated on four cast paw feet with lion's head knees; cast, double-scroll handle with a dragon's head upper terminus and foliage lower terminus; maker's mark on the base.
This pitcher was part of a tea and coffee service assembled by the original owners, James (1751-1836) and Dolley Madison (1768-1849), and may have been one of two silver services regularly used at the family's Virginia estate, Montpelier, where the couple periodically lived after Madison's presidency. It is widely believed that Dolley Madison pawned the pitcher and service in 1848 to help relieve the debt of her son from her first marriage, John Payne Todd (1792-1852). The service was then acquired by James C. McGuire, Sr. (d. 1888), the executor of Todd's estate, and later donated to the N-YHS by his granddaughter.
Gift of Miss Mary Madison McGuire
James Madison (1751-1836), who married Dolley Payne Todd (1768-1849); Tea set: to James C. McGuire (d. 1888); to his son Joseph Deakins McGuire, Sr. (1842-1914), who married Anna Madison Chapman (1844-1904); to their son James Clark McGuire (1867-1930); to his sister Mary Madison McGuire (1868-ca. 1939), the donor. Pitcher: to James C. McGuire (d. 1888); to his son Frederick Bauders McGuire; to his niece Mary Madison McGuire (1868-ca. 1939), the donor.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.