Raphael and the Art Silver Company

I spend a great deal of time researching items for listing on my Etsy shop (as you most likely know if you’ve read some of my other posts).  This time I was researching a silverplate fork and knife both marked “Art Silver Co.”.  The fork had an angel or cherub depicted on the handle and the knife had what looked to be a woman with draped head covering.  The angel looked very familiar to me…I knew I had seen it before, but where?  Here is a photo:

I tracked the angel down to a work by Raphael entitled “The Sistene Madonna” painted circa 1512.  There were two little angels or cherubs at the bottom of the painting…my little angel was definitely one of them.  Could the woman on the knife be the Madonna?  It wasn’t an exact match but it was a definite possibility.  Note the rendition of the Madonna certainly shows a sculptor’s artistic license. Following is a copy of the painting:

Likenesses of these two little angels were featured by many artists since, most notably the 1800’s German artist Moritz Steinla.  It appears Currier & Ives reproduced the Steinla engraving and called it “The Little Cherubs”, see the following:

Currier & Ives “Little Cherubs”

I found this illustration in a Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Co. 1899 catalog which shows there was also a spoon that was part of this set.  The catalog refers to this set as “Raphael”:

“Raphael Child’s Set”

I was able to find a spoon. The youth set below sold at my Etsy shop.

Raphael Youth Set

Raphael Youth Set

The spoon in this set depicts the other angel in the Raphael painting.

Now I searched “Art Silver Co.” and found one listed in Wallingford, CT.  However, as far as I could tell, they marked their items “Art S. Co.”  A “Chilton’s Jewelers’ Circular / Keystone” help wanted ad reads:  “SALESMAN to represent Preisner Silver Company sterling and Art Silver Company plated hollowware in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico and Kansas; no objection to non-conflicting side line; reply to Preisner Silver Company, P.O. Box 398, Wallingford, Connecticut; all replies held confidential.”  So, according to this, these two companies were related hollowware manufacturers, with Preisner producing sterling and Art Silver producing silver plate.  These companies date to the mid 1900’s.

But I didn’t see that they produced flatware and to me, my knife and fork looked to be older than mid-century.  So I continued to search.                        

As luck would have it, I found the following:

“LENZ, Alfred David, s.m. sculpture and art metal worker; born at Fond du Lac, Wis., May 20th, 1872; son of Frederick and Selma (Roehr) L.; educated to jewelry trade; self-taught in art; unmarried.  Exhibited at the Nat. Sculptor’s Soc. (N.Y., 1898); and Pan-American Exp., etc.  Made relief decorations for “In War in Peace,” “Wonderland,” and many publications of highly decorative order, magazine covers, calendars, etc.; chief work is the re-establishment of art in the metals, according to their art value.  Pres. of the Art Silver Co.; member of the Wisconsin Soc. Of N. Y.  Address, 305 Fifth Ave.  Home, 305 W. 112th St., New York.  Taken from “The Artists Year Book, 1905-1906, Art League Pub. Association”, Google Book.

The details from three publications below.

Art Silver Co. Notes

Art Silver Co. Notes

Next is a representation of some relief work done by David Lenz for “Wonderland” by Olin D. Wheeler 1901-1906

Wonderland by Olin D. Wheeler 1901-1906

Wonderland by Olin D. Wheeler 1901-1906

Detail from above. Looks similar to  the “Raphael” youth set.

Wonderland 1901 Detail

Wonderland 1901 Detail

So, in 1905 there was an Art Silver Co. in New York City and its President was Alfred David Lenz who was a sculptor and innovator in a lost wax casting method.  Perfect! 

The only other references I have to a company named “Art Silver Co.”  is from “The Trow” 1908 as well as White Orr’s  in 1918. They were probably a retailer of art, novelties and silverplated ware.  In 1914 they were listed also as Kovner & Shultz. 

 Following is my Etsy listing for the knife and fork:


This entry was posted in Alfred David Lenz, Art Silver Co., Art Silver Company, currier & ives, Etsy, hibbard spencer bartlett, little angel, little cherub, Raphael, silver, silverplate, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Raphael and the Art Silver Company

  1. Rose says:

    Awesome!! Thank you! I found the spoon today, came across your blog 🙂

  2. Marlene says:

    Thanks for your wonderful research. I have a pedestal candy dish that I’m trying to price. Art S Co does seem more rare than the usual silverplate pieces I’ve seen. I believe that I am safe to say it’s from early 1900’s. How, though, do you get 1800’s from those articles?
    Thanks for your helpful sharing.

    • queenofsienna says:

      Hello! There were two Art Silver companies. I do mention the “other” Art Silver which was associated with Preissner and I estimated its date to the mid 1900s. Hope this helps!

      • anita says:

        i have a art silver co. infant set in box , do you know what they are worth they were my grandmoms when she was a baby girl she died in her 90’s about 40 plus years ago. her grandmother gave them to her as a gift and the box has the two cherabs on the front of the box and the faces on the handle of the silver ware.

      • queenofsienna says:

        Hello. I sold a three piece set for $70 but that was without the original box. To some people, that original box adds value. It really all depends on who sees the item for sale and how much they are willing to spend. Best of luck!

    • queenofsienna says:

      Oh, I forgot to mention that the Raphael flatware was produced in the United 1800s as Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett included it in their 1899 catalog.

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