Weight 25 kilos each.
Peter Waldron, "The Price Guide to Antique Silver", 1982, p. 342, illustrating these or an identical pair of ewers.
An outstanding pair of George IV silver-gilt ewers by Edward Farrell and most probably retailed by Kensington Lewis, each of ovoid form with a splayed spout cast on its underside with a mask head, with elaborate handles composed of a dolphin, two putti and a satyr, the body finely cast and chased with sea gods, dolphins, putti and a wolf, the main body held aloft by three outward facing crouching satyrs seated upon the back of a tortoise
London, dated 1826
Height 42 cm each. Weight 25 kilos each.
These sumptuous ewers compare to a silver gilt candelabrum composed of Neptune, mythological god of the sea, kneeling on a hippocampus on a rocky base cast with shells and other marine motifs, which likewise was made by the ingenious silversmith Edward Cornelius Farrell (b. c. 1779-d. 1850). Now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the candelabrum was part of a massive table garniture ordered by the Duke of York (who also owned Farrell's remarkable Hercules candelabrum) and was almost certainly acquired on his behalf by the antiquarian and silver retailer Kensington Lewis. The latter worked in close association with Farrell between about 1816 until the mid-1830s and most probably retailed the present pair of ewers.
The nineteenth century was the great age of historicism. Past styles were studied; some were copied but most were adapted according to the artist's imagination. Revived styles pervaded all the arts including silver. George IV's desire for increasingly more elaborate silver inspired the royal goldsmiths Rundell, Bridge and Rundell to produce a series of Rococo style tureens. The firm also experimented with designs after the Renaissance and Baroque. Soon other silversmiths were following their suit, of which one of the leaders was Edward Farrell. Both he and Kensington Lewis were particularly interested in old plate. The design of the present ewers owes much to Farrell's knowledge of early seventeenth century Dutch silver, comparing to the work of Johannes Lutma. In particular, Lutma created a ewer of the same shape complete with a dolphin handle and a remarkably similar frieze around its body which is accompanied by a dish cast with Neptune, dolphins and other marine creatures (1647; Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam).
Farrell entered his first mark as a London plate worker in 1813 at which time he was based at King's Head Court, Holborn Hill; by 1818 he had moved to Bridge Street in Covent Garden and then to nearby Bow Street, where he remained until his death in 1850. It has been suggested that Farrell was the chief manufacturer for Thomas Hamlet, for whom no mark was entered, but whose stamped retailer's name is found on some pieces of this nature.