Circa 1900 Antique Hand Hammered Copper Pitcher
- Vintage item
- Free USA Shipping
This Arts and Crafts era, heavy gauge copper jug with its warm, aged patina was expertly constructed in the opening years of the twentieth century. About 1850, coppersmiths began spinning copper on lathes instead of hand hammering items, but beginning in the 1880's, the Arts and Crafts movement encouraged a return to the traditional craftsman techniques. The coppersmith who made this prime example did not sign his work, which is common.
The bulbous-bottomed shape is one favored by L. and J.G. Stickley, among others. The scooped, squared off spout and the raised foot, rather than a flat bottom, are also typical. The handle was made of a thick strip of hammered copper, split into a "whale's tail" at the point where it joins the body below the rim and was attached with two large hand cut rivets. The other end of the handle is snug against the body and ends in an open, curled rat tail. The pitcher's obvious, all-over hand hammered surfaces are another hallmark of the Arts and Crafts period ethos; a century earlier, those surfaces would have been smoother. The seams would have been dovetailed and visible on the earlier pieces, too. All of these construction details are very evident on this pitcher and in our photographs.
The jug stands 9 1/2 inches tall to the very tip of the rolled edge spout. It measures 8 inches from the lip of spout to the outer tip of the handle and the bottom diameter is 3 3/4 inches. It weighs a sturdy 2 pounds 10 ounces. It is in very good condition, with a small crack at almost the tip of the rat tail which goes only partway across (it's visible in photo #4), but there are no dents or scratches. This is a handsome example of Arts and Crafts hand made copper kitchenware.
P.S.: We've left the dark patina, as it's authentic and desirable, for an Arts and Crafts piece especially. If you'd like it shiny, we recommend a commercial polish. Our favorite is Simichrome from Germany, but it's not inexpensive and often hard to find locally, while Wright's Copper Polish is usually easy to find and cheaper.