This is truly one of the most magnificent pieces of Tiffany & Co. sterling silver presentation pieces we have had in our collection. The Punch Bowl and Ladle was made by Tiffany presented as a gift from the Gentlemen’s Driving Association to Alexander Taylor, Jr. at a dinner in 1881. The Punch Bowl is spot hammered, is acid etched on one side with a presentation inscription, the other with the portrait bust of Taylor in a horseshoe flanked by trotting equipages, the rim is applied with four pairs of finely molded horse heads emerging from the grapevine border in relief. The silver gilt interior is acid etched with the grapevine border. The double pedestal foot is applied with a band of grapevines and horseshoes. The Bowl is marked on the underside with Tiffany’s hallmarks and numbered 6542-11730. The ladle has a floral etched stem wrapped in a grapevine, the spot hammered terminal is chased with four horseshoes, the gilt bowl chased with waveform spirals. The ladle is hallmarked with Tiffany’s makers mark and numbered 477-11730 (demonstrating that the ladle and punch bowl were made as a set). The design is attributed to Charles Osborne, who worked for Tiffany in the late 19th Century. Weight 322 oz.
The inscription reads, "Presented to Mr. Alexander Taylor, Jr., by his
Friends of the Gentleman's Driving Association, 1881."
Alexander Taylor, Jr. took over from his father in running the family's
Wall Street merchant banking firm, which became Alexander Taylor's
Sons, with interests in railroads, mining, and international exchange and
investments. He married the daughter of Henry J. Taylor, mayor of
Jersey City, and they divided their time between New York City and
country houses in Mamaroneck, first at "Chrismere," then "Linwood."
A prominent member of the Union League Club, he owned several
steam yachts including Diana, North Star, and Skylark.
In 1881, with the help of friends he restored the racecourse at Fleetwood
Park (which had seen its first meeting in 1870) and formed the
Gentleman's Driving Park Association. He was elected treasurer, then
president. In September 1881, a dinner was given in his honor by
members including Messrs. Bonner, Work, Alley, Leonard Jerome
(Winston Churchill's grandfather), Griswold, and others. Here he was
presented with "a magnificent punch bowl." As recorded in The Hour of
November 12, 1881:
The bowl is a magnificent work of art. It is made of hammered silver, the
inside being gilt. Some idea of its enormous size may be formed from
the fact that the contents of three and-a-half cases of champagne only
make it about three-quarters full. The outside is handsomely embossed
and carved with horses' heads and representations of Vanderbilt and
other gentlemen drivers tooling their teams along the road. There is
also a good likeness of Mr. Taylor himself engraved on it and
underneath [sic.] a suitable inscription.
The modeling on the horse heads recalls that on the Comanche Trophy
of 1873, signed with the initials of Eugene J. Soligny; this trophy was
presented to Robert Bonner, one of the members of the Gentleman's