George III Neoclassical sterling silver epergne or centerpiece, Thomas Pitts I, London, 1774-1775. Reticulated oval center basket with flared rims having applied acanthus and shell decoration, the sides draped with garlands of husks and centered at each side by beaded medallions engraved with coats of arms. Frame with beaded top edge and tapering oval reeded shaft adorned with medallions and husks descending to a pierced and beaded outer edge, decorated with openwork garlands of husks, alternating with ribbons and oval medallions featuring repousse urn decoration. Raised on four curved and pierced rocaille feet with acanthus leaf returns. Six removable, naturalistic branches fit into frame and support six baskets, two of which are oval and repeat the pattern of the center basket, the other four of similar design but round, with engraved crests at center. Basket and frame with full hallmarks; branches and smaller baskets all with Thomas Pitts maker’s marks and lion passant marks. 14 1/2″ H x 21 1/2″ W x 17″ D fully assembled. Frame only – 11 1/2″ H x 10″ W x 9″ D. 100.33 total troy ounces. Provenance: the estate of Marion H. “Bit” Hutcheson, Happy Valley Farms, Rossville, Georgia. CONDITION: Excellent condition. All baskets and branches appear original. However, there are two holes at front and back center of base, suggesting there may have originally been two additional small branches and baskets. The tops of those two holes have round coverings to make them less noticeable. One of the lowermost bands on the center basket has a minor solder repair. Ends of branches holding the small oval baskets are slightly loose.
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