Ace silversmith Alexander Petrie (d.1768) is recognized as one of the most talented 18th-century smiths working in Charleston. By tapping out showy silver like the rococo repoussé coffeepot shown here, he became a silver star and tastemaker-and also sidelined as a real estate developer, importer, and bookie.
"Petrie served as an arbiter of taste and helped shape consumer demand through the objects he imported and created," says curator Brandy Culp of the Historic Charleston Foundation. What remains a mystery about Petrie’s pieces is how much of a hand an artisan named Abraham, a slave who worked for the master craftsman, had in their design and execution.
Image courtesy of the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts
Fish slice with engraved stylized fish by Charleston silversmith William Ewan.
A dragon-handled urn on paw feet by Alexander Young is among John LeHeup’s favorite pieces.
Image courtesy of Alfred L. Crabtree, The Brass and Silver Workshop, Charleston