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THE MYSTERY OF THE IGL MARK ON ANTIQUE SILVER

Contributed by: www.Marks4Antiques.com

Collectors of American Silver have long been puzzled by the maker's mark IGL that appears on comparatively few pieces of silver, most of which seem to have had their origin in the neighborhood of Albany, New York. As recently as 1937 the mark was ascribed to Jacob Gerritze Lansing and the date given was 1736. In 1938 it was assigned in two different forms to Jacob Gerritse Lansing (1736 - 1803). Still later it was given to a John Gerrit Lansing, who is said to have been born and died on the same dates and to have worked from 1765 to 1790.

In ‘American Silversmiths and their Marks, III’ by Stephen G. C. Ensko, the mark is given in one form to Jacob Gerittze Lansing, 1700, and in two slightly different forms to Jacob Gerittse Lansing (1736 - 1803, working 1765). To add to the complications there is a JCL assigned to the later Jacob G., and there are numerous IL's, some of which have been thought to represent the later Jacob G. Lansing, or a Jacob Lansing of Albany, although it could conceivably belong to John LeRoux of New York and Albany, John Leacock of Philadelphia, John Lynch of Baltimore, Jeffery Lang of Salem, or John Burt Lyng of New York.

In the days when I owned just one piece of silver marked IGL, a small tablespoon matched by three bearing the script touch of Myer Myers (which are recorded in Rosenbaum, Myer Myers, Goldsmith, page 124), I had no particular interest in the maker other than to note that the later Lansing must have been the maker of my spoon, and to wonder how he came to collaborate with Myers. Later when I acquired a loose-covered straight-sided pint mug with a strap handle decorated with a beaded rattail, and marked IGL in a form differing but slightly from that on my spoon, I began to take notice.

My mug was surely much earlier than my spoon, of early eighteenth- and perhaps even of late seventeenth-century make. But it bore the initials NDF, of a lady who was born Neeltje Quackenbos in 1697 and was married to Jesse de Forest in 1718. She not only lived on until 1789 but had a daughter and a De Forest grand-daughter named for her, so that, judged by initials alone, my mug could have been made well after 1765 when the younger Lansing is thought to have begun to work. For my own satisfaction, I had to know. I have now spent several years searching for IGL silver, examining all of it I could lay my hands on, studying many photographs, writing and reading many letters, and delving into Lansing genealogy, in my determination to solve the which only twenty-two can now be located. Of these, twelve are in public collections and the other ten are in private hands, so that a study of actual pieces is not an easy matter. By far the largest group is in the Albany Institute, with eight examples of its own and one on loan. The Metropolitan Museum has two, the Garvan collection at Yale has one (on loan at Albany), and the Los Angeles County Museum one. Of all these only the two mugs, the trencher salts, and the flat-topped tankard seem surely to have been made by the grandfather. A few of the others might possibly have been made by him - the two Neeltje de Forest sugar bowls, the tripod salts, the salver, and the De Forest spoon. But all the rest seem surely to have been made by the grandson, even though some bear the same mark as the mugs.

Here is a list of the thirty-five recorded pieces, with descriptions where available:

1. Bowl, listed by Cutten, made for Dirck and Cornelia S. Ten Broek, married 1775.

2. Bowl, plain body, molded ring foot. Engraved ‘Dudley Walsh from his Uncle James Stevenson’ on outer surface; VPD on bottom for Volkert Petrus Douw, born Albany 1720. Known as Douw's christening bowl, but quaere. [Albany Institute]

3. Sugar bowl, inverted pear-shape body, molded splayed foot, low-domed cover with reel handle. Mark I. Engraved NDF for Neeltje de Forest. [Collection of Mrs. Charlton M. Lewis, }r., a descendant]

4. Sugar bowl, inverted pear-shape body, loose cover with eagle finial. Engraved NDF for Neeltje de Forest. [Albany Institute]

5. Sugar bowl, inverted pear-shape body, repousse decoration, low-domed cover. [Los Angeles County Museum, lent by Mrs. John Emerson Marble]

6. Shoe buckles, #639 in the Learned sale, Parke-Bemet Galleries, November 15, 1947.

7. Cann, transitional bulbous body, c. 1740. Engraved with man in Dutch costume with gun, dog, and stag.

8. Cann, pear-shape body, once owned by Tiffany and Co., New York.

9. Caster, pear-shape body, gadrooning, circular piercings in top. Engraved AE. [Albany Institute]

10. Caster, listed by George B. Cutten. May be the same as No. 9.

11. Creamer, pear-shape body, repousse floral decoration, three feet terminating in hoofs attached to body by shell motif. Engraved MDF on bottom. [Albany Institute lent by George Leary]

12. Creamer, pear-shape body, serpentine edge with flaring spout, leaf-wrought scroll handle, three cabriole legs with shell motifs. [Sold at Auction in New York ca 1940s]

13. Creamer, pear-shape body. [Sold at Auction in New York ca 1940s]

14. Creamer, repousse decoration. Said to be companion piece to No. 12 and to have been illustrated in ‘American Collector’.

15. Cup, bell-shape body on low molded splayed foot. Engraved ‘Augustine Washington’ in script on body, ‘W 182’ on foot. [Albany Institute]

16. Marrow scoop. Engraved WH in script.

17. Mug, tapering cylindrical form with base ring, loose low-domed cover with turned finial, strap handle with beaded rattail. Engraved NDF in block letters on bottom for Neeltje de Forest.

18. Mug, identical with 17, but without cover. Engraved DF/IN letters on handle for Jesse and Neeltje de Forest. [Collection of Morris Cohon]

19. Salver, round piecrust border with alternating shells of different sizes. Engraved E/C C/1765 (date probably not contemporary). [Collection of Walter M. Jeffords]

20 and 21. Pair of trencher salts, circular body, tapered sides, convex moldings on rim and base decorated with gadrooning. Engraved with Foster arms and FS on sides. [Present whereabouts unknown]

22 and 23. Pair of open salts, circular well with gadrooned edge on three legs with round feet in two stages. Engraved E/C C/1765 (date probably not contemporary). [Collection of Philip Hammerslough]

24. Gold snuffbox commissioned by the Albany Common Council in 1782, for which it paid .11-16-0 to the younger Lansing. Possibly given to George Washington in June of that year.

25. Spoon, upturned modified midrib, single open drop. Engraved N/IDF for Jesse and Neeltje de Forest. [Albany Institute]

26. Spoon, rounded down-turned handle, egg-shape bowl. Engraved ‘SES’ in script on top of handle.

27. Small spoon, modified midrib, oval bowl, plain drop. Mark very worn. Engraved I in position of top letter of three-letter monogram.

28. Basting spoon, rounded down-turned handle, egg-shape bowl. Mark IV. Engraved W/1776 on top of handle. [Albany Institute]

29. Lemon strainer, shallow circular bowl perforated with concentric circles and six pointed petals, single fiat scrolled chased handle. [Metropolitan Museum of Art]

30. Tankard, plain tapering body, scalloped flanged cover with flat top over convex mold, corkscrew thumbpiece and decorated hinge, cut-card leaf ornament above base mold, hollow S handle with rattail, plain round terminal. Engraved M/M M on upper part of handle for Myndert and Maria Myndertse of Schenectady. [Albany Institute, on loan from Carcan collection]

31. Tankard, bulbous body on splayed molded foot, low-domed and stepped cover, pierced thumbpiece, flat molded drop on double-scroll handle. Engraved C/A I and 1770. [Metropolitan Museum of Art]

32. Tankard, listed by Cutten, made for Dirck and Cornelia S. Ten Broek, married 1775.

33. Tankard, flat-topped, once in collection of Morris Cohon and thought to be by the elder Lansing.

34. Teapot, inverted pear-shape body, floral repousse decoration, pine-cone finial on lid, wooden handle. Engraved CWVS in block letters on bottom for Gerrit W. van Schaack (1750 - 1816), Albany. [Collection of Philip Hammerslouglz].

35. Teapot, inverted pear-shape body, floral repousse decoration, pine-cone finial on lid, wooden handle. Engraved NRB for Neeltje Roseboom who married Jacob Gerritse Lansing 1767, died 1768. [Albany Institute]

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