A rare and important silver plated commemorative tray, celebrating the compromise of 1850, New York and Boston, circa 1852-60.
This rare oval silver tray features relief medallion portraits of George Washington at top center above Massachusetts senator Daniel Webster, on the left and Kentucky senator Henry Clay, on the right. The medallions were created by, or based upon, commemorative medals by Charles Cushing Wright, often thought of as the finest designer, modeler and striker of medals and coins during the early 19th century. Washington’s image is from a circa 1851 medal honoring the 75th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, while Clay and Webster’s images are circa 1852, the year both men died. Centered at the bottom is a copy of the reverse side of the Henry Clay medallion. This depicts Clay’s hand held above a list of his accomplishments on a rock representing The Constitution. A banner above this reads, "The Eloquent Defender Of National Rights and National Independence". These medallions all center an engraving of the Declaration of Independence embossed with copy of Trumbull’s painting of the signing of the Declaration in the center. The central image of congress was engraved by S. H. Black in 1859 and is a composite from an earlier Wright engraving. On either side of the Washington portrait are eagles, one with a sword in its beak and the other with the scales of justice. Both have fasces at their feet. Beneath the Constitution is a panoply of arms and flags. The tray has a raised egg molded border.
The plaque clearly commemorates a composite of several political events of the period. The Washington medallion celebrates the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. The other medallions recognize the passing of these famous senators in 1852. Shortly before their deaths, each of the senators had collaborated on an important group of bills that addressed growing tensions between various states over new territories and the conditions of slavery. This group of bills are known as, “The Compromise of 1850”. They are considered to be the greatest work of these two accomplished politicians. The compromises were celebrated in short term for maintaining a united American nation. The bills passed in the 75th anniversary year of the Declaration of Independence and these resolutions were emblematic of the nations founding principals. It is clear that this unique tray was created to commemorate the accomplishments achieved in “The Compromise of 1850” by both Clay and Webster.
Dimensions: Horizontal oval 28” x 23”
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