James W. Tufts standing Victorian, Greek barrel man napkin ring, is displaying his craft carrying his barrel; the piece is magnificently detailed, down to the individual strands of his work rope, the folds of his clothing and realistic depiction of his face and hands holding the barrel. It stands a large 4 5/8 inches tall, 2 3/4 inches wide and is 2 1/2 inch in diameter at the base. It's original and is lightly hand polished. We had had it for quite some time and previously examined it under magnification, so when we bumped magnification up for our final inspections, we were quite surprised to find 'Emma' appearing softly among the foliage of the top of the barrel. Yes, a monogram, almost as if intentional hidden there and most likely it was too! The Victorians loved surprises of this kind! Being of the age to have had them for Grand Parents, I still remember first hand, all the "gotchas"! It is not easily seen. The Greek barrel man is not an uncommon figural form to Mr. Tufts even if the napkin ring form of it is.
James Walker Tufts (1835 – 1902) the designer and producer of this beautiful piece was a well known silversmith, who if history bears truth, opened his business in Boston in 1875. He also founded the Arctic Soda Fountain Co., that eventually merged with several other companies to form the American Soda Fountain Co. He had apprenticed at age of 16 to a drug store and rose to become a wealth business man, eventually after all the a fore mentioned accomplishments, he had the vision to build a "health resort for people of modest means" and with his own money purchased 500 acres initially and later 5500 acres more to build Pinehurst, NC (you know this city, of the famous resort and golf courses) from the ground up! Much more then a silversmith, I'd say. ( L2603)
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