A Federal  silver circular snuff box of Historical Interest by Richard Humphreys, Philadelphia, PA,  circa 1790
Lot 392
A Federal silver circular snuff box of Historical Interest
by Richard Humphreys, Philadelphia, PA, circa 1790
Sold for US$ 40,000 inc. premium

Lot Details
Property from a Philadelphia Estate
A Federal  silver circular snuff box of Historical Interest by Richard Humphreys, Philadelphia, PA,  circa 1790 A Federal  silver circular snuff box of Historical Interest by Richard Humphreys, Philadelphia, PA,  circa 1790 A Federal  silver circular snuff box of Historical Interest by Richard Humphreys, Philadelphia, PA,  circa 1790
A Federal silver circular snuff box of Historical Interest
by Richard Humphreys, Philadelphia, PA, circa 1790
Inscribed from Henry Lee III to Francis Marion, Richmond, 1790, height 1/2in (1.25cm); diameter 3 1/4in (8.25cm); weight approximately 3.5oz troy.

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    with Warren D. Perry, New York, NY.

    THE SWAMP FOX

    Francis Marion was born on 26 February 1732 and grew up with his five siblings on the family plantation in Berkeley, South Carolina. He was recruited in 1756 to fight in the French and Indian War. During this service, Marion's experience and observations of the combat tactics of the Cherokee- using camouflage, sabotage and ambush - influenced his fighting style which later served him when in conflict with the British Army during the Revolutionary War. Adapting and honing these 'guerrilla' techniques earned him the sobriquet "The Swamp Fox".


    LIGHT HORSE HARRY

    Henry Lee III was born 29 January 1756 near Dumfries, Virginia. He graduated from what is now Princeton University in 1773 and began a career in law. At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War he was commissioned a captain in a Virginia regiment attached to the 1st Continental Light Dragoons. Lee's skillful horsemanship and adept leadership made him a natural cavalry man, and with this role came the nickname "Light Horse Harry".


    "BROTHERS IN ARMS": THE AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR

    Both Marion and Lee lead numerous successful campaigns against British forces. Then Lieutenant Colonel Lee was known for the speed and precision of his lightning attacks and Brigadier General Marion for stealthy strikes on unsuspecting enemy camps.

    On 24 January 1781, Lee and Marion led their first joint operation, which focused on assaulting the British outpost Georgetown, South Carolina from different positions. Marion's group attacked from an island in the river, where they had hidden the night before. Lee's cavalry was then to invade from the land and meet ground troops in the town. Though this initial mission was ultimately unsuccessful, the two commanders forged a partnership that lead to victorious raids capturing Fort Watson, Fort Motte, Fort Granby, Fort Galphin, Fort Grierson, and Fort Cornwallis and the suppression of Loyalists which cut off British post-to-post communications. The weakening of the British positions lead to the liberation of the Carolinas and Georgia from British occupation by the end of that year.

    POST-WAR

    After the war, Marion and Lee served in government at various levels. In January of 1782 Marion was elected to the South Carolina state assembly. Marion finally retired in 1794 but due to the toll years of sacrifice, war and brutal living conditions took on him, he died soon thereafter on 17 February 1795. Lee became Virginia delegate to the Congress of the Confederation in 1782 and then followed as a member of the Virginia General Assembly from 1789 to 1791. From 1791 to 1794 he was Governor of Virginia and subsequently served as a Virginia representative in the House of Representatives. Lee's first wife, Matilda died in 1790. He married Anne Hill Carter in 1793 and they had six children, the fifth of which was Robert E. Lee, born in 1807. Henry Lee III died on 25 March 1818 on Cumberland Island, Georgia.


    RICHARD HUMPHREYS

    Richard Humphreys was a celebrated silversmith recorded as working in Philadelphia 1772-1797. He was supportive of the war effort and a number of its pivotal figures were his clients. Famously, he produced a Neoclassical hot water urn which was commissioned by the First Continental Congress in 1774 and presented to its first secretary, Charles Thomson and now in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In 1776 Humphreys created a silver-hilted eagle pommel hunting sword for William McKissack, Captain 1st Pennsylvania Continental Line, sold Christie's, New York, 20 January 2012, lot 128. He was commissioned by George Washington in 1780 for set of spoons, with feather-edge engraving, camp cups and a salver in 1783. Examples of the spoons and the salver are in the collection of Mount Vernon and an example of the cups is in the collection of Yale University.

    This snuffbox is material testament to the fondness between these "Brothers in Arms" and is a rare relic of two renowned heroes of the American Revolution.
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