Martelé cruet stand

MAKER:
Designer

William C. Codman ( British, 1839 - 1921 )


Chaser

George W. Sauthof ( German, 1852 - 1927 )


Manufacturer

Gorham Manufacturing Company ( American, 1831 )

DATE:
1901
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General Description

At the 1900 Paris World’s Fair, Gorham Manufacturing Company introduced a limited production line of handwrought wares named Martelé, the French word for "hammered." In the spirit of the British Arts and Crafts movement, each Martelé design was raised, chased, and finished by hand, processes evident in conspicuous hammer marks. While Gorham utilized methods of production based on 19th-century precepts, it rejected styles of the past in favor of a fashion that evoked the new century: Art Nouveau. Chief Designer William C. Codman and other designers applied Art Nouveau details, such as exuberant handles and everted feet and lips with undulating edges, and decorations, such as organic ornament, to traditional forms at once progressive, yet palatable to conservative American consumers.

Of approximately 4,800 Martelé designs produced by Gorham, this is the only cruet stand. Created from 58 ounces of silver, it required fifty-two hours of assembly, which involved raising and turning, and sixty-six hours of chasing, completed by G. Southof. It was originally part of a set, which included silver salt and pepper shakers and a pair of cut glass oil and vinegar bottles, with a total production cost of $280 and a retail price of $560.

Adapted from

  • Charles L. Venable, Silver in America, 1840-1940: A Century of Splendor (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Museum of Art; New York, New York; Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1994), 251-258.

  • DMA unpublished material.

  • Samuel J. Hough, DMA unpublished material

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