William Gale & Son ( American, 1853 - 1867 )

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General Description

The form and decoration of this Rococo Revival tureen, produced by the New York firm William Gale & Son, are based on mid-eighteenth century English and French designs. The laurel wreath finial and the two foliate ring handles complement the repoussé and chased flowers, leaves, and C-scrolls that abound on the surface of the base, body, and lid.

Because of their size and complexity, tureens were expensive objects and thus popular gifts during the 19th century. In 1855, for example, the Chamber of Commerce and Merchants of New York City gave a similar William Gale & Son tureen, now in the collection of the New York Historical Society, to Commodore Matthew Calbriath Perry in appreciation of his role in the 1854 treaty between the United States and Japan.

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), 59, 329.

Web Resources

Metropolitan Museum of Art
Read more about Nineteenth-Century American Silver.