Gorham Manufacturing Company ( American, 1831 )

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General Description

During the late 1870s and early 1880s, American designers were fascinated by Japanese art. The eastern influence was particularly strong in the area of silver work with the firms of Tiffany & Company and Gorham often producing extraordinary objects. This tray is such a piece and was one of a series of special-order trays made in 1881. Based directly on an example of pottery published in Keramic Art of Japan (London, 1875), it is an exceptionally fine example of Japanese-influenced metalwork. Although slight alterations were made, the dragon is very close to the ceramic prototype. So that the marks would not damage the exceptionally fine chasing, they were engraved on the verso, not stamped.

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),175 and 343.

  • Charles L. Venable, DMA unpublished material.

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