Martelé meat dish

MAKER:
Designer

William C. Codman ( British, 1839 - 1921 )


Manufacturer

Gorham Manufacturing Company ( American, 1831 )


Chaser

George W. Sauthof ( German, 1852 - 1927 )

DATE:
1899
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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.

This Martelé dish predates the bulk of Gorham's production in the Art Nouveau taste that was most popular between 1900 and 1909. Nevertheless, the dish features all the hallmarks of the finest wares in the Martelé line including an undulating outline, shimmering surface, and exceptionally fine chased decoration, including heads of various game birds, a frog, and flowers. Believed to have been ordered by Albert Augustus Pope (1843 - 1909), a wealthy bicycle and automobile manufacturer from Hartford, Connecticut, this dish was used for serving meat.

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.

  • Charles L. Venable, "Meat dish," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection, ed. Jay Gates (Dallas, Texas: Dallas Museum of Art, 1997), 247.

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