Gebelein Arts & Crafts Sterling Silver Exhibition Decorated Plate, Wellesley and Boston, MA, 1908

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It is quite rare to find decorated silver from the shop of George C. Gebelein, as most of his work relied on form and surface instead of ornament. Here, we have a lovely plate with a raised, wide border and upward-rolled, wavy edge. The border is repousséd and chased with a grapevine spreading around the border, complete with leaves and bunches of grapes.

An early and important example of his work, Gebelein created this piece when he was leaving the Handicraft Shop and opening his own shop on Chestnut St. in Boston's Beacon Hill section. Clearly proud of this work of art, Gebelein exhibited this at the Third Annual Exhibition of the National Society of Craftsmen at the National Arts Club, New York City, in December of 1908, where it gleaned favorable mention ("finely wrought") in The International Studio. (1) These were some of the earliest exhibitions in which Gebelein participated. (2)

George Christian Gebelein was a seminal figure in the Boston arts & crafts movement, being one of only eight silversmiths to win the prestigious 'Medalist' award from the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts, their highest honor for craftsmanship.

Having immigrated from Germany as a teenager, Gebelein apprenticed for Goodnow & Jenks in Boston. He was then employed in New York City by George W. Shiebler. Starting at 19, Gebelein worked at Tiffany & Co. for a little over two years and then, in 1900, moved to the firm of William B. Durgin in Concord, New Hampshire.

In 1903, he joined other artisans at the Boston Society of Arts and Crafts associated 'Handicraft Shop' in Wellesley Hills, MA. (3) Ultimately, in 1909, Gebelein opened his own shop at 79 Chestnut Street in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, where he continued to work for the rest of his life. (4)

Argentum/ The Leopard's Head (Mike Weller), 2007.
Private Collection.

Third Annual Exposition of the National Society of Craftsmen, December 1908.

"Third Annual Exhibition of The National Society of Craftsmen" in The International Studio, February 1909.

This unique plate is marked 'GEBELEIN/ STERLING' and with the Handicraft Shop trademark. It measures 10.5 inches in diameter, weighs 13 troy ounces, and is in good antique condition with some wear to the decoration and a couple of slight bends around the edge.


  1.  J William Fosdick, "Third Annual Exhibition of The National Society of Craftsman," in The International Studio, February 1909, pp. CXXXI-CXXXIV.
  2. Margaretha Gebelein Leighton, George Christian Gebelein, Boston Silversmith, 1878-1945, (Lunenburg, VT: The Stinehour Press, 1976), p. 69.
  3. Leighton, pp. 12-33.
  4. Leighton, pp. 54-56.