Gorham 1900 Paris Exposition Martelé Silver Centerpiece, Providence, RI, 1899
An exceptional example of Gorham's famous Martelé line, this large, oval centerpiece was made in 1899 and exhibited at the Paris Exposition of 1900.
The bulbous body is formed and executed from a single sheet of silver and is decorated with chased flora emanating from the four feet. The undulating rim is a fantastic display of art nouveau flora, with six flowers sprouting cherub faces in their centers.
According to Gorham's costing records, this bowl took 45 hours to form. (1) The floral decoration took 143 hours and was chased by Joseph Steed Aspin (who later changed his last name to Washington). (2) A note on the costing slip says 'Paris,' indicating Gorham president Edward Holbrook chose it to go to the Paris Exposition, and it had a factory cost of $300.00. (3) The fact that Gorham used Aspin as one of four chasers to work on the famous Martelé dressing table (see here), also exhibited at the 1900 Paris Exposition, indicates his very high skill level. (4) For a pair of matching compotes that sold in 2008 for $31,000.00, also chased by Aspin and exhibited at the fair, see here.
Literature: Larry Pristo, Gorham's Art Nouveau Art Silver
Exhibition: 1900 Paris International Exposition
This wonderful bowl is marked underneath with Gorham's mark and Martelé eagle trademark, "950-1000 FINE" (the silver standard which is higher than sterling), the Sample code "1484," and with the symbol for the 1900 Paris Exposition. It measures 17.5 inches long by 12.5 inches wide by 4.5 inches tall and weighs 65.75 troy ounces. Other than a later engraved monogram and date 'CLG/ 1910' underneath the bowl, it is in excellent, crisp condition.
Gorham Archives image courtesy of the John Hay Library, Brown University.
Larry J. Pristo, Martelé: Gorham's Art Nouveau Silver, (Phoenix: Phoenix Publishing Group, 2002), p. 141.
Pristo, p. 141.
Gorham Mfg. Co., Martelé Samples V. 2 Silver Ware 1875-84, Gorham Archives, John Hay Library, Brown University.
Dallas Museum of Art, https://collections.dma.org/artwork/5323310, last accessed 11/22/2022.
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