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Whiting Art Nouveau Antique Sterling Silver Tray, NYC, NY, 1888

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Shaped, raised sides have applied wavy leaf borders. Inside this border, applied petal-shaped decorations with gilt interiors relate to the 'shippo' pattern in Japanese design.

The flat interior is an exotic work of art with iris leaves and 3-leaf clover spreading in various directions within a circular motion. Emerging from this design and spreading into the four corners are incredible representations of irises in full bloom.

Underneath are engraved the initials 'AMA' and the date '1888.'

Great examples of American art nouveau silver are very hard to find. This tray is stunning and was designed by Charles Osborne, one of America's greatest silver designers. This piece would have been designed by him during the period in the 1880s when he was designing for both Whiting and Tiffany. It had a net factory cost of $133.47. (A fair amount when the best silver chasers were earning about $30.00 a week.)

For more information on Osborne, see both Magnificent Tiffany Silver by John Loring and Silver in America by Charles Venable.

Provenance: Private Collection.

This gorgeous antique tray is marked with Whiting's trademark and 'STERLING/ 1009.' It measures just over 12 inches square and weighs 34.85 troy ounces. Below is a poor reproduction of an archival image from a Whiting photo book from the Gorham Archives, which refers to this form as a "waiter":

Gorham Archives image courtesy of the John Hay Library, Brown University.