Gorham Sterling Figural Puff Box, Providence, RI, made for the Columbian Exposition, 1893
This amazing covered box is exceedingly rare and a work of art. The shaped, undulating surface and decoration portray a wonderful fluidity to the appearance reminiscent of the later developed Martelé line. The removable cover uses a back-to-back cast figure of a girl's face as its knob. Clusters of flowers, swags, and very fine chasing decorate the domed cover. The bulbous body is similarly chased with flowers and has three blank reserves which have never been monogrammed. Between the reserves are figures of young boys in various poses of playfulness amongst the flowers and scrolls.
According to the records at the Gorham Archives, John Hay Library at Brown University, the sample 4691 'Puff Box' was made for the Columbian Exposition and was completed in July of 1893. It took 26 hours to assemble and 120 to hand-chase the decoration. It had a net factory cost of $120.00 - a significant sum at the time.
Original archival image of the puff box. Gorham Mfg. Co. Archives, John Hay Library, Brown University.
Exhibition: "Columbian Exposition" Chicago World's Fair, 1893
Underneath, the box is marked with Gorham's trademark and 'STERLING' along with the 1893 date mark and the sample code number '4961'. It measures 4 inches in diameter by 4 inches high, weighs 8.25 troy ounces and is in excellent antique condition, even retaining its lovely gilt interior.