This is one of the finest examples of Dominick & Haff japonesque silver we have ever seen. The condition of the surface along with the design and execution are extraordinary.
A raised oval body, domed foot and detachable cover have an irregular honeycomb hammered surface with a matte finish creating a lustrous sparkle.
Unusual organic handles with fine hammering terminate at the bowl in spreading root-like tendrils. A circular ring handle on the cover compliments this style.
The decoration to the body is an amazing work of art. Using special chasing tools, the silversmith is able to mold and fold the silver to create incredible three dimensional scenes against the hammered background. Detailed chasing provides stunning details.
Exotic elements incorporated into the body include various foliage and flowers flowing upwards from the base. A large beetle and a spider waiting in its web are also displayed. The domed cover is decorated with a beetle, a bee, a dragonfly and the scene of a full moon emerging amongst clouds.
Another fascinating element is the use of parcel gilding. Gold is selectively used on certain blades of grass, parts of leaves where they have been folded over, flower petals, insect wings and the moon.
This creativity adds immensely to the beauty. The degree of difficulty on so many levels, whether it be the the chasing, the gilding or the design motifs is exceptional. Although there is some wear to the gilding, this is the best preserved surface we have ever seen on this style of silver.
This rare covered tureen is marked underneath with Dominick & Haff's trademark with an 1881 date, 'STERLING/ 82' and by the venerable Boston retailer 'SHREVE, CRUMP & LOW'. It measures 12 inches across the handles by 7.5 inches deep by 8 inches high, weighs 55.45 troy ounces and is in excellent condition.