Dominick & Haff Sterling & Other Metals Tête-à-tête Tea Service with Tray, c. 1880
Exceptionally designed and executed, this service is a mixed-metal tour de force from the aesthetic movement. Square tops transform around the centers into bulbous, round bodies on ring feet.
The flawless execution of these shapes alone required a talented master silversmith. Dramatic ring handles compliment the lovely spouts, which resemble elephant trunks.
The honeycomb-patterned, hand chased spot-hammered surface sparkles to create a beautiful background for the applied mixed metal ornaments. The beautifully gilded interior of the creamer is original and in glowing condition.
Various exotic plants and animals executed in either brass or copper decorate the pieces. They are all hand-finished for detail. For example, the cover to the sugar bowl seen below has an applied copper phoenix and butterfly and a brass branch and salamander.
The square tray which rests on four ball and claw feet has a hand-chased interior of foliage. Not only is it stunning workmanship (and testimony to the labor required and the importance of this service), this decoration is practical for preserving the surface when used.
The raised edge is spot-hammered and is also decorated with mixed-metal applied plants and animals including a frog, turtle, salamander and butterfly.
This lovely sterling silver service consists of the tea pot, creamer, covered sugar bowl, sugar tongs and footed tray. All pieces (except the tongs) are engraved underneath 'LGS' in a wonderful foliate script. They are marked with Dominick & Haff's trademark with the 1880 date and 'STERLING'. The tray measures 12 inches square. The combined weight of the service is 61.75 troy ounces and it is in excellent antique condition.