This basket displays a rare design in a rare form. It is very interesting for a lot of reasons. The form itself is japonesque with the high-curved fixed handle with a basket-weave style band. The ornamentation to the outside is a lovely classical designed band of repeating cattail bushes, a pair of dolphins, a cherub mermaid, and a winged cherub riding 2 sea horses.
This piece was designed by Thomas Pairpoint who, according to Charles Carpenter in Gorham Silver, created some of the 'top of the line' popular silver of the 1870's. The band is identical to one used on pieces of the famous Furber service which is now part of the Gorham collection at the Museum of Art at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence (see Gorham Silver, ill. 55, p. 56.).
The 4 classical cast and applied feet contribute nicely to the design with classical inverted acanthus decoration around the base of the band and athemion decoration where the handle meets the bowl. Examples of these same feet can be seen in other Gorham silver including a coffee service currently in the collection of the Art Institute of sterling basket Chicago (pictured in Gorham Silver, ill. 69, p. 65) and on the plateau of the 'majestic three-foot-high candelabrum' of the Furber service (pictured in Gorham Silver, ill 61, p. 60).
Measuring 6 inches wide by 6.5 inches high, this piece is parcel-gilded, measures 10.10 troy ounces and is in excellent condition (with light wear to gilt highlights). It is marked underneath with the Gorham trademark, 'STERLING', the 1874 date mark 'G' and the model number 715.