Beautifully designed, this rare vase is shaped like a 2-handled cup but was originally made as a celery vase. The tall, conical base is bordered with a row of fine beading. The cup section has applied handles with partial gilding and draping gilded garlands. Between the handles on one side is a engraved 'D' initial along with the date '1875.' The bottom of the cup has a stunning applied gilt band of cherubs riding seahorses with one towing a ship. This rare band was designed and patented by George Wilkinson. (1)
The interior is beautifully covered in rich gilding. The exterior is treated with a matte finish in the top section underneath the rim and on the pedestal vase. The variation in surface textures and use of gilding create a stunning piece of silver.
One mostly sees celery vases executed in glass. Celery was regarded as a delicacy and quite fashionable at the time, often a late harvest vegetable considered a healthy addition to winter's limited diet. These rare objects in silver are mostly used for floral arrangements but still make a wonderful and fun statement and conversation piece on the dining table filled with celery.
According to the costing records at the Gorham Archives and scratch marks on the vase, this number 170 Celery Vase had a factory cost of $50.14. The retail price would have been higher - a considerable amount of money in 1874.
This lovely vase is marked with Gorham's trademark and 'STERLING/ 170/ G.' It measures just over 7.75 inches tall, weighs 12.70 troy ounces and is in excellent antique condition. Pictured below is an original photograph courtesy of the Gorham Archives at the John Hay Library, Brown University.
"G. Wilkinson, Borders for Silver and Plated Ware", Design Patent No. 7,869, Nov. 7, 1874.
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