Gorham Athenic Antique Sterling Silver Ice Cream Set, Providence, RI, 1901

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This is a wonderful dessert set executed in Gorham's famous 'Athenic' line. Similar to Martelé, Athenic pieces include significant hand chased decoration in an expressive art nouveau style. Unlike Martelé, the bodies of the pieces sometimes include machine work in their forming.

There are six individual plates with the larger serving platter. This was when ice cream was served in a brick and people would use their ice cream slice to serve their portions onto their plates. The plates have a plain interior engraved with a lovely 'RMSW' monogram. The wide border is of exquisite design and quite striking. Travelling around the edge are incised lines representing strawberry vines. Hanging from the vine are two different scenes repeated four times. One is of a raised, bold strawberry leaf surrounded with incised tendrils and offshoots terminating with various size strawberries. The other scene is of a raised, small flower surrounded with leaves with offshoots of strawberries. The detailing on all the leaves and berries is stunning.

The serving tray has a shaped and undulating edge and incorporates the strawberry and leaf designs. The interior of the tray is engraved around the matching monogram with strawberry vines terminating with scenes of flowers which mimic the ones on the plates.

Provenance: Ralph Montague Stuart Wortley was the 4th son of the 2nd Earl of Wharncliffe. In 1891, he married Virginia Marie Schley, daughter of naval hero Rear Admiral Winfield Scott Schley and these have descended in the family.

This wonderful serving set is marked on the back with Gorham's trademark and 'STERLING/ ATHENIC'. The tray is marked with the 1901 date mark and the code 'A2827' and the plates are marked 'A2828'. The tray measures 17 inches long by 11 inches deep and the plates are 6 inches in diameter. The set weighs a total 60.30 troy ounces. The plates are in excellent condition and the interior of the tray has considerable wear to the monogram and light scratches.

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