Gorham (attr.) Antique Sterling Silver Figural Centerpiece/ Fruit Stand retailed by Ball, Black & Company , Providence, RI, c. 1870
This is a wonderful centerpiece bowl or fruit stand with exceptional design. The circular bowl has an inverted lip of wonderful banding of repeating florets and dots with a vertical line background. The handles are beautifully cast winged cherubs.
The handles consist of four parts. There is a platform attached to the bowl. A cherub kneels within a separate disc which is held in place with a large inverted ball screw. Detailing on the casting is very fine. The kneeling cherub gazes into the bowl with hand stretched as if blocking sun. In the right hand, the figure holds a torch.
The bowl has an unadorned shiny surface which reflects its surroundings beautifully. A wonderfully engraved 'HW' monogram is on one side.
The base is a circular stepped dome with an edge matching the top rim of the bowl.
The stem of the bowl is an exceptional cast figure of a draped woman. Barefoot and standing on a stippled dome, her arms are raised as if to hold the weight of the bowl and its contents as she gazes to her left. Once again, the quality and details of the casting are spectacular.
The layered drape clothing is beautifully executed. The contrast between the plain, reflective surfaces and the decorative castings create this wonderful sculptural centerpiece.
This rare bowl is marked underneath 'BALL, BLACK & CO'/ NEW-YORK/ ENGLISH STERLING'. It measures 12.75 inches across the handles by 12.25 inches high, weighs 42.30 troy ounces and is in excellent antique condition.