Stunningly beautiful and exceedingly rare, these aesthetic movement dishes represent Gorham's leadership in American design. The individual designs and craftsmanship are an achievement in Japanese style art.
We have never seen Gorham ice cream dishes in this style before. We have seen smaller examples of these dishes which are butter pats. Here is an original picture of six various ice cream dishes:
Image courtesy of Gorham Company Archives, John Hay Library, Brown University
These plates (albeit larger) are nearly identical to butter pats from one of Gorham's supreme achievements, the Furber Service (now at the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design), these butter pats are 'the pinnacle of the form,' according to Charles Venable in Silver in America (p. 337, also see pp. 128-9), where he discusses the service. (Also see Gorham Silver by Charles Carpenter for more information on the Furber service. In the original edition, color plate 1 is devoted to the butter pats.)
Each plate is individually hand decorated with a combination of chasing and engraving. The raised sides are decorated with exotic designs with one dish featuring a bird in flight with a butterfly and the other a bee. The details are spectacular and quite striking against the gilt, matte finish of the plates. It is interesting to note how Gorham's silversmiths could use different borders with different interiors - as can be seen comparing the plates to the original archival image above.
These rare, small plates are marked with Gorham's lion-anchor-G trademark and STERLING/ 25/ I (the date mark for 1876). They measure 4.5 inches square, weigh a combined 6.35 troy ounces and are in exceptional condition. Price is for both.