I76

Gorham Sterling Silver Japanesque 'Special Order' Centerpiece Bowl, Providence, RI, 1879


This extremely rare bowl exhibits some of the finest aesthetic movement engraving we have seen. The bowl rests on a plain, spreading pedestal foot and is ornamented around the rim by a band of repeating shells with classical designs and a gilded interior.

Around the bowl are eight Japanese inspired engraved scenes. Above a sandy bottom are engravings of various fish including koi swimming between scenes of sea grasses and other aquatic flowers and foliage. One scene even has a turtle. This is the earliest 'special order' piece from Gorham that we have had.

According to a report from Samuel Hough from the Gorham archive records, the 'A88 Berry Bowl was a special order piece'. There were only 3 bowls made, this bowl being entered in Gorham's records on December 16, 1879. It took 9.5 hours to spin and fashion the bowl and it took 20 hours to do the engraving. That's a lot of time to engrave a bowl but the quality attests to the attention it received.

This wonderful aesthetic movement bowl is marked with Gorham's trademark, 'STERLING', the 1879 date mark 'L' and the 'special order' number 'A88'. It measures 7.25 inches high by 8.5 round, weighs 22.75 troy ounces and is in outstanding condition.
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