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Gorham Antique Sterling Silver Trompe l'oeil Tray, Providence, RI, 1881

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This stunning dish or tray is designed as a folded napkin on a basket-weave plate. It is an amazing work of art executed in sterling. The damask pattern napkin with its uneven surface appears to be resting naturally on the plate with the edges draping over the sides. Hand-chased designs in the napkin are remarkable. Four applied balls underneath raise the plate from the table.

In 1879 Gotham hired the important Boston silver designer Louis E. Jenks of Kennard & Jenks who specialized in this Russian inspired trompe l'oeil style silver (along with other wonderful aesthetic movement styles). In 1880, Gorham bought out the firm.  

The reverse is engraved:

To Virginia
First Anniversary
May 27, 1881

This rare dish is marked 'Gorham & CO/ 'STERLING/ ZD14'. The underside of the edge of the dish is also stamped 'STERLING/ 394'. It measures 10.25 inches wide, weighs 13 15 troy ounces and is in excellent antique condition.