Tiffany and Co Antique Sterling Silver and Other Metals Butterfly Salver, NYC, NY, c. 1880
An exceptional example of Japanese-style silver produced by Tiffany & Co. circa 1880, this round salver with raised edge exhibits a beautiful overall hammered surface and rests on three feet.
Inset into the surface are three magnificent butterflies of varying species: two Nymphalidae (one of which features eyespots) and a swallowtail. (1) A Tiffany & Co. design drawing calls this a 'Round Waiter' and notes the inlaid metals are Green Gold, Yellow Metal & Fine Gold, Jap.[anese] Gold, Copper & Red Metal and Platinum. (2) Not only a technical tour-de-force, but this wonderful combination also creates a complex and subtly-hued masterpiece.
In Magnificent Tiffany Silver, former Tiffany design director John Loring speculates this butterfly design is a homage to artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler. (3)
This rare salver is marked 'TIFFANY & Co/ 5767 M 1482/ STERLING-SILVER/ -AND-/ OTHER-METALS/ .955/ PATENT APPLIED FOR.' It measures 11 inches in diameter, weighs 25.65 troy ounces, and is in excellent antique condition.
Provenance: Important American Furniture, Silver, Folk Art and Historical Prints, Christie's, January 26, 1991, lot 23A. Private Collection.
Literature: A nearly identical example, owned by the Tiffany Archives, is illustrated and discussed in Magnificent Tiffany Silver byJohn Loring p.56. That tray is also discussed and illustrated in Collecting Inspiration: Edward C. Moore at Tiffany & Co., edited by Medill H. Harvey.
John Loring, Magnificent Tiffany Silver, (New York: Harry M. Abrams, 2001), p. 56.
Fine American Furniture, Folk Art, Folk Paintings and Silver, Sotheby's, New York, June 27 and 28, 1990, p. 91.
Loring, p. 56
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