Tiffany and Co. Antique Sterling Silver Reveling Frogs Two-handled Cup, NYC, NY, c. 1880
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This exceptional, oversized, two-handled cup is a work of art created with a whimsical imagination and extraordinary design. The barrel-form body with a large, splayed neck has a turned interior rim. Boldly shaped handles have a series of undulating mounds that facilitate handling such a heavy object (made heavier when full).
Three frogs dance along a pond's edge of chased, applied, and gilded marsh grasses. The honeycomb hammered surface creates a beautiful, sparkling background. Opposite these characters is a frog sitting down, apparently singing (or ribbiting). This frog rests in a beautiful scene of cattails. All the frogs and the chased and engraved fauna retain their original gilding.
According to the collector we purchased this from, Tiffany only made three of these cups. One appeared for sale in 2007 with surface wear and the apparent loss of all gilding. (1)
More examples of dancing frogs can be seen on a pair of vases made for Grand Duke Alexis Alexandrovitch. (2) Another singing frog, executed in mixed metals, can be seen on a circular tray in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (see here).
This extremely rare and remarkable cup is marked 'TIFFANY & Co/ 5975 MAKERS 2006/ STERLING SILVER/ 1203. It is also stamped with the French 'ET' import mark at its upper edge. It measures 7.75 inches high by 10.75 inches across the handles, weighs 42.05 troy ounces, and is in excellent antique condition with very minor wear to the gilding.
Provenance: Private Collection.
Important Americana, October 4, 2007, Sotheby's, Sale N08232, Lot 79.
John Loring, Magnificent Tiffany Silver, (New York: Abrams, 2001), p. 55.
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