Tiffany & Co Antique Sterling Silver Cactus Design Serving Tray, New York City, c. 1900-02, design attributed to John T. Curran
This is a rare and beautiful serving tray. The oval shape has a flat interior with a raised irregular, undulating edge which is quite dramatic.
Cactus decoration is very rare. Wonderful three dimensional clusters of cacti are cast and applied at intervals around the edge and also act as thumb pieces when carrying the tray.
The top of the tray has a shield which has never been monogrammed and is bordered with beautiful boughs of pine. At certain angles these exceptional decorations reflect on the flat surface. Also unusual, and indicative of the quality of the piece, are the acid-etched flowers on the underside of the rim in back of the shield.
John T. Curran, Tiffany's designer of masterpieces such as the Magnolia Vase and the Wild Rose Vase, favored cactus in a series of 'tropical' designs from the 1890's. Due to the undulating edge and the use of 'prickly pear' cacti, it is easy to attribute this piece to his design. (See Magnificent Tiffany Silver by John Loring, pp. 182-195.)
This stunning tray is marked 'TIFFANY & CO/ MAKERS/ STERLING SILVER/925-1000/ 14361 2681/ T'. It measures 16 inches long by 11 inches wide, weighs 40.30 troy ounces and is in excellent antique condition.
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