Another transatlantic departure from my normal British staple, but who can resist really great mixed metal Gorham aesthetic work. Courtesy of the UK assay rules (pre 1974) we are starved of such items in English silver. This copper bodied caddy has applied silver work in classic aesthetic style. In this case, and making this caddy rather special, you have a wonderful lizard, spider and mouse all modelled in three dimensions and applied to the body and lid. The remainder of the design is of applied silver flowers and berries, I am pretty sure the berries being raspberries.
All the work is beautifully done and in excellent condition, the only fault with this piece being that the copper has lost some of its original dark patina. The caddy is fully marked for Gorham, with model number 160 and a further number code 22. It also carries the date letter N for 1881.
This style of silver has its origins in Japan. In 1876 Christopher Dresser visited Japan and acquired many objects that he sold to Tiffany in New York. That in turn helped inspire Edward C. Moore, Tiffany’s design director, to produce silver and copper pieces in the Japanese style, displayed at the 1878 Paris Exposition to great acclaim. Gorham, as one of the leading US firms, was quick to adapt to this new trend and produced a range of Japanese style mixed metal silver from c. 1878, of which this is a prime example.
Price range: £1,750
Maker: Gorham & Co
Date : 1881
Marks: Gorham & Co, 160, N, 22, Gorham anchor.
Material: Sterling silver, copper
Condition: Excellent with loss of original patina
Size: 9.0 cm max width, 10.0cm high
Weight : 9.6 oz, 272 grams (not silver weight)