"Medallion" ladle

1864
Gorham & Company (active 1852–1865), John Gorham (American, 1820–1898), Designer George Wilkinson (American, 1819–1894)


Object Place: Providence, Rhode Island, United States

Dimensions

31.7 x 7.5 x 10.5 cm (12 1/2 x 2 15/16 x 4 1/8 in.)

Accession Number

1987.515

Medium or Technique

Sterling silver, gold wash

Not On View

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Silver flatware

This large punch ladle has a gold-washed, elongated, egg-shaped bowl. The stem terminates in a circular portrait profile of a youth crowned with laurel leaves.


This punch ladle in the die-stamped Medallion pattern, with portrait profile, is characteristic of the period in which John Gorham’s innovations in manufacturing gave him the lead in America as a maker of solid silver flatware. In 1852, twelve years before this ladle was made, Gorham engaged James Nasmyth (1808 – 1890), the English inventor of the steam hammer, to create a steam-powered drop press. Installed in Gorham’s Providence factory in 1853 or 1854, the superior machine enabled the firm to dominate the American market.
Gorham’s Medallion pattern was designed in 1864 by English-trained silversmith George Wilkinson (1819 – 1894), a pivotal member of the firm for nearly four decades. Medallion flatware became widely popular in America and was emulated by many leading manufacturers.

This text has been adapted from “Silver of the Americas, 1600-2000,” edited by Jeannine Falino and Gerald W.R. Ward, published in 2008 by the MFA. Complete references can be found in that publication.

Inscription

"CR" entwined in Gothic-style letters on the back of the stem.

Markings

Marked incuse "[Lion passant] [anchor] [G] / PAT.1864 / STERLING"

Provenance

Early history unknown. Museum purchase from E. J. Canton, Lutherville, Maryland.

Credit Line

American Decorative Arts Curator's Fund