Bud vases

1876
Gorham Manufacturing Company (active 1865–1961)


Object Place: New York, New York, United States

Dimensions

Overall: 18.3 x 6.3 cm, 0.12 kg (7 3/16 x 2 1/2 in., 0.26 lb.)

Accession Number

1991.255-256

Medium or Technique

Silver

On View

Jan and Warren Adelson Gallery (Gallery 221)

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Silver hollowware

These slender amphora-shaped vases display angular handles that extend from the lip to the shoulder. A band of swagged floral decoration has been placed above the engraving. A short stem with a reel-shaped baluster descends to a splayed circular foot.


Even during the most eclectic periods of nineteenth-
century design, simple pieces of silver with plain surfaces and quiet ornament were available to the consumer. The restrained classical-style decoration and form, combined with their petite size, suggest that this pair of bud vases was intended to ornament a private space. During the second half of the nineteenth century, vases became increasingly popular as grand public presentation pieces and personal gifts for domestic use.
Even though the company was chartered in 1863 and incorporated in 1865, Gorham continued to stamp “Gorham & Co.” on its Union Square silverware through the 1880s. Carpenter has noted that silver marked “Union Square” was probably made at the small shop Gorham operated in New York about 1875 – 1885.

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

"MELA" engraved in uppercase gothic-styled letters.

Markings

Lion rampant within an octagon; anchor within a shaped reserve; Gothic "G" within an octagon. "UNION SQUARE N.Y. / GORHAM & CO / 1465 / STERLING / I" in san-serif letter.

Provenance

Purchased by the Museum in 1979 from Eugene J. Carter (Baltimore, Maryland); formally accessioned in 1991.

Credit Line

American Decorative Arts Curator's Fund