Tea and coffee set

ARTIST / MAKER: Gorham Manufacturing Company (manufacturer)
DATE: 1881 (made) Tray
1891-1894 (made)
PLACE: Rhode Island (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Silver, silver-plated tray

The Gorham Manufacturing Company was established in 1831 by Jabez Gorham in the city of Providence, Rhode Island, where he had trained as a silversmith. Although early Gorham silverwares were influenced by European styles of the past, the firm’s designers attempted to create a distinctive American style using new technologies such as steam-powered machines. For the Chicago Exposition of October 1892, which commemorated 400 years since Christopher Columbus set foot in the New World, Gorham produced a life-size sculpture of the explorer using one tonne of silver, the largest known silver sculpture at the time. From the 1880s-1900s, the firm was influenced by a wide range of styles and produced wares that demonstrated the eclectic tastes of the late 19th century. Each component in this tea and coffee set is decorated with fine repoussé blossom motifs in the Aesthetic style, which focused on nature and the art and design of Japan.