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
COLLECTION NUMBER: 844

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 repouss√© blossom motifs in the Aesthetic style, which focused on nature and the art and design of Japan.