Tea set

ARTIST / MAKER: Dominick & Haff (manufacturer)
DATE: 1880 (made)
PLACE: New York City (made)
MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES: Silver with chased, engraved and spot-hammered decoration and ivorine insulators

The influence of the Anglo-Japanesque style can be seen in this tea service, with spot-hammering and surface decoration which combines bands of repoussé bamboo foliage with stylised chrysanthemum blossoms. Similar to styles produced by Tiffany & Co., Dominick and Haff acquired the patterns, tools, and workforce from Adams and Shaw in c.1880, a company that had been absorbed by Tiffany & Co. It is thought that the flattened, rectangular shape of the vessels is based on Japanese prototypes.

Henry Blanchard Dominick was a descendant of French Huguenots who came to America in 1740, joining the firm of Gale and North in 1868. Leroy B. Haff entered the silversmith business in 1867 working in the retail department before becoming a partner in 1870, forming Dominick and Haff in 1872. Initially the firm produced small, high quality silver articles, and built a reputation for their high standards of craftsmanship and original designs. Originally based in their premises on Bond Street in New York, they moved to 860 Broadway in 1893, and retailed with other silver stores such as Bailey, Banks and Biddle, and Tiffany, extending their influence across the American silver market.

This set includes the engraving Annie Willis Ward / from her husband / April 20th 1881 on the underside of the teapot, while the creamer and sugar bowl have the stylised personal monogram AWW, as well as the retailer’s mark for Theodore B. Starr.