ca. 1850 F. H. Clark & Company American (Memphis, Tennessee) Coin-silver Gift of the Decorative Arts Trust No description available.
KETTLE AND STAND
1738 Edward Feline, English, active 1723-1750 English Silver with raffia handle Gift of the Decorative Arts Trust in honor of the opening of the new wing and in grateful appreciation of its founding members. No description available.
ca. 1390 Spanish (Barcelona) Silver and enamel over an oak core Memphis Brooks Museum of Art Purchase; funds provided by the Morrie A. Moss Endowment, the Decorative Arts Trust and Mrs. Lula C. Coffey
A processional cross, which played a powerful role in the community, is evidence of the deep religiosity of medieval life. Housed in a cathedral or church and used in its services, the cross was also employed on important religious and civic occasions. It might have been used in public processions during important feasts such as that of Corpus Christi,m or been carried through the city to counter the dreaded effects of plague or natural catastrophes.
Made of sheets of gilded silver on an oak core, the design and decoration of this cross are characteristic of the late Gothic style. The arms, embossed with trailing flower vines, terminate in elegant fleurs-de-lis. Colorful, translucent quatrefoil enamel plaques that picture the Virgin, Saint John,m and the symbols of the evangelists are mounted on both sides. On the front, an expressive silver gilt figure of the crucified Christ is applied over a red enameled cross. A square plaque of Christ enthroned as judge of the world between two angels appears on the reverse. The surviving enamel and gilding convey a sense of the richness of this sacred object.
This processional cross bears the marks of the silversmiths' guild of Barcelona. Comparison with a nearly identical cross in the Cathedral of Barcelona, stamped and dated 1391, allows the Brooks cross to be dated to the last quarter of the 14th century.
PAIR OF EWERS
1891-1902 Tiffany & Company American (New York) Silver Gift of the Decorative Arts Trust
American silver design and craftsmanship reached its zenith at the end of the 19th century in the workshops of Tiffany & Co. Originally established as a fancy goods retailer in New York City in 1835, the firm began to manufacture silver in 1851, and eventually became the largest producer of silver in America, selling pieces both here and abroad.
These imposing ewers were made between 1891 and 1902, in what the Tiffany plant journal called a Roman design, which was introduced about 1882. Their form and decoration are based on a 16th-century northern European mannerist interpretation of classical antiquity. The decoration is a bacchanalian scene associated with wine. Panels chased in high relief around the body of the ewers show putti engaging in various types of revelry playing instruments, dancing, and drinking from a goblet. A separately cast reclining putto holding a bunch of grapes to his lips is fixed at the apex of each handle, and trailing grapevines are applied to the base and body of the pieces.
While used for serving wine in a ceremonial manner at a grand function, ewers of this monumental size (nearly twenty-two inches in height with a capacity of nine pints) and elaborate decoration were displayed on a sideboard or used to pour at table. The provided dramatic visual evidence of the wealth, social standing, and aesthetic sophistication of the owner. Their status as a luxury item is borne out by a Tiffany plant ledger entry of 1895, which indicates that a single "pitcher Roman large" weighing 96.5 troy ounces of sterling silver cost $400 to produce. (Silver Manufacturing Ledger entry 7082 of September 5, 1895, Tiffany & Co. Archives, Parsippany, New Jersey)
CUP AND COVER
1765 Daniel Smith and Robert Sharp English (London) Silver Gift of Decorative Arts Trust and Memphis Brooks Museum of Art Purchase; funds provided by the Morrie A. Moss Acquisition Fund
The two-handled cup and cover was one of the most characteristic 18th-century forms of 18th-century English silver, and was intended for ceremonial use at table, display as a symbol of social status, or presentation as a prize.
Daniel Smith and Robert Sharp worked in partnership for over twenty years beginning in 1760, were England's leading makers of presentation cups in the second half of the 18th-century. This cup and cover, probably made for display on a sideboard in a a well-to-do household, is of unusually large size. Its dramatic curvilinear cast handles, elaborate floral decoration, and imposing finial make it a fine example of late Rococo silver design.
TEA CANISTER AND SUGAR CANISTER IN BOX
1753 Thomas Heming (active ca. 1745-ca. 1782) English (London) Silver Gift of the Decorative Arts Trust
This set of silver tea and sugar canisters (or caddies as they are usually known) was made in 1753 in London by Thomas Heming, Principal Goldsmith to George III from 1760 until 1782, in the Rococo chinoiserie style that was the height of fashion. On front and back, a romanticized Chinese tea picker, harvesting the tea and placing it in a wickerwork basket, is framed in an elaborate Rococo cartouche composed of asymmetrical scrolls, shells, and lion masks. On each side, a stylized Asian thatched house stands beneath a palm tree. The chinoiserie motifs suggest the exotic Chinese origin of the tea served in England, and the Rococo elements convey a snse of elegant fantasy characteristic of mid-18th-century aristocratic society.
Because tea was an expensive imported commodity subject to a high government duty, it was often stored under lock and key. These silver canisters are housed in the original fitted box covered with shagreen--a rough, untanned leather from the hide of a shark, seal, or horse--and mounted with silver Rococo escutcheons and handle. The box is supported on silver ball-and-claw feet similar to those on furniture in the influential Chippendale style of the 1750s and 1760s.
COFFEE AND TEA SERVICE
ca. 1852-1861 Eoff & Shepard American (New York, New York) Coin silver Gift of the Decorative Arts Trust
By the early 19th century, silver had replaced porcelain for the serving of tea as well as coffee in fashionable homes. This five piece silver tea and coffee service was made by the firm of Eoff and Shpherd in New York City between 1852 and 1861 for Ball, Black and Co., one of the city's most important retailers of silver and jewelry. The elaborately cast and chased chinoiserie decoration evokes the oriental origin of tea drinking in Europe and America, and is tpical of the rococo-revival style fashionable in America during the mid-nineteenth century. It is reminiscent of the decoration of the English silver tea and sugar canisters made by Thomas Heming at the height of the rococo movement a hundred years before that is also in the Brooks collection.
1891 Gorham Manufacturing Company American (Providence, Rhode Island) Silver, ivory Gift of the Decorative Arts Trust 2008
Made by the Gorham Manufacturing Company of Providence, Rhode Island in 1891, at the time when American silver design and craftsmanship reached their apex, this silver coffee pot is a fine example of the 'Turksih' style, typical of the interest in and influence of 'exotic' middle and far eastern cultures associated with the Aesthetic Movement of the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The form of this coffee pot and its elaborate repoussee and applied decoration of flowers, leaves, beading, and spiral fluting convey an aura of fantasy reminiscent of the Arabian Nights.