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Salt Shaker

Decorative Arts

On View: Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
The vegetable-shaped salt and pepper shakers and the curvilinear flask are splendid examples of the Aesthetic Movement style, which appeared strikingly new and modern to consumers at the time. The form of the shakers was inspired by realistic Japanese metal objects with which Americans were just becoming familiar, and their maker used a newly invented process to patinate the silver to resemble weathered copper. The irregular, ergonomic contour and dense Southwestern landscape of the flask would have also seemed quite daring to the original purchaser. In contrast, the all-over, hard-edged design of the later flask evokes the emerging, dynamic skyscraper skyline of big cities, and the unadorned, pyramidal forms of the later salt and pepper shakers have a timeless quality. While all of these objects were progressive when made, only the later ones still speak the language of modern design.
MEDIUM Copper, silver
DATES ca. 1880
DIMENSIONS 2 x 1 3/4 x 1 3/4 in. (5.1 x 4.4 x 4.4 cm)
MARKINGS Impressed around bottom: "[anchor in shield] / GORHAM & CO / 184[?]N"
COLLECTIONS Decorative Arts
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
EXHIBITIONS
ACCESSION NUMBER 1998.3.1
CREDIT LINE H. Randolph Lever Fund
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Copper and silver salt shaker with copper stopper. Patinated copper alloy body realistically modeled as a pepper, vertically oriented with small holes at top. Concave copper stopper at bottom and two applied silver leaves and stems. Condition: Wear and discoloration to patination. Dent on one lobe of pepper near base, opposite leaves. Copper stopper somewhat mangled at edges.
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