Fork, Part of Three-Piece Carving Set
On View: Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
Made in the 1880s, these two carving sets allude to exotic cultures and historical periods that appealed to consumers of the time. The Gorham set shows Asian influence, while the Rogers Brothers set is influenced by the sixteenth-century European Renaissance. They were made, however, for different consumers, as reflected in the materials, the amount of handwork, and the cost.
Gorham Manufacturing created its set in a limited edition intended for the elite, using costly silver and decorating the handles with enamel inlay, a time-consuming process involving great skill. The Rogers Brothers set was manufactured in larger numbers for the middle class. It is made of less expensive silver plate (a base metal electroplated with a thin layer of silver) and molded and finished entirely by machine.
Silver with enamel inlay, steel
11 1/8 x 1 1/2 x 1 1/8 in. (28.3 x 3.8 x 2.9 cm) (show scale)
Stamped on hinged support of fork: "PAT. JUL. 13.80 / MAY.29.83."
Stamped on handle near collar: "[lion passant, anchor] G / STERLING / 65"
H. Randolph Lever Fund
Fork, silver with enamel inlay, steel; part of three-piece carving set (87.125.1-.3). Silver fork, two-pronged with hinged support on back. Silver handle inlaid on both sides with enamels of dark blue, light blue, brown, burgundy, mauve and yellow in abstract, geometric patterns in the Japanese taste; engraved decoration highlights the silver in areas between enamel. Rectangular collar with concave sides at juncture of handle and blade.
CONDITION: Normal wear; some oxidation on fork; enamel chipped at three burgundy and four brown triangles on one side, as well as in burgundy band on same side.
Gorham Manufacturing Company (1865-1961). Fork, Part of Three-Piece Carving Set, ca. 1883. Silver with enamel inlay, steel, 11 1/8 x 1 1/2 x 1 1/8 in. (28.3 x 3.8 x 2.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, H. Randolph Lever Fund, 87.125.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: , 87.125.1_87.125.2_87.125.3.jpg)
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