Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Gorham Silver & Winfield Scott Lovecraft

Winfield Scott Lovecraft lived between 1853-1898. Originally from Rochester, NY and son of English emigrants who arrived about 1831, he later became a salesman with the Gorham & Company of Providence. [1,p.44] Like you, I've read of this many times. Then I came across this antique column article. [2]

"For centuries, smooth, polished silver was the metal favored for luxurious serving pieces. That changed by the mid-1870s, when Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts metalsmiths began to make unusual and expensive pieces with a hammered surface that left marks, indicating the piece was hand-wrought.

"The Gorham Co. of Providence, R.I., made many hammered pieces as well as conventional silver pieces in older styles. Often the bowls had added 3-D raised decorations of silver, bronze or copper. Gilt was added to the interior, handles and decorations.

"By the 1880's, Gorham was producing a line of handmade copper pieces finished with a reddish-brown, natural copper color. Some silver decorations were added to the outside. By the 1890's, a handmade line made of high-grade silver called Marteli became popular. Its designs were decidedly Art Nouveau, with twisting vines, leaves and other flowing shapes.

"Collectors ignored all of these Gorham Pieces when Art Deco designs became Popular in the 1920s. It was not until the 1980's that the pieces were again noticed by serious collectors and prices began to rise.

"(This mixed-metal soap dish sold for $LO35 at auction in Fairfield, Maine.)"

1. Books at Brown: 1991-1992: Volumes XXXVIII-XXXIX, "Lovecraft's Parental Heritage," Kenneth W. Faig, Jr, pp. 43-65.
2. Unfortunately, I've lost the reference to this article, but it appeared in 2005 in the Louisville Courier-Journal.

1 comment:

Fran Friel said...

I remember seeing this piece of art before, Chris. I love it, and I covet it.

I also love this blog.



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