Gorham Coffee Pot Gorham Coffee Pot Gorham Coffee Pot Gorham Coffee Pot Gorham Coffee Pot Gorham Coffee Pot Gorham Coffee Pot Gorham Coffee Pot
A Patinated Copper, Silver, and Ivory Coffee Pot

By Gorham Manufacturing Company, 1883

The coffee pot with a copper hammered surface patinated in a rusty red colour, the base of the neck applied with a die-rolled silver border with sunflowers in relief, the body applied with silver appliques of a palm tree with owl, two other birds, a prunus blossom and two butterflies, the handle applied with ivory insulators attached with silver pins, stamped on the underside GORHAM CO with the Gorham anchor symbol for Rhode Island, the Gorham date letter P for 1883 and the production code E40

13 in (33 cm) high

cf. Judy Rudoe, Decorative Arts 1850-1950: A Catalogue of the British Museum Collection, 1994, p.165, pl.20
C.H. Jr. Carpenter, Gorham Silver 1831-1981, 1982, p.113
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Founded in the early 19th century by Jabez Gorham (1792-1869), the firm officially became the Gorham Manufacturing Company in 1863. On Gorham’s retirement in 1848, his son John (1820-98) took over the firm and became the driving force behind its development in the 1850s and 1860s. He visited England, where he recruited craftsmen and began to assemble a reference library on historical and Far Eastern ornament. Many of the company’s designers, as well as its craftsmen, were English: George Wilkinson, the company’s chief designer from 1860 to 1891, came from Birmingham in 1854; Thomas J. Pairpoint joined Gorham from the London firm of Lambert & Rawlings from 1868 to 1877, during which time he was responsible for Renaissance and classical-style designs; A.J. Barratt of Hunt & Roskell also joined Gorham in the late 1860s.

Gorham’s copper line was introduced in 1881 and was produced for only a few years, until about 1885. The production was very limited partly due to the amount of hand labour involved. The taste for coloured metals in the Japanese manner was developed to a far greater extent in America than in Europe, and became almost a hallmark of American metalwork of the Aesthetic Movement. The coloured metals were either inlaid and applied or patinated. The patinated wares, with their rich red tones, are probably inspired by Japanese lacquered wood rather than metalwares. The tall coffee pot with its graceful spout was a favourite Gorham form, based on contemporary Turkish or Persian models. This model was also made in plain copper, with the silver appliques, and in solid silver.

The Jewelers’ Circular and Horological Review from January 1882 printed a lengthy description of the new copper wares, including ‘a pot for black after-dinner coffee of silver in purest Persian shape’. The American metalwork shown at the Exposition des Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1884 included a teapot ‘en cuivre auquel on donne par un oxyde une patine rouge vernie très etrange’ (La Revue des Arts Décoratifs, 1884, p.117). The makers are not specified, but it is likely that this refers to a Gorham piece.

A similar version of this coffee pot is held in the collections of the British Museum.