Japanesque Mixed Metal Fruit Service in Original Case
Gorham Mfg. Co., Providence, Rhode Island c.1883
An extraordinary flatware service, this set of fruit knives and forks incorporates handles whose “Japanese prototypes” – according to silver authority Charles Carpenter – “were small Kogatoma knives with removable push-on handles called ‘Kodzuka.’” Each individual handle of this large service is distinctive, decorated with birds, coy fish, fireflies and flowers, as well as Asian figures in a landscape with trees and a bridge, all executed in bronze and silver with varying patinas of gold, silver and copper highlights. The knife blades themselves each individually and skillfully bright-cut with bamboo and other foliate forms, along with birds and fireflies engraved on both faces of the blades, two of which have the year “1883” inscribed upon them.
One of the most unusual flatware creations of the great American silversmithing firm Gorham, this service retains its original factory case with embossed burgundy velvet exterior, a yellow fitted interior and white embroidered silk lining with the embossed logo “Gorham Sterling Silver, Union Square” still visible on its upper left corner.