Show to dazzle viewers


Opening April 1, 2015 at the Lilly House, the historic mansion which is the cornerstone of the 52-acre Oldfields Estate of the Indianapolis Museum of Art, the exhibit, “Tiffany, Gorham, and the Height of American Silver, 1840-1930” will consist of more than 60 exceptional pieces of 19th-and 20th-century silver from private lenders and the IMA’s permanent collection.

     The exhibition also explores the legacy of the American silverware industry, from the initial surge following the removal of foreign wares from the market with the enactment of the Tariff of 1842, to the nation‘s achievement as the world’s largest producer of silverware by the late 19th century. Visitors will learn how the silver industry influenced American culture, from dining and etiquette rituals to social class identities.

     Highlighted in the exhibition are the advancements made by Tiffany & Co. and Gorham Manufacturing Co., manufacturers that propelled the nation onto the world stage as an international leader in silver production.

Charles L. Venable     Says IMA’s Dr. Charles L. Venable, “The quality of silver work is truly outstanding and the variety of forms amazing. The Granthams of Downton Abbey would feel right at home!” The pieces displayed in the exhibition reflect the broad array of styles popularized during the 19th-and-20th centuries, from the elaborate Gothic and Rococo revival styles to the simplified aesthetics derived from ancient Greek and Roman art to the streamlined Art Deco style that gained popularity in the 1920s. A highlight of the exhibition is a host of splendid works in the naturalistic, Japanese taste of the 1880s.

     Exhibition highlights include: Pair of candelabra (c. 1879) from Tiffany & Co. that demonstrates the manufacturer’s success with Japanese-inspired pieces; trend that gained popularity in the mid to late 19th century.

     Turtle soup tureen and tray (1890) from Gorham Manufacturing Co. provides a glimpse into a unique culinary tradition of the 19th century; soup made from large sea or snapping turtles.

Edward C. Moore (American, 1827–1891) (designer and maker) for Tiffany & Co. (American, est. 1837) (retailer), beer pitcher, about 1857, Promised Gift of Martin K. Webb and Charles L. Venable.

Edward C. Moore (American, 1827–1891) (designer and maker) for Tiffany & Co. (American, est. 1837) (retailer), beer pitcher, about 1857, Promised Gift of Martin K. Webb and Charles L. Venable.

     Designed by Charles Osborne for Tiffany & Co., Goelet Racing Cup for Schooners (1885) illustrates that silverware was used for more than just dining and entertaining. Pitchers like this one were used for serving wine and water at formal dinners, but were also given as trophies in sport competitions. This racing cup was given as a trophy in a yacht race, which is reflected in the piece’s sea imagery.

     Designed by George Wilkinson for Gorham Manufacturing Co., Hot water urn (c. 1871) is decorated with symbols inspired by the art and architecture of ancient Greece and Rome, complete with acanthus leaf handles, coin-like medallions and lion paw feet.

     In addition, visitors can also learn more about silver production with a video illustrating the process at Gorham Manufacturing Co., and a touchable silver ingot to add a hands-on element to the exhibition.

     On view on the second floor of Lilly House, the show will run through January 4, 2016. More at:


Published by on March 2015. Filed under Art-to-Art Palette NewsWire/AAPNW, At the Museums dept, Indiana, News (Time related), Northwest Passage Record/NWPR, PaletteBoards Section. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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