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Gorham "California" Sterling Silver Sauce or Cream Ladle

Gorham "California" Sterling Silver Sauce or Cream Ladle
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Gorham's "California" is a design that is surrounded by mystery. It is an identified pattern, but examples are very rarely found and what exists suggests it was limited to serving pieces.

Its style as well sets it apart as it is unlike anything else Gorham produced, or any other manufacturer for that matter, with the exception of Towle's "Spider" which has a very similar form.

It is in the Aesthetic mode and likely dates c. 1880. The rounded, swooping handle has a scalloped upper edge that ends in a twist, all of which suggests waves, with the tip a breaking wave. This wave motif is repeated in the engraving on the handle itself. Presumably this imagery is meant to invoke a sense of the Pacific Ocean, and by association the pattern namesake, California.

The rest of the engraving is bright cut and incorporates a variety of Aesthetic style detailing set against a matte ground.

The flanged rim bowl continues the overall theme, with a second curlicue suggestive of a breaking wave set at the join with the handle, a slightly ribbed interior, and delicate floral theme engraving set on a matte ground.

This example is a 6 1/4" long, and characteristic of the line, light at .7 T. oz., cream or sauce ladle. Ladles and spoons in this pattern are difficult to distinguish from one another, but the angle on the handle definitely suggests this is the former.

It is in mint condition and without a monogram or removal. It appears to be unused. The engraving remains sharp and crisp. The bowl is without any dents, nicks, or even scratches, as is true for the bright finish, plain, backside.

Marks are the Gorham "lion, anchor, G" emblem and the word "Sterling."

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