Mayer & Bros. Art Nouveau Nude Woman Mining Sterling Souvenir Spoon
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A Seattle firm founded at the end of the 19th century by Joseph Mayer with his younger brothers, Mayer & Brothers became the major silver manufacturer and related retail establishment of the Northwest.
They produced an extensive line of souvenir spoons, many with a mining theme, as is the case with this 6" long, 1.0 T. oz. example. It features a die cut image of a miner panning for gold in a stream flowing from distant mountains. A stand of evergreen trees forms a backdrop for him and his tent, which is pitched by the bank of the flowing water.
What sets this apart from other miner theme items, however, is the nude female figure that adorns the handle. She is draped in a gossamer covering, with wave-like swirls that surround her form and carry on down the length of the handle. A satin smooth finish softly mutes the whole presentation.
The early 20th century saw a flowering of such imagery, and this is as fully expressive of the essence of the Art Nouveau sensibility as those produced by any firm.
That backside of the handle returns to the mining theme, showing a crossed pick and shovel tied together with a basket hanging from them. A "fleur-de-lis in a triangle," which is one of several emblems Mayer Bros. used, and the word "Sterling" also appear on the reverse.
The piece is in mint condition, free of wear or damage.