Gorham "Empress" Sterling Silver Gold Bowl Gravy Ladle
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Issued in 1880, Gorham's "Empress" incorporates a number of design elements.
The lower portions of the handle where it joins the bowl suggest an Egyptian Revival influence, while other areas point toward Renaissance Revival inspiration. Lastly, the dense floral clusters employ similar imagery to Gorham's "Cluny" pattern that was designed by Antoine Heller who was highly regarded for his Classical motifs.
This particular piece stands apart for two reasons. One is the quite spectacular period "R" monogram engraved on the handle. Sometimes a tripwire for contemporary buyers, this illustrates how fully monograms and inscriptions can actually be a part of the aesthetic appeal of a piece.
Secondly, the style of the bowl is singular among Gorham's offerings, and is dramatically impressive. It has a broad, slightly rolled, pointed tip, margin, and an embossed shell design in the base. Both front and back sides are finished in a deep, satin matte, gold wash.
It is in mint estate condition. Completely free of any polished wear, it also has a bright, warm surface. The bowl is flawless, absent any dents, dings, nicks, or loss of the gold surface.
The marks are cleverly incorporated in the details of the pattern on the backside of the handle. They are the Gorham "lion, anchor, G" emblem, "Sterling," and "Pat 1880."