Saturday, May 3, 2008

Makers and styles

An example of a typical Tiffany serving piece shape and style

An experienced collector is usually able to pick out a style and identify a maker from across the room. Tiffany flatware, for example, had certain styles of bowls and tines that were adopted in most of their patterns. This made Tiffany flatware designs very distinctive, something that appealed to Tiffany collectors.

Shiebler designs in flatware and hollowware were at the forefront of design in the 1880's. The works of this maker are very sought after to this day because they are rare and unusual. The Shiebler designs certainly make an aesthete's mind come alive. One cannot look at great Shiebler and not use the imagination

Whiting had the strong influence of Tiffany's Charles Osborne who worked for both companies at different times. Wide use of nautical designs with sea creatures can be compared to Tiffany of the same period.

Elkington and Tiffany borrowed from each other. One should remember that the great Expositions of the late 19th century were a meeting place for designers from all countries. It would be tough to imagine a designer ignoring a successful design of a competitor just for the sake of being fair. Gorham and Barnard Brothers had almost the exact designs for their Japanese flatware of the 1870's.