Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Christopher Dresser and Tiffany

Christopher Dresser had a huge influence on design in Britain and America and until recently I was not aware of his collaboration with Edward Moore of Tiffany.

This rare and important Tiffany tea caddy has Japanese influenced applications including the decorated ivory plaque on the front with two copper jesters. The ivory plaques are rumored to be part of a large purchase made in Japan by Christopher Dresser on behalf of Edward Moore for Tiffany.

The futuristic sputnik finial looks as if it was inspired by the novelty toast racks that James Dixon of Sheffield made from Christopher Dresser designs.

If you would like to see this tea caddy and other important Tiffany pieces please click on the link below

Monday, February 16, 2009

What the words inscribed on Shiebler pieces mean.......

Shiebler letter opener with "shalom" engraved in Hebrew
Shiebler Pin with the word "Roma" Engraved

George Shiebler's engravers used Roman and Greek related words on their Etruscan pattern flatware, hollowware and jewelry and many people are curious as to the purpose and meaning of the words.

After acquiring quite a few pieces and checking around I think I can safely say that the words are meant to look as if they were dug up with the old Roman and Greek pots and pans in an excavation.
The letters of the alphabet appear Greek or Roman in style but the words are meaningless.
I found a letter opener and paper knife with the Hebrew word Shalom inscribed. That was a first for me.
The medallions in the Shiebler Etruscan pattern have many varieties but the Roman centurion is quite clearly just that. The Greek medallions look like the ancient Greek busts.

Conclusion: After looking up the meaning of the word Etruscan, I learned that the Etruscan period refers to a culture that developed in Italy in about 800BC. This was followed by a period of Greek influence in Southern Italy dominated by Greek traders.