Knife Sharpener, Part of Three-Piece Carving Set
On View: American Identities: A New Look, Expanding Horizons, 5th Floor
Made in the 1880s, these two carving sets allude to exotic cultures and historical periods that appealed to consumers of the time. The Gorham set shows Asian influence, while the Rogers Brothers set is influenced by the sixteenth-century European Renaissance. They were made, however, for different consumers, as reflected in the materials, the amount of handwork, and the cost.
Gorham Manufacturing created its set in a limited edition intended for the elite, using costly silver and decorating the handles with enamel inlay, a time-consuming process involving great skill. The Rogers Brothers set was manufactured in larger numbers for the middle class. It is made of less expensive silver plate (a base metal electroplated with a thin layer of silver) and molded and finished entirely by machine.
Silver with enamel inlay, steel
13 3/4 x 1 1/2 x 1 1/8 in. (34.9 x 3.8 x 2.9 cm) (show scale)
Stamped on handle near juncture with shaft: "[lion passant, anchor] G / STERLING / 65"
H. Randolph Lever Fund
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Gorham Manufacturing Company (founded 1865). Knife Sharpener, Part of Three-Piece Carving Set, ca. 1883. Silver with enamel inlay, steel, 13 3/4 x 1 1/2 x 1 1/8 in. (34.9 x 3.8 x 2.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, H. Randolph Lever Fund, 87.125.3. Creative Commons-BY
overall, 87.125.1_87.125.2_87.125.3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2004
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Knife sharpener, silver with enamel inlay, steel; part of three-piece carving set (87.125.1-.3). Steel shaft, hexagonal with concave sides, tapers to point at end. Silver handle inlaid on both sides with enamels of dark blue, light blue, brown, burgundy, mauve and yellow in abstract, geometric patterns in the Japanese taste; engraved decoration highlights the silver in areas between enamel. Rectangular collar with concave sides at juncture of handle and shaft.
CONDITION: Normal wear; enamel chipped at one burgundy, one dark blue triangle on one side.
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