Commanding as much attention now as when they debuted at the 1904 World’s Fair, this writing table and chair were conceived as showstoppers in a crowd of stunning objects made by Gorham’s competitors. More than 10,000 hours of labor, 47.5 pounds of silver, and a panoply of exotic materials make up this unique set, which deftly melds sinuous European Art Nouveau floral and figural motifs, 18th-century French Rococo forms, and traditional Hispano-Moresque designs. Intricately wrought symbolism—seen in the daytime poppies and the night owl below the mirror and the decoration of the legs, each representing one of the four seasons, with female masks surrounded by lilies, roses, chrysanthemums, and pine cones—attest to the complexity of Gorham’s design, which brought them the grand prize in silversmithing. 1903
Providence, Rhode Island
Rhode Island School of Design Museum; table; chair; silver; sliversmithing; floral motifs; French Rococo, Hispano-Moresque
Industrial and Product Design
RISD Museum; Blanc, Ben; and Williams, Elizabeth, "Lady’s Writing Table and Chair" (2014). Channel. 23.