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The Gorham Manufacturing Company was one of the leading producers of Egyptian Revival silver, a more exotic variant of the Classical Revival style that dominated American design in the 1850s and 1860s. This ladle from the mid-1860s is overtly Egyptian, with a handle that terminates in three lotus blossoms. Such motifs were included in Owen Jones's 1856 book The Grammar of Ornament, an influential compendium of decorative designs. The penchant for Egyptian forms may also have derived from the digging of the Suez Canal, completed in 1870, and the popularity of Giuseppe Verdi's opera Aida, which premiered in 1871.

Geography: Made in Providence, Rhode Island

Culture: American

Period: 19th century

Credit: Gift of Nancy Stiner

c. 1865
Parcel-gilt sterling silver
21.0cm
2007.53.1
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Yale University Art Gallery
Permanent collection