Fine Tiffany & Co. Sterling Silver Centerpiece, New York, c. 1872, attributed to designer James Horton Whitehouse, base marked 2960/804, the dishes marked 2460/6832, the central mirrored surface with two seated putti to either side, each with a sickle and wheat stalk and two putti terms to either end, each supporting a tripartite foliate scrolled stem with three detachable silver dishes with a grapevine motif to rims, all on eight claw feet with acroteria accents to joints, base lg. 34, total lg. 48 in.
Provenance: Formerly in the collection of Roz Goldstein, Bedford NY; M.S. Rau Antiques.
Note: James Whitehouse was one of Tiffany & Co.'s earliest and most well-respected designers, producing many of the firm's most important pieces during his 44-year career. Trained in metalworking in Birmingham, England, Whitehouse's designs exhibit the neoclassic style and sculptural quality that was popular with the Elkington firm.
Whitehouse's designs were praised for their use of classical vocabulary and architectural ornament, which became the hallmarks of his personal style throughout his career at Tiffany. This particular centerpiece displays these strengths not only in the balance of the sculptural ornaments, but in the use of classical motifs like the acanthus-capped scrollwork and rosette register to the base. The modelling of the putti terms also corresponds directly with his other firmly attributed pieces, including the Meiggs centerpiece produced in 1871. (1)
1. John Loring, Magnificent Tiffany Silver, 2001, pp. 75-89.
In good overall condition, with casting still crisp and detailed. Base lacking several screws to underside, elements to top still stable. Most upper dishes with joint pushed very slightly into surface, unobtrusive, each still stand level. Armature numbered 1 with split to extending from to underside of arm (not visible when upright and assembled) and minor dent to top side of another arm. The other with split to interior joint (not visible and still sits well). Few very minor nicks and abrasions, consistent with age, unobtrusive.
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