Gorham Silver: Designing Brilliance 1850-1970


Gorham Sterling Silver and Mixed Metal Bowl, Providence, last quarter 19th century.

Friday, January 11 | Reception: 5:30PM, Talk: 6:00PM 

Boston Gallery  |  63 Park Plaza, Boston 02116 

Elizabeth A. Williams, the David and Peggy Rockefeller Curator of Decorative Arts and Design, will speak about Gorham silver and the upcoming RISD Museum exhibition, Designing Innovation: The Gorham Manufacturing Company, American Silver 1850-1970, opening May 2019. This talk is held in conjunction with the January 12 European Furniture & Decorative Arts auction, featuring Gorham silver.

Commissioned to create everything from public presentation pieces to one-of-a-kind showstoppers for use in the private dining rooms of America, Gorham put uniquely American design on the world stage. Silver and mixed-metal wares produced from 1850 to 1970 by Gorham reflected the industry, artistry, innovation, and technology of its time for more than 150 years in America. Designing Brilliance will cast new light on the legacy of this distinctive company, first established in 1831 in Providence, Rhode Island. The RISD Museum owns the largest collection of objects by this silver maker and Designing Brilliance is the first Gorham exhibition in nearly three decades. 


Elizabeth A. Williams joined the RISD Museum in 2013 after serving as assistant curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. She holds a Ph.D. in Art History from the Kress Foundation Department of Art History at the University of Kansas, an M.A. degree in Art History from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a B.S. degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Missouri-Columbia. At LACMA, she was the editor of and contributing author to Daily Pleasures: French Ceramics from the MaryLou Boone Collection, as well as the exhibition curator, and the author of The Gilbert Collection at LACMA. At the RISD Museum, she co-curated Making It in America and Arlene Shechet: Meissen Recast, and oversaw the reinstallation of the glass gallery, ceramics galleries, and silver gallery; and decorative arts in the European galleries and the Modern/Contemporary galleries. She is currently organizing the exhibition Gorham Silver: Designing Brilliance 1850-1970, and is editor of and contributing author to the accompanying publication. Williams is a Board member of the American Ceramic Circle and serves as the Grants and Scholarship Chair. 

Questions? Contact us:

One thought on “Gorham Silver: Designing Brilliance 1850-1970

  1. Gorham has been my main search keyword for all these years, and now I will be stuck in Paris on January 11th!

    Nobody will feel sorry for me, so no other solution than being sorry for myself…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *