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Tea Service

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Tea Service

Maker: Gorham Manufacturing Company (active Providence, Rhode Island, 1831-present)

Date: c. 1892
Medium: Sterling silver
9 3/4in. (24.8cm)
Markings: Impressed Gorham hallmarks: "[LION] [ANCHOR] / 6 / 3646/ STERLING/ A ?"
Inscribed: Each piece is engraved on both sides of the body. One side: "ECL" and opposite side: "1892"
Credit Line: Gift of Marion E. Holbrook in memory of Horace Norton Holbrook
Object number:
Label Text
This sterling silver tea service is made in the Rococo Revival style, which has its roots in French design of the 1700s. The sinuous lines and floral designs are derived from nature. Rococo Revival pieces often include scrolls. These pieces are decorated using a technique known as repoussé. The silver is shaped with patterns in relief formed by hammering and pressing on the reverse side.

In the nineteenth century, tea services became elaborate. For many upper-class women, taking high tea (a light afternoon meal) with friends became a daily practice. A traditional high tea consists of sandwiches, such as watercress, fish paste or bread and butter, scones, cakes and pastries. Serving tea with all its equipment was a symbol of feminine hospitality. The hostess offered a warm, comforting drink and food.

Each piece in this set is engraved with the initials ECL for Elizabeth C. Norton who married Lewis H. Lawrence in October 1857. A prominent Utica businessman, Lawrence was a partner in L. Lawrence & Son Lumber and H. J. Holbrook and Co., makers of women's shoes.