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Author Topic:   The Bryant Vase
wev
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Posts: 4046
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 12-12-2001 07:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I spent the last few nights helping at our local library's annual book sale and came across a swell volume. It is a large and weighty folio titled The Art Journal for 1875 published by Appleton of New York. It is filled with lovely steel engravings and the faint whiff of damp didn't deter my spending $5 for it. While leafing through it last night, I came across an article titled The Bryant Testimonial Vase: A First Showing of the Proposed Designs with large engravings of the designs submitted by Tiffany, Gorham, Whiting, Starr & Marcus, and Black, Starr & Frost. This may be old news to some, but I thought it might be of interest to post them up and see if we agree with the decision of the jury.

Tiffany & Co; design by James Whitehouse; 30 inches tall, of oxidized silver.

Gorham Company; design by T. J. Pairpont; vase: 4 feet tall (!), base 30" in diameter, of burnished and oxidized silver. As the value of raw silver would have greatly exceeded the monies offered, Gorham proposed to pay the difference out of pocket.

Whiting Company; design by Charles Osborne; 38 inches tall, a combination of marble and oxidized silver with gilding.

Starr & Marcus; no designer named; 32 inches tall, 500 ounces in weight, the whole of sterling silver, gilded.

Black, Starr & Frost; no designer named; 42 inches tall, of oxidized silver enriched with inlaid gold.

So who would you have chosen?

Ps. The article went into great detail explaining the various alegorical figures and motifs used in the designs; if anyone is
truly interested, I will do a transcription.

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Scott Martin
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Posts: 11202
Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 12-13-2001 06:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The first time we saw The Bryant Vase it rocketed to the top of my list of favorite pieces of presentation silver. All of the above designs are great. Understanding more about the allegorical figures and motifs might change my opinion but having seen Tiffany's finished product it remains my first choice.

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Trefid

Posts: 78
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 12-21-2001 08:07 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Trefid     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I guess the original of The Bryant Vase is in the Met? I saw a copy(?) several years ago, though, in the Arts & Industries Bldg. of the Smithsonian, since it was supposed to have been shown at the 1876 Centennial in Philadelphia, and a core collection of Centennial objects went to the Smithsonian afterward. I, too, fell in love with it at first sight. Earlier this year I went back to visit it, but the powers that be had completely changed the layout of the A&I Bldg. I asked at the information counter where The Bryant Vase had gone, but no one could tell me anything. Does anyone know this copy's current whereabouts?

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 02-04-2007 11:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bump - (I restored the above images)
Also see: old trophies thread.

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vathek

Posts: 961
Registered: Jun 99

iconnumber posted 02-04-2007 02:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for vathek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Starr & Marcus

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 02-04-2007 03:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Whiting.

Does anyone know if these designs were ever used for other things?

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wev
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Posts: 4046
Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 02-04-2007 04:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is nothing said in the article. I made a pdf of the whole thing which can be found here

Be warned: it is nearly 5 megs in size.

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1755
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 02-05-2007 12:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
While we're on the subject, here is a souvenir publication one could have purchased at the 1876 fair. It is a large (about 19" x 14") folio titled "Treasures of Art, Industry, and Manufacture Represented at the International Exhibition 1876". The inside features a promotional, two-page article about the Bryant vase, printed once in English and one in French, as well as a beautiful chromatographic of the vase itself. According to the cover of this item, it is volume 26, so presumably many of the major objects on display at the fair had an accompanying souvenir folio. This one is printed on the cover with its original price of $2, which, accounting for inflation, seems to be a fairly pricey souvenir.

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bascall

Posts: 1621
Registered: Nov 99

iconnumber posted 02-05-2007 05:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for bascall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A link to a short description of the Bryant Commerative vase: 'The Bryant Commemorative Vase', 1874.

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Ulysses Dietz
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Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 02-06-2007 12:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Fascinating! And I have to say that I would vote (today) for Tiffany's winning design. Anyone who's ever studied the Bryant vase can attest to its incredible complexity of design and iconography--but compared with the other designs, with all their Victorian hoo-ha, it is awesomely refined and almost austere. I've often been asked about and wondered about the question of "good taste" relative to Victorian design--and here is a place where I'd say the Tiffany design is in the best "taste" of all of them. Not that the others wouldn't have been fun to see, but they seem to be showing off in a way that runs rather counter to the whole point of the Bryant vase, to commemorate America's first poet laureate...

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Scott Martin
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iconnumber posted 08-21-2018 01:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Scott Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote

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