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tline3open  Shiebler Medallion/Homeric patterns

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Author Topic:   Shiebler Medallion/Homeric patterns
carlaz

Posts: 239
Registered: Jan 2001

iconnumber posted 08-03-2004 10:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for carlaz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have been doing a bit of research on the Shiebler Medallion/Homeric patterns and I am a bit confused on what I have read. If it is indeed correct that this pattern opened the "revival' of medallion flatware designs when it was first produced, why this is it almost impossible to find? Does the rarity of this pattern indeed support the 'collector' price it is demanding at auctions and on ebay? Also, were there hollowware pieces made in this pattern and are they as collectible as the very scare flatware pieces?

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Ulysses Dietz
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Posts: 1265
Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 04-22-2005 03:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't think that Shiebler's "Homeric" was the first medallion design, if that's what you meant. It is the weirdest design to use a medallion in the 1860s and 70s, and its very weirdness is what makes it so appealing to collectors. It might not have been hugely successful, and thus is it rarer (which is always desirable). I note that Wood & Hughes also made a version of this--but I've never known what the name was. See the picture here.

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 04-23-2005 01:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Did the Wood and Hughes ever have a name, in the sense that it was a full line pattern?

I once had a Van Zand(?) Philidelphia soup ladle done in this style with medallions of geishas. Is that considered part of the whole trend?

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Paul Lemieux

Posts: 1755
Registered: Apr 2000

iconnumber posted 05-17-2005 03:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Paul Lemieux     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe that John Wendt's "Medallion" pattern of 1862 was about the first American medallion design. Gorham introduced their Medallion flatware pattern in 1864, and sundry other makers introduced their own interpretations during the middle of the 1860s.

The taste for medallion/Neoclassical design faded around the early 1870s, and patterns based on more exotic sources--such as Egypt and the Far East--were the most common in the 1870s. (However, I believe that Hotchkiss & Schreuder and whatever company it later became produced their Neoclassical Medallion pattern at least into the 1890s).

Tiffany introduced their Japanese pattern in 1871 and through most of the 1870s, silver in the Japanese taste most closely resembled Japanese prints, with depictions of birds, plant life, etc.

Then in the late 1870s, a new phase of Japanesque design brought about the use of hammered finishes, mixed metals, and many far more asymmetrical & curious designs.

In about 1880, Shiebler seems to have re-introduced the medallion design, only those Greek and Roman busts now appeared within hammered, distressed, and asymmetrically chased surroundings, rather than within classical designs. Other makers followed suit.

The idea was seemingly to capture the medallions as though they had just been recovered from an archaeological dig, in the same way that many makers wanted to capture leaves, bugs, sea life, etc. as though they had just been found in nature. (In the example Ulysses posted, note the wonderful simulated cracks on the blade).

Shiebler's Homeric style appeared not only on flatware, but also on hollowware (mugs, creamer/sugar sets, etc.), jewelry, and "novelties" such as buttonhooks, small boxes, cigar lighters, etc. All of these objects are desirable, though it seems that the market for Medallion may have cooled a little over the past couple years.

I do not know what the W & H pattern was called, nor if it was full-line. I have seen a variety of servers, and some other pieces like cocktail forks, coffee spoons, tea spoons, and flat knives. W & H also made Medallion jewelry and probably novelties.

I think the weirdest medallion pattern from the 1880s revival was made by John Vansant of Phlidadelphia. The pattern I refer to features a stamped medallion(s) and, covering the rest of the surface, tiny & bizarre stamped designs like flies, crescent moons, snakes, and geometric shapes. Sometimes there is a hammered finish and sometimes not.

Carla, if you are interested in the Medallion pattern's history and evolution, I would obtain a copy of D. Albert Soeffing's book on the subject.

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