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tline3open  art nouveau forks

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Author Topic:   art nouveau forks
Raf Steel

Posts: 94
Registered: Jul 2005

iconnumber posted 09-05-2005 01:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Raf Steel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
[26-0647]

I gather that these forks are made in the US, but I lack any reference books on American makers marks. Hence my question, can anyone tell me who made these pieces and when they were made? Apparently, the pictures are not coming through (sigh). For the record: the makers mark is "RM 'a deer's head facing to the left' & S" in Gothic script. Also stamped with 'sterling' and the letter 'H'in a circle.



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wev
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Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 09-05-2005 01:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It is actually RW and the firm is R. Wallace & Sons of Wallingford CT.

Now that the images are up, it looks like Violet, introduced in 1904, but I am no expert on patterned goods.

[This message has been edited by wev (edited 09-05-2005).]

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Raf Steel

Posts: 94
Registered: Jul 2005

iconnumber posted 09-05-2005 02:40 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Raf Steel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for the quick reply! Gothic script has never done it for me. Can you tell me what the H in a circle stands for? It isn't a date letter, is it? Is 1904 late for such an Art Nouveau design?
Raf

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Kimo

Posts: 1597
Registered: Mar 2003

iconnumber posted 09-06-2005 09:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Kimo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
There is no cutoff in time for styles or designs once they have been introduced, especially in things like silver where styles and patterns are constantly being revived to appeal to people's desire for older or classical looking things. This is not a recent phenomena either - it has been around almost forever. The best one can say is that there are vague time periods when a new style or design begins to be created and becomes popular to the point of being relatively common, but not necessarily dominant to that era. Art Nouveau began in the 1880s, blossomed between 1890 and 1910, began to slowly wane until around 1920. Art deco began to come into style in the 1920s, blossomed in the 1930s and began to wane in the 1940s. Even though art deco was a reaction against the more flowery style of art nouveau, you can see plenty of art nouveau elements in much of the so called art deco designs. Renee Lalique is a good example.

Your fork is pretty much dead center in the heyday of art nouveau.

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Raf Steel

Posts: 94
Registered: Jul 2005

iconnumber posted 09-06-2005 12:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Raf Steel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I maybe put my wording a little vage. I meant is this design typical for American Art Nouveau of that period? Most European firms did continue to make their floral styled art nouveau pieces well into the 20th century, but firms like Wolfers Frères from Brussels or koch & Bergfeld, etc. were by 1903 making a much more stylized Art Nouveau. The floral art nouveau seems to die out in Europe after the 1900 Paris exhibition. Most designers and 'modern' silversmiths reacted against the 'tin biscuit' art nouveau style, by a quest for a decoration that was more 'classic' or to put it in modernist terms truthful.

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wev
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Registered: Apr 99

iconnumber posted 09-06-2005 01:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for wev     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Very typical. I believe the H is a weight designation, ie heavy; various firms offered flatware in different grades, both in sterling and plate.

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Dale

Posts: 2132
Registered: Nov 2002

iconnumber posted 09-06-2005 06:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dale     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I also believe that Wallace Violet is still available from the company, by special order. Once a pattern takes hold, it tends to be made for very long periods of time.

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Ulysses Dietz
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Registered: May 99

iconnumber posted 09-06-2005 06:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Americans didn't really get a grip on art nouveau until AFTER the Paris fair of 1900. What art nouveau did flourish here flourished from 1900 to as late as World War I; but the peak was 1900-1905 for new designs. This Wallace "Violet" is a wonderful American art nouveau design; a strong seasoning of Louis XV to make the modernism appropriate to anti-modern American taste--but you have to realize that most consumers, even back when it was new, would have simply classed it as "pretty and French looking." Whiting made a lovely "Violet" pattern that is very art nouveau, and Reed & Barton made a splendid heavy pattern called "La Parisienne." Durgin made "Modern Art," using the iris as a motif. Unger's famous "Douvaine" is a superb flatware pattern. My least favorite, Chantilly, Gorham's stripped-down art nouveau of (what, 1903?) is still the firm's best-selling pattern. American firms offered far more patterns than all of Europe combined, but as you've heard they held onto anything that sold well. Tiffany still makes patterns from the 1870s (Japanese, aka Audubon).

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Raf Steel

Posts: 94
Registered: Jul 2005

iconnumber posted 09-07-2005 11:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Raf Steel     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for these elaborate responses. Is it possible to find good books on US Art Nouveau and Art Deco makers, not coffee tablebooks, with marks and makers biographies? I only came across books on Tiffany and Gorham, but none of the makers you mentionned, except for some references in general works like the A. Krekel book.

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