Imitation is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery
When I learn a new word, I am amazed how often it
appears in subsequent conversation.
In my world of antiques and design,
learning a new word looks a little like this:
I have always admired the simplicity and elegance of these
silver-plated vintage baskets. In my opinion, they epitomize the golden rule of William Morris,
"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
My treasure hunts take me from auctions and thrift shops to estate and garage
sales. I encounter similar objects from time to time, including this timeless
silver basket which never falls far out of favor or style.
These pieces make ideal host/ess or house-warming gifts as they can make anything look stylish, from bread and fruit to napkins, washcloths and soap.
The baskets were produced by American firms including Paul Revere Silversmiths, Gorham Manufacturing Company and W. S. Blackinton and exported to the U.S. by companies headquartered in Italy, Germany and China. A quick google search will show just how many 20th century art metal manufacturers offered a take or two on this perennially popular design.
I recently visited the galleries of my Alma Mater, the Winterthur Museum and Gardens, coming face-to-face with the basket once again. Although similar to the vintage pieces at Q ANTIQUES AND DESIGN, this sterling silver antecedent was executed by Samuel Williamson of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between the years of 1794 and 1813,
making the design over 200 years old!
I suspect the design may be older. Does anyone know of an earlier example? If so, please share the who, what, when and where in the comments below; I promise we will all marvel and delight at your mastery of the decorative arts!
Good design is tasteful, timeless and at [the happiest] times, affordable. It is absolutely possible to fill your homes with lovely things without breaking the bank because—as in this case—imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.
Wishing you all a super-stylish summer :)