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Photo credit: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

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Title: Vase
Date: 1903
Medium: Silver set with four-matrix turquoise
Dimensions: Height: 8 1/4 in. (21 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Isabel and William Berley, Classes of 1947 and 1945
Object Number: 99.078.120
Label Text: WHERE WAS IT MADE?
This vase was designed by Rex Silver of the Silver Studio and manufactured by department store giant Liberty & Company. In fact, you can see “L&Co” short for Liberty & Company, stamped on the side of the vase. Both the designer and the manufacturer were located in London, England.

HOW WAS IT MADE?
This vase is made of sterling silver, a metal alloy containing, by mass, 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. We know this because the vase is stamped on the bottom with the number “925,” indicating the minimum purity standard of sterling silver. Through a process known as casting, the sterling silver was shaped into the form of the vase.

HOW WAS IT USED?
This vase was most likely not used as an everyday object and had a decorative use. However, since most of Silver Studio’s manufacturers were mass producers, it is likely that many designs, like this vase, were accessible to a growing British middle class.

WHY DOES IT LOOK LIKE THIS?
Rex Silver’s father, Arthur Silver (1853-1896), founded the Silver Studio in 1880. Rex continued to operate the studio until his own death in 1965. During its time, the Silver Studio was one of the most prominent and prolific design studios in England, specializing in metalwork, textiles, and wallpapers, which were largely sold at Liberty & Company. The Silver Studio championed the Art Nouveau style in its works, elements of which are evident in this vase.

Scan the slender cylindrical body of the vase and observe its four decorative “stems” and turquoise “flowers.” These curvilinear lines and natural forms characterize Art Nouveau, the “New Art” style.

NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.