Shreve & Company American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 706

This silver bowl, featuring smooth, unadorned surfaces enlivened with applied geometric strapwork punctuated by circular nail heads, is an outstanding, early example of Shreve and Company’s iconic "XIV Century" pattern. The design evokes medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque handcraftsmanship. Indeed, the pattern’s title reflects a conscious desire to reference late medieval / early Renaissance craft traditions— associations that resonated with artists and consumers who embraced the Arts and Crafts movement around the turn of the twentieth century. Founded by George C. and Samuel Shreve in 1852, Shreve and Company was the leading jeweler and silversmithing firm in San Francisco throughout the later nineteenth and much of the twentieth centuries. During its early years, the Shreve firm retailed jewelry and silver made by wholesale jewelers and silversmiths. In order to meet the increasing demand for fine jewelry, Shreve established facilities for manufacturing jewelry in 1881, and in 1883 began producing silver as well. The firm’s advertisements tout its "Artistic Silverware," and Shreve soon established a reputation as the finest silversmiths in California. Throughout its long history, Shreve and Company produced a vast and diverse range of silver. Around the turn of the twentieth century, the firm began creating Arts and Crafts style silver, which exhibited unprecedented quality in its craftsmanship and originality in its designs. Introduced in 1904, Shreve’s "XIV Century" silver enjoyed critical and popular success, gracing many fashionable, affluent homes in California and beyond during the early decades of the twentieth century.

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