Punch Bowl

Maker: Gorham Manufacturing Company (American, 1831–present)

Date: 1901

Geography: Made in Providence, Rhode Island, United States

Culture: American

Medium: Silver and silver gilt

Dimensions: Overall: 12 13/16 x 21 x 15 3/4 in. (32.5 x 53.3 x 40 cm); 223 oz. 15 dwt. (6959.8 g)
Foot: Diam. 9 1/4 in. (23.5 cm)

Classification: Silver

Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Hugh J. Grant, 1974

Accession Number: 1974.214.27


In the late 1890s, inspired by the ideals of England’s Arts and Crafts movement, Gorham introduced a new line of art silver called Martelé from the French term for "hammered." Its higher silver content (95 percent as opposed to sterling’s 92.5 percent) produced a softer, more malleable metal, which could be hammered into organic forms. The fluid character of Martelé also parallels the contemporary Art Nouveau style. On this massive Martelé punch bowl, night is represented by poppies—symbols of sleep—and by stars, the crescent moon, and bats on a garland held by two female figures. Morning glories and butterflies, chased in high relief on the opposite side, signify morning.