Chantilly Flatware is a well-known and highly prized pattern of silverware produced and distributed by the American Gorham Company since the late 19th century. Chantilly silver was one of the most popular designs for 20th century collectors and its market has steadily grown since it was introduced in 1895.
History of Gorham Chantilly Flatware
The Gorham Company’s founder, Jabez Gorham, began operations in 1831 in Providence, Rhode Island. Gorham began the company with his partner, Henry Lamon Webster, another silversmith and jeweler. In the initial years of the company, Gorham and Webster focused on coin silver. They created flatware and smaller items such as jewelry, combs, and thimbles.
After Webster left the company to create his own separate silver brand, Gorham passed the mantle to his son John Gorham in 1850. John Gorham focused on mass production, purchasing a steam-powered drop press from inventor James Nasmyth.
As the market for American silver boomed from 1850 onwards, the Gorham company grew in popularity and influence. Gorham hired multiple master craftsmen, silverware designers, and highly-skilled foreign workmen. These craftsmen created highly popular silverware patterns, including the Gorham Martelé and Medallion patterns. In 1891, Gorham hired William Christmas Codman; as their chief designer, Codman created over 55 flatware patterns. He worked on the Chantilly design in 1895.
The Chantilly pattern became the company’s most famous silverware design. When conceiving the design, Codman took inspiration from 17th-century France, incorporating the aesthetics of Louis XIV. Chantilly pieces are characterized by their delicate motifs, scrollwork, and floral accents.
However, flatware is not the only silver art for which the company is known. In the early 1900s, the Gorham Company received many requests for casting and sculpture work; Gorham artists designed and created the George Washington monument for the U.S. Capitol Building’s Rotunda. Gorham artists are also responsible for the Theodore Roosevelt statue that overlooks the Museum of National History in New York City.
Styles of Gorham Chantilly Flatware
Despite the success of their other works, Gorham’s primary claim to fame remains the Chantilly flatware collection. It is one of their most valuable designs and products; to date, the Gorham Company has sold over 1,800,000 pieces of Chantilly silverware.
The Chantilly flatware design matches the modernism and Rococo Revival style of Second Empire France. Rococo is an intricate and ornamental form of architecture and art, originally popular in the early 1700s. It is known for its emphasis on sinuous lines, complex decorative elements, and theatrical motifs.
Market for Gorham Chantilly Flatware
Individual pieces of Gorham Chantilly silverware can cost thousands of dollars. Less popular silverware patterns such as the Medallion can cost under $5,000. Complete sets of silverware such as the silver tea sets can be valued even more highly. For example, a six-piece Gorham tea set (complete with a service tray) in the Martelé pattern has been valued at $30,000 minimum.
Gorham’s Chantilly pieces are less expensive than Martelé pieces. However, they can still cost anywhere between $1,000 and $50,000. The older the piece is marked, the higher the price will be. Pieces dated before 1899 cost the most, as they are Codman’s original works.
Appraise and Sell Your Gorham Chantilly Flatware
Do you want to sell your Chantilly Flatware? Get in touch with our experts at Revere Auctions. If you would like to sell your Gorham silver pieces, you can auction them at our location in St. Paul, Minnesota. We also offer our services online.
You can contact us anytime for a free auction estimate if you want to sell Gorham Chantilly flatware. We have a very simple process. After you send us the photos of the work, our experts will take a look, analyze, and provide you an estimate of the amount the artwork is likely to reach at auction.
If you need an appraisal for your flatware, we provide a certified appraisal report that can be used for estate taxes, donations, and insurance coverage. Our appraisals are compliant with Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice and are accepted by insurance companies, charity agencies, and the IRS.