Gorham’s Mythologigue Pattern


Gorham’s Mythologigue pattern is a specific sterling silver flatware pattern with designs that have derived from ancient Greek mythology. The sterling silver flatware pattern was first copyrighted in 1895 and was designed by F. Antoine Heller, who was one of Gorham’s most famous designers. The entire Mythologigue collection consists of a total of 72 unique pieces. The designs of each piece in the collection makes the silverware and flatware visually pleasing to diners. Within each piece, there is a story that the classical ornamentation was designed to tell. Because of the intricacy of Gorham’s Mythologigue pattern, each extravagant piece of silver takes hours upon hours to develop and is really a piece of art that should be celebrated among silver collectors.

Gorham’s Mythologigue Pattern

Developing the Pattern

F. Antoine Heller was born in France in 1845 and was very much influenced as an artist by the Beaux Arts movement that was going on in France at the time. Heller was a trained French silversmith under the influence of Ecole des Beaux-Arts in the studio of Jean-Leon Gerome. It is from that studying that he came up with the inspiration for many of his famous patterns. During the 1870s, Heller came to America to work for Tiffany & Co. and very quickly was sought out to create the very celebrated Olympian pattern for the company. Due to his success with Tiffany’s, Heller was lured back to France to work for Gorham and served as the company’s chief designed until his death in 1904.

Gorham Manufacturing Company is one of America’s largest manufacturers of sterling and silverplate, with also a foundry for bronze sculpture. Gorham was founded in 1831 by Jabez Gorham in Rhode Island. It was under Heller’s direction that the silver patterns at Gorham adopted an academic style that encompassed Greek and Roman traditions. Heller’s first pattern for Gorham was called Fontainebleau and it appeared in 1882. The design was so beautiful that it was featured on the cover of that year’s catalog. The patterns that Heller developed with Gorham were unique and became very well known, with the most celebrated being the Mythologigue. Heller was known for the precision with which he executed the use of steel dies that were then used for drop presses.

Markings and Patterns

Hours and hours of work go into developing the elaborate detail that makes up Gorham’s Mythologigue pattern. This is because the elaborate detail consists of more than just single characters, but actually entire figural scenes, scenes from Greek mythology. The line was introduced in 1894 and consists of 24 different mythological subjects. It is very easy to identify this specific kind of sterling silver flatware. Within each piece of the Mythologigue pattern, each terminal features a character or even several characters and scenes that are inspired from Greek myths. The stems of the flatware have classical motifs such as fluted columns and anthemion.

Some of the pieces within the collection are cleared manufactured by hand but there is also some evidence that pieces were made with force from a steam-powered drop press. This is more likely to have been during the time when Americans were simultaneously falling for the designs and the industrial processes that were changing the landscape of the American economy and job landscape.

Sarasota Antique Buyers is looking for sterling silver flatware pieces that are from Gorham’s Mythologigue pattern. If you feel that you have a piece that might be from this world renowned collection, bring it in and we can tell you for sure.

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