Lot 46
  • 46

An American gold, diamond and enamel two-handled vase, Tiffany & Co New York, designed by Paulding Farnham for Paris Universal Exhibition, 1900

60,000 - 80,000 GBP
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  • An American gold, diamond and enamel two-handled vase, Tiffany & Co New York, designed by Paulding Farnham for Paris Universal Exhibition, 1900
  • gold, enamel, diamonds
  • 18cm., 7 1/8 in high
the faceted compressed circular bowl decorated with translucent green enamel over engine-turning, the slender stem rising from a similar circular foot and flanked by four pairs of openwork scrolls in descending size, enriched with applied green and purple flowerheads set with brilliants, the underside applied with Tiffany & Co.'s special 1900 Exposition Universelle mark


Property from a Royal Collection


The overall condition is good. Slight losses to enamel as follows: 1. The bottom two sections of the stem, especially on one side 2. The tips of the eight flowerheads on the stem, the two smallest most affected 3. Of the twelve facets of the bowl three have small areas of flaking at the most bulbous point as well as six small areas of loss immediately below the bracket-shaped gold elements above 4. There are several very small areas of loss to the six flowerheads (mostly to the edges) rising above the lip of the bowl In addition, the stem leans slightly from immediately above the foot although it is not actually bent. Also two of the flowerheads at the lip are very slightly out of true. In spite of these relatively minor flaws, the cup is in good condition. Furthermore, there are no losses among the brilliants and the applied maker’s mark on the underside of the foot is clear
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.

Catalogue Note

The Exposition Universelle, held in Paris from 15 April to 12 November 12 1900, celebrated the achievements of the past century and looked to the future by encouraging new developments. The fair, visited by nearly 50 million people, displayed a plethora of art and the latest industrial design. Tiffany & Co. was among the exhibitors, featuring jewelry, silver and gold articles, hunting kits, gun cases, cowboy’s whips, watches, match safes, jade objects, rifles, writing articles and smoking sets.

Paulding Farnham (1859-1943), who had begun working at Tiffany & Co. in 1885, is credited with designing “…most of the pieces in the entire Tiffany exhibit and supervised their manufacture,” according to Harriet Edwards in the 20 September 1900 issue of Home Journal. But, it was the gold exhibit, cited in The Jeweler’s Circular Weekly from March 21st, “…as one of the largest and most beautiful ever produced by an American manufacturer that included pieces from a grand gold service to a beautifully executed toilet set.” The gold was mined from California, Alaska and other American fields.

This vase exemplifies the skillfulness of the Tiffany designers. It is listed in the catalogue, Tiffany & Co. Exhibit Paris Exposition Universelle 1900, as “Vase. Gold, enameled green showing detail underglaze, enamels specially mixed representing embroidery, set with rose-diamonds to simulate small mirrors in the embroidery of an old Indian silk pattern.”  The pattern is derived from Indian saris with abstract hexagonal shapes set with diamonds, the diamonds providing sparkle to the design. The vase is illustrated in the article, “Orfèvrerie étangère a l’exposition de 1900: États-Unis,” in Revue de la Bijouterie, Joaillerie, Orfevrerie, Vol. 1, No. 6, October 1900, p. 53 (Fig.2).

Paulding Farnham won two gold medals for his contributions to the exhibit while the Tiffany display was awarded the grand prize. Farnham was the consummate designer, creating jewelry and silverware for Tiffany & Co. that were enjoyed at the time they were created and remain as markers of elegance and refinement from over a hundred years ago. This vase stands as a testament to this great company and its stature at the turn of the twentieth century.

Sotheby's gratefully thanks Janet Zapata for her kind help with this footnote.