Pair of Art Nouveau cobalt blue American silver overlay vases

Pair of Art Nouveau cobalt blue American silver overlay vases

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Pair of elegant Art Nouveau period blue glass vases with hand-engraved sterling silver overlay decoration and made in the USA. In classic Art Nouveau styling, the freeform silver overlay decoration on this pair of antique vases incorporates fanned leaves and lattice patterns. The wavy, flared rims applied silver edges to protect the glass.

In 1889, the decorative technique of applying sterling silver designs to glass was patented by Oscar Pierre Erand and John Benjamin Round for Stevens & Williams Ltd in Birmingham and silver overlay found its first wave of popularity in the early 1900s.

Sterling silver was applied to glass by a chemical method so that a cut-out design of silver metal appears against a clear or coloured glass background. Where the silver was thick enough a silversmith might further embellish the piece with hand engraving.

From 1895 to the early 1920s the art of silver overlay had a fervent following and became a decorative rage. It was particularly popular in America. The silver designers would choose patterns that complemented the piece, for instance this perfume flask is decorated with swirling flowers, where a waterscape of bulrushes might decorate a water jug, or a wine jug could feature intertwining grapevines.


Height 155 mm / 6 "