Tiffany & Co. Cirque Chinois is a magnificent pattern showcasing an intricate, colorful, and delightfully exotic design. The plate is done in a “chinoiserie" style that evokes scenes from eighteenth-century China. Cirque Chinois, in particular, features fanciful eighteenth-century depictions of Chinese circus performers interspersed with structures, trees, and flowers. Crafted from Limoges porcelain, the plate’s hand-painted design was especially created for Tiffany & Co. by Camille Le Tallec, a French porcelain artist. Le Tallec’s studio operated from 1930 to 1990, during which time it created hand-painted porcelain tableware for royalty such as Queen Elizabeth II and Kings Mohammed V and Hassan II of Morocco, among others. In 1961, Le Tallec began creating porcelain patterns for Tiffany & Co., and in 1990, his studio was incorporated into Tiffany & Co. For more than 150 years, Tiffany & Co. has represented the pinnacle of American affluence, artistry, and luxury. In 1837, Charles Lewis Tiffany and John B. Young began selling luxury goods in their New York City emporium. As New York grew into a large metropolis, the demand for Tiffany’s opulent merchandise began to increase. In 1848, Tiffany began producing sterling flatware patterns, and their 925/1000 sterling purity standard eventually became the U.S. sterling silver standard. During the economic boom that followed the Civil War, Tiffany & Co. met the increased demand for high-end items, including tea services, art, and jewelry. Today, Tiffany & Co. remains a leading maker of jewelry, china, crystal, silver, and glassware.
Congress by St Louis features a concave bowl that flares at the top, with an etched, gold-encrusted medallion, wreath, and garland design on the side, and gold trim on the lip of the glass. The multi-sided stem is notched, with an etched, gold-encrusted knob, and a round foot, also etched and encrusted with gold. St Louis is acclaimed as the oldest “cristallerie” in France – the firm was founded in 1586 in the Lorraine region, renowned world-wide for the magnificent quality of its crystal. In Lorraine is the town of Baccarat, home to a crystal museum and one of the most famous crystal makers in the world. This rich tradition comes to dazzling life in the beauty of St Louis Congress crystal.
Percier (Sterling) by Puiforcat Silver features a glossy finish and a narrow waist that broadens into an ornate handle adorned with geometric designs and a delicate plume at the tip. With its graceful design, Percier (Sterling) flatware serves as a wonderful complement to the more opulent Cirque Chinois china and Congress crystal. French silversmith Jean Puiforcat is widely considered to be one of the foremost silver designers of the twentieth century. Descended from generations of silversmiths, Puiforcat entered the family business in 1920. Puiforcat’s early works drew inspiration from early nineteenth-century English silver designs and incorporated natural elements, keeping with the art nouveau style popular at the time. As Puiforcat’s career progressed, however, his pieces began exhibiting less ornamentation, and moved toward a more streamlined, Art Deco aesthetic. It was around this time that Puiforcat began to develop a profound interest in mathematics. In a 1927 article, Puiforcat stated, “The weakness of certain of my pieces, that I am the first to recognize, comes from my incomplete education in numbers. My evolution follows my studies in geometry, in trigonometry.” Puiforcat’s fascination with mathematics influenced many of his silver designs; he was especially interested in employing the golden ratio to guide the proportions of his works. Although Puiforcat employed precise calculations in his pieces, he did so while maintaining a warm, sensual aesthetic. His legacy is one of a silversmith who created functional silver that continues to provide a “poetic sense to geometry.”
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