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Exotic Influence, Impeccable Design

 

Indian Tree-Coral by Coalport China is rimmed, scallop-shaped china featuring gold trim and an “Indian Tree” design on the center and rim. Inspired by earlier Indian textile patterns, Indian Tree was a popular china pattern during the latter half of the nineteenth century. The pattern includes the crooked, coral-like branches of a leafy, flowering tree set in an exotic landscape. Most Indian Tree patterns were made in green, blue, pink, orange, or, like our featured Coalport pattern, coral. Coalport China was owned by John Rose, who at the very beginning of the nineteenth century was involved with multiple business partners, and manufactured primarily hard-paste porcelain wares, sometimes supplying them as blanks for final decoration in London. Around 1814, Rose apparently began working mostly in bone china, and the pattern name, Coalbrookdale, began to be used. Authors Henry Sandon, Joan Jones, and Garrison Stradling point out in “Sotheby’s Concise Encyclopedia of Porcelain,” that Rose, strongly under the influence of manufacturers in Sevres, employed “two artists, Cook and Randall. Cook’s specialty was flowers and Randall’s fancy birds.” It would seem that no artist’s abilities exceeded those of Cook – for Coalport, he must have been an invaluable asset. “Flowers and leaves are the very embodiment of Victorian Rococo,” the authors note, “and were applied to a wide range of objects.”

Duncan & Miller Indian Tree is a blown glass design with a concave bowl, flared top, a knobbed, multisided cut stem, and a round foot. The intricate Indian Tree design is etched on the bowl, making this crystal the perfect complement to Indian Tree-Coral china. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Duncan & Miller got its start in 1865, when George Duncan bought the Ripley & Company glass factory and created Duncan & Sons, a partnership between Duncan and his sons, Harry B. Duncan and James E. Duncan, and his son-in-law, Augustus H. Heisey. Later, John Ernest Miller joined the company as a designer, and, during the next 52 years, would become world renowned for his glass designs. Around 1892 Augustus Heisey left Duncan & Sons to start his own glass company in Newark Ohio. The period from 1893 to the closing of the plant in 1955 is generally known as the Duncan-Miller period, although the partnership was not official until 1900, when the firm was incorporated as Duncan & Miller Glass Company. The handmade glass at the Duncan & Miller Glass Company was distinguished by the artistry of design, the skill of the workers, the batch formulas, and the lovely colors of their glassware. Many of the Duncan & Miller pieces required ten or more people to create each piece. Duncan & Miller ceased production in 1955, as machines and assembly lines made the production of handmade glass not profitable. Duncan & Miller glass is now highly sought by collectors.

Towle Benjamin Franklin is an exquisite fiddle-shaped sterling pattern with a shell motif, a scalloped tip, an outlined, beveled edge, and a glossy finish. The elegant, clean look of the Benjamin Franklin design works well with the more intricate Indian Tree designs by Duncan & Miller and Coalport. The history of Towle Silver is rooted in the Moulton family of England. Starting with William Moulton II, a tradition of craftsmanship and artistry would be built by six generations of Moultons, including William Moulton IV, who would apprentice a young Anthony F. Towle. After years of diligent study, Anthony decided to start his own business upon the retirement of William IV. Using the knowledge he had acquired working with the Moulton family, Anthony Towle and partner William P. Jones would buy the Moulton family stock to form Towle & Jones, Co. in 1857. The company found firm footing and a warm reception in the silver industry and market at large. Production of the first Towle hollowware lines (tea sets and other pieces) began in 1890, and Towle gained recognition for fine craftsmanship in the many years that followed. Patterns like Candlelight, produced since 1934, and Old Master, produced since 1942, have consistently drawn hordes of dedicated followers. Today, Towle embodies all of the original principles set forth by the Moulton family, and used so wisely by Anthony Towle. The Towle Silver legacy of great craftsmanship, beautiful design, and quality will ensure its continued success in the silver tableware market.

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