A sterling silver gilt 'Borghese' soup tureen, Maison Odiot, Paris, late 20th century, the tureen of classical form with a pair of handles mounted with winged putti figures and a butterfly finial to its cover, raised on a broad platform base with paw feet, finely chiselled and chased with neo-classical decoration throughout, 22 cm high, 2,354g
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- Tureen - Circular or oval, deep, covered bowl, used from the early 18th century for serving soup, sauce, vegetables or stew. As well as silver, tureens are also made in porcelain, pottery, and silver plate, Sauce tureens are smaller, plainer versions. The name derives from the French "terrine", meaning 'earthen vessel',
- Chasing - The method of decorating gold and silver objects using a punch and hammer so that the design appears in relief. Flat or surface chasing is done from the front giving the item definition, but not cutting into the metal.
Chasing is the opposite technique to repousse, but an object that has repousse work, may then have chasing applied to create a finished piece.
- Putto / Putti / Amorino / Amorini - A putto (plural: putti) or amerino (plural: amerini) is a cherub or cupid frequently appearing in both mythological and religious paintings and sculpture, especially of the Renaissance and Baroque periods and later used as a decorative element in the design of furniture, ceramics, statuary etc. They are usually depicted as chubby males, or of indeterminate gender, often with wings. Their depiction may represent an association with love, heaven, peace or prosperity.
- Finial - An architectural decoration, found on the upper parts of of an object. On furniture they are usually found on pediments, canopies and shelf supports. On smaller ceramic or silver items, such as spoons, they may decorate the top of the item itself, or the lid or cover where they provide a useful handle for removal.
Finials have a variety of shapes and forms. They may be urn-shaped, baluster shaped round or spiral, but usually taper into an upper point. Many real life shapes may also be used as finials, such as pineapples, berries, pinecones, buds, lotus and acorns. Sometimes animals such as a lion are depicted, or fish and dolphins.
- Neo Classical - The period or style, known as "neo-classical", was based on Greek and Roman designs and motifs, and is usually associated with the influence of the four Adam brothers, but principally Robert Adam, the second oldest of the brothers, who were architects and designers, active in the latter half ot the 18th century (1760s to 1790s).
Born in Scotland in 1728, Robert Adam spent time in Italy studying and his designs are influenced by the finds made during the excavation of Pompei.
When he returned to England he became the Court Architect to George III (1738-1820).
In turn, designs by Adam then influenced Hepplewhite.
Neo-classical ornamentation is characterised by use of classical urns, palmettes, mythical creatures such as the sphinx and griffin, ram's heads, swags, scrolling foliage, and use of the Greek key pattern.
- Sterling Silver - Sterling silver is a mixture of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% of another metal, usually copper. Fine silver is 99.9% pure silver, and is relatively soft and the addition of the very small amount of copper gives the metal enough strength and hardness to be worked into jewellery, decorative and household objects.
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