JHC Collection Spotlight: Silver Tea Set by Tiffany Designer Edward C. Moore

One of the most exceptional pieces in our collection is a stunning sterling silver Tiffany Tea and Coffee set originally given as a gift by Mr. and Mrs. Henry Evelyn Pierrepont (photo below) to their son John Jay Pierrepont I (1849-1923) and his wife Elise de Rham (1850-1879). The Pierreponts were one of the most prominent families in Brooklyn during the 19th century and their impact on real estate is still felt today as noted in this recent New York Times article.

The repousse ensemble is monogrammed and includes a hot water kettle, creamer and sugar bowl each decorated with ornate clusters of meandering grapes and vines on a stippled background with shell, scroll, water leaf, chevron and ribbed motifs. The elegant set was presented on the occasion of John and Elise’s wedding on October 26, 1876. The pieces bear the maker’s mark “M” signifying that the design was created by Edward C. Moore. Moore was the chief silver designer for Tiffany and he led the company to new pinnacles of success and recognition during his 4 decade-long tenure there from 1851- 1891. An exhibition of Moore’s creative genius “Collecting Inspiration: Edward C. Moore at Tiffany & Co.” is currently on exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through October 20th.

We are indebted to Pierrepont descendants Charlotte Jack Redden and the late Ellen Griffen Samples for this magnanimous donation. Family heirlooms like this silver service illuminate traditions in 19th century painting and decorative arts as experienced by one of New York’s pre-eminent families. Similarly the details contained in original correspondence shed light on historical events and real individuals as we study our whole history in all its complexity.