Being from the South, Silver is a very big part of my life. It doesn't have anything to do with wealth. Although those with more money - old money, tend to have more of it. New money tend not to spend their money on Silver. They do not have the appreciation for the warmth of the metal, the beauty of the patina, the story it tells of the generations past who have used it. A true southern girl comes of age when she chooses her silver pattern, long before she chooses her mate. If she is smart, she chooses that of her mother, grandmother, or favorite great aunt who in their benevolence will pass their silver on to her. It is the pieces in those sets, the pieces on our tables, along with the pieces we find in the corners of the displays in antique stores that prompted me to start this blog. They are beautiful, they are odd, but what are they, and what in the hell do you do with them?
We admire the different patterns of sterling flatware by the different companies, however we need to remember that someone had to create the designs. Each different pattern and, often, pieces within a pattern, are works of art. There are many better known sterling designers, such as J. Russell Price. My favorite, and one of the most famous, is Antoine Heller.
Heller was a French designer. His work was often of the Beaux Arts style. Heller patterns are very intricate in their design. An example, and probably his best known, is Mythologigue, that he created for Gorham. Introduced in 1895, of the 72 pieces in the pattern there are 24 unique designs.
But Heller started with Tiffany, where he was best known for Olympian (1878), another with multiple unique designs within the one pattern. Gorham was so impressed his work, they convinced him to leave Tiffany and design for Gorham.