the shaped bowl with finely executed cutwork and period "EJ" monogram, the handle wrapped with a rope and capped by a cast silver polar bear, hallmarked, circa 1870.
2.4 troy oz.
Gorham introduced this design in celebration of the 1867 purchase of Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million. In addition to this historic context for the design, the 1870s saw the increasing demand of the wealthy for fresh, clean ice shipped from New England to the rest of the United States and as far as India. This spoon was meant to accompany a fantastically designed ice bowl in the form of ice blocks dripping with icicles and capped by polar bears. A near identical spoon in the "Arctic" (or Polar) design is in the collection of the Dallas Museum of Art; another example of an ice spoon with Gorham in the "Bird's Nest" pattern is illustrated in Feeding Desire: Design and the Tools of the Table, 1500-2005 published by Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum.