This centerpiece forms part of a distinguished group of neo-classical silver designed by Gorham in the 1870s and 1880s. Typified by an overall restraint in design, these pieces feature plain surfaces adorned with classical friezes and a preference for square and rectangular forms. They illustrate the enduring popularity of classical design and are in stark contrast to the highly decorated pieces produced by Gorham during the same period.
A number of pieces in this style were manufactured for the extraordinary service ordered by Colonel Henry Furber in the 1870s. When completed, the hollowware and flatware service numbered over 740 pieces. The Furber centerpiece, exhibited at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia in 1876, is illustrated in Charles Venable's Silver in America, p. 158, and a pair of three-foot high candelabra produced in 1879, is illustrated in Charles Carpenter's Gorham Silver, 1982, p. 75.
A centerpiece, probably the present example, is illustrated in Carpenter's Gorham Silver, p. 84. A punch bowl of this design sold at Sotheby's New York, 15 June 1998, lot 1587 and a five-piece dinner service sold in these Rooms, 21 January 2000, lot 296