American overlay silver perfume bottle

American overlay silver perfume bottle

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Hand-blown antique American glass perfume bottle overlaid with open-work silver banding and engraved floral decorations.

In 1889, the decorative technique of applying sterling silver designs to glass was patented by Oscar Pierre Erand and John Benjamin Round for Stevens & Williams Ltd in Birmingham and silver overlay found its first wave of popularity in the early 1900s.

Sterling silver was applied to glass by a chemical method so that a cut-out design of silver metal appears against a clear or coloured glass background. Where the silver was thick enough a silversmith might further embellish the piece with hand engraving.

From 1895 to the early 1920s the art of silver overlay had a fervent following and became a decorative rage. It was particularly popular in America. The silver designers would choose patterns that complemented the piece, for instance this perfume flask is decorated with swirling flowers, where a waterscape of bulrushes might decorate a water jug, or a wine jug could feature intertwining grapevines.


Height 150 mm / 6"
Diameter 100 mm / 4"