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Home | Articles | Noteworthy Sales: Sterling Silver Flatware Service

Sold to a private collector at the 2004 Palm Beach Jewelry & Antiques Show
589-piece Francis I Sterling Silver Flatware Service
By Reed & Barton, American, est. 1824
Pattern introduced in 1906
In a custom-made chest: H. 20H", W. 48", D. 30"
Courtesy of M. S. Rau Antiques

Francis I is among the most highly sought-after of sterling silver flatware patterns. This awe-inspiring, 589-piece service for eighteen constitutes the most complete and exceptional set known. The twenty-five different place setting pieces, seventy-three servers, and thirty pieces of hollowware include many rarities for the pattern. Ranging from gumbo spoons to a bon bon server, each piece is hand-chased and adorned with fruit clusters in fifteen different design variations executed in bold ornamental relief.

Reed & Barton designer Ernest Mayer developed the pattern over a period of two years. The pattern was named for Francis of Angouleme (1494–1547), a handsome, talented, and debonair patron of the arts and literature who became King Francis I of France in 1515 upon the death of his uncle Louis XII. His reign was one of splendor, culminating in a dazzling era for the arts known as the French Renaissance.

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