A Victorian  silver novelty three-piece condiment set, by Dee Bros, London 1861, on a later Britanni
Lot 211
A Victorian silver novelty three-piece gorilla condiment set, by Dee Bros, London 1861, on a later Britannia standard tray, maker's mark JHS overstriking another, London 1923,
Sold for £15,600 (US$ 24,366) inc. premium

Lot Details
A Victorian silver novelty three-piece gorilla condiment set,
by Dee Bros, London 1861, on a later Britannia standard tray, maker's mark JHS overstriking another, London 1923,
each piece modelled as a seated Gorilla holding a shot-gun, the mustard pot with hinged chest and gilt interior, engraved to underside of base "M", the salt and pepper pots with drilled removable heads, engraved to underside of base "S" and "P" respectively, the tray of trefoil form with three leaf capped scroll handles, , height of mustard pot 12.5cm, weight 40oz.

Footnotes

  • This design may be based a story relating to Paul du Chaillu (1837-1903) an American 19th century explorer, who, in 1856 spent three and a half years exploring a large section of the Gabon coast. On his return to New York he wrote the story of his discoveries; ‘Explorations and Adventures in Equatorial Africa; with accounts of the manners and customs of the people, and of the chase of the gorilla, crocodile, leopard, elephant, hippopotamus and other animals’, published by Harper Bros in 1861. He had been the first white man to see and hunt a gorilla.

    One story told was of a hunting expedition and a ‘Killer Gorilla’. Du Chaillu was out with a group of natives, they split in different directions and after a while he heard the “tremendous roar of the gorilla…. instinctively we made for the spot…. the poor brave fellow who had gone off alone was lying on the ground in a pool of his own blood…beside him lay his gun, the stock broken, and the barrel bent almost double. In one place it was flattened, and it bore plainly the marks of the gorillas teeth.....this huge gorilla thought the gun was his enemy, so he had seized it and dashed it on the ground...not satisfied, had taken it up again and given it a tremendous bite…”

    His book was treated with shouts of derision, ‘Mr, Mrs & Miss Gorilla’ become a common jest and Paul du Chaillu became known as a fanciful storyteller. The only people to defend him were Harper bros and the Royal Geographical Society in the UK. Gradually later explorers confirmed each of his discoveries.

Saleroom notices

  • The later tray is crested within a central circular reserve. The retailers mark JHS is overstriking the maker's mark.
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