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His Royal Highness Coffee Service, 1934

This is a Coffee service. It is dated 1934. Its medium is triple electro-plated nickel silver, turned ebony. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Lurelle Guild worked for many corporate clients, producing everything from vacuum cleaners and typewriters to furniture and tablewares. His adaptability to working across media made him covetable as a contracted designer. Guild’s relationship with the metals manufacturer Alcoa was particularly long lasting and prolific, probably due to the publicity gained from this venture, Guild was also hired by International Silver Company to design giftware items. Upon receiving the request from the manufacturer for a “large size after dinner coffeepot…built along tall straight lines similar perhaps to the accepted George I dimensions” Guild produced this “His Royal Highness” coffee set, a play on the style and height of the pieces. [1] Finials and swags, stylized for the 1930’s audience, reeded bases, as well as elongated proportions all reference later Georgian silver. But the particular domed-lighthouse shape of the pot with handle at right angle to the body almost replicates that of the George I period (1715-27) of English silver. The use of silver plating married with this form suggest a mixture of traditional tastes with new audiences.
The functional request for this large size coffee pot is also notable and speaks to the popularity of entertaining at home during the early 1930s, when many Americans did not have the financial backing to dine out as often. Major silver as well as ceramics manufacturers marketed coffee sets particularly with this “after dinner” moniker, showing how social customs influenced the marketing as well as the design of consumer products.

[1] Harrison Corbin, letter to Lurelle Guild, March 8, 1934, “General Files, International Silver Company” folder, box 9, Lurelle Guild Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Library, N.Y. quoted in John Stuart Gordon, A Modern World: American Design from the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2011), 237.

This object was donated by George R. Kravis II. It is credited Gift ift of George R. Kravis II.

Its dimensions are

H x W x D (coffee pot, sugar, creamer, tray together): 32.5 × 40.6 × 35.6 cm (12 13/16 in. × 16 in. × 14 in.)

It has the following markings

Maker signature "Lurelle Guild International Giftware 5864" Tray numbered "5817"

It is signed

Maker signature "Lurelle Guild International Giftware 5864"

It is inscribed

Engraved with the letter "K"

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=His Royal Highness Coffee Service, 1934 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=23 May 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>