Designer Jane Hutcheson, charmed by the enameled French porcelain flowers of Vincennes, designed her own in clay, which The Gorham Company contracted to make in metal for their giftware division in the early 1970's. The line was called " Fleurs des Siècles," meaning "Flowers of Centuries" or eternal flowers. It turned out to be one of Gorham's best-selling gift lines.
This example is model number H2, the first design produced and the one that outsold all the other designs. It's a reticulated, gilded porcelain compote, an authentic copy of an 18th century Old Paris one. This green and white arrangement has several larger flowers and a multitude of green leaves, berries and buds. Each one is hand made and hand enameled on gold plate over brass. One of these arrangements is in the English Royal Collection, having been presented to Queen Elizabeth II as a birthday present. This one retains its original green label on the bottom that states "Designed by Jane Hutcheson for Gorham." Later examples had a stamped logo.
The height of this grouping is just under 7 inches, with the height of the vase about 3 1/3 inches and overall width (including the flowers) about 5 inches. It is in excellent condition, with some rubbing to the gilt on the base and a tiny chip where the basket connects the pedestal. The gilding and enameling on the arrangement are fresh and intact. The quality and workmanship of these arrangements is amazing; they truly are made to stay beautiful for years to come. It's a wonderful "forever" collectible and a future antique.
© Linda Henrich
Photo: Wayne Henrich