See What Inspired Tiffany & Co. Silver Designer Edward C. Moore

MajorsJun 24, 2024

See What Inspired Tiffany & Co. Silver Designer Edward C. Moore

A collection of the silversmith’s personal objects, as well as items created during his time at Tiffany, are on display at the Met.

Tiffany & Co. silver tea set
Crafted in 1866-1867, this silver, silver gilt, and ivory tea set is described in Tiffany & Co. records as “Moresque.” It served as an early example of the influence Persian designs had on longtime Tiffany & Co. silversmith Edward C. Moore. A collection of objects belonging to Moore is currently on display at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. (© The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2024)
New York—Edward C. Moore, the creative force who brought international recognition to Tiffany & Co.’s silver business in the second half of the 19th century, now has his own exhibition.   

“Collecting Inspiration: Edward C. Moore at Tiffany & Co.” opened June 9 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, better known as the Met, in New York.

According to information provided by the Met, Moore (1827-1891) was the oldest of five children. 

He trained in his family’s silver-smithing shop and showed promise from an early age, joining his father—a prominent silversmith in his own right—in the partnership John C. Moore and Son in 1849.

In 1851, Tiffany & Co. (then named Tiffany, Young & Ellis) became the exclusive retail outlet for Moore silver.

Shortly thereafter, Moore took over the family business and, in 1868, transferred ownership of the business to the retailer in exchange for cash and shares in the newly incorporated Tiffany & Company. 

Moore became a full-time Tiffany & Co. employee, serving as the retailer’s chief silver designer until he died in 1891, just shy of his 64th birthday.

The “Collecting Inspiration” exhibition features 70 silver objects designed and created at Tiffany under Moore’s direction, including the Bryant Vase (1876), the first American silver piece in The Met’s collection; a silver pitcher from 1874 with an “exquisitely cast” elephant head; and a silver and silver gilt swan centerpiece, also from 1874. 

In addition to Tiffany & Co. silver, the exhibition includes more than 180 items from Moore’s personal collection—ancient jugs, vases, incense boxes, and perfume bottles, along with Murano glass crafted in Italy in the 17th and 18th centuries, and jars, lacquered boxes, and robes from Japan.

According to the museum, in addition to being a silversmith and overseeing the silver designers at Tiffany & Co., Moore was also a significant collector of objects in the decorative arts. 

He sought inspiration from all over the world, and from all time periods. 

Upon Moore’s direction, his family bequeathed more than 2,000 objects and 500 books to the Met after he died so other people could see and learn from them. 

The museum displayed the works together in a dedicated gallery until 1942, when they were dispersed to the specialized departments developed in the decades following.

The exhibition reunites some of these objects, displaying them alongside Tiffany silver created during Moore’s time with the retailer. It also features a number of “seldom-seen” objects a dozen public and private lenders shared with the Met. 

“Collecting Inspiration: Edward C. Moore at Tiffany & Co.” is on view now through Oct. 20 in gallery 199.

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