William B. Durgin
American, 1833 - 1905
William Durgin & Son, metalwork (Concord, New Hampshire)
T.G. Hawkes & Co., glasswork (Corning, NY)
Decanter, c. 1900

H. 12 5/8 x W. 6 1/2 (at handle) x D. 6 in.

Like many works of the American Art Nouveau style, this decanter bridges the more opulent and patterned objects of the mid-l9th century with the increasingly simplified designs of the 20th century. William Durgin was well informed of the new movement's stylized floriations through the many European publications and imported works entering the American market at the turn of the century; in fact, he named one of his patterns New Art.

The curvaceous form of the crystal decanter is engraved with a composition of iris blooms (a favorite motif with Durgin). The naturaliste elements (flowers, clinging vines, tendrils and leafage) common to the School of Nancy, the movement's epicenter in eastern France, are respectfully rendered in the gilt repoussé mounts. Such works are based on a thorough analysis of plant morphology and are intended as celebrations if not exaltations of nature.