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American Decorative Arts
Manufacturer: Derby Silver Company, 1872–1981

Napkin Ring

1880–90

Silver-plated white metal

3 1/2 × 3 1/8 × 1 7/8 in. (8.89 × 7.938 × 4.763 cm)
Gift of Stephen Kobasa in memory of his wife, Vincentena, from her collection
2008.213.1
This napkin ring was produced by the Derby Silver Company and reflects the “Japan craze” that swept America in the 1870s and 1880s. The ring is supported by a swallow and a fan, emblems that consumers would have interpreted as Japanese. Despite the Asian references, the form was an essential feature of the Victorian dining room. Napkin rings date from the 1830s and became popular as dining equipment proliferated at midcentury. This example, executed in silver plate, would have appealed to upper middle-class consumers wishing to add fashionable exoticism to their table. 
Geography: 
Made in Shelton, Connecticut
Status: 
On view
Culture: 
American
Period: 
19th century
Classification: 
Containers - Metals
Provenance: 

Vincentena Kobasa, Seymour, Connecticut; by inheritance to Stephen Kobasa, Seymour, Connecticut.

Bibliography: 

“Acquisitions 2009,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2009): 133.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.