Moira Gallagher and Medill Higgins Harvey on Edward C. Moore, Tiffany & Co., and The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Mar 17, 2021

For our March Virtual Dialogue, the Trust had the pleasure of featuring an inspiring young curator, Moira Gallagher, Research Associate for American Decorative Arts in the American Wing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Moira shared the work that she has contributed to an upcoming publication and future exhibition, Collecting Inspiration Edward C. Moore at Tiffany & Co. After her presentation, Moira was joined in conversation with Medill Higgins Harvey, Ruth Bigelow Wriston Associate Curator of American Decorative Arts and Manager of the Henry R. Luce Center, who served as editor of Collecting Inspiration.

Moira began her presentation with a bit of background on Edward C. Moore (1827–1891) before jumping into a thoughtful discussion of objects that are featured in the publication and exhibition. Edward C. Moore served as the head of Tiffany & Co.’s silver division during the latter half of the 19th century. Moira notes, “It was under Moore’s leadership that the firm achieved unparalleled success on a global stage. With its fresh and original designs that were executed through new and innovative techniques.” Amazing objects like The Met’s Magnolia Vase were created under Moore’s leadership. The publication and exhibition highlight Moore’s fascinating collection of decorative arts that was given to The Met after his death in 1891. Moira noted, “To fuel this creative energy and inspire his team of designers, Edward C. Moore amassed an amazing collection of decorative arts from across the world.” Moore’s holdings included objects from ancient Greece and Rome, Asia, Europe, and the Islamic world. Moore hoped to inform and inspire American artists and designers through the study and appreciation of exemplars of historical and international design.

A curatorial team stretching across many departments contributed exceptional analysis to understand how Moore’s collection influenced the objects created by Tiffany & Co. under his leadership. Moira took special care to tell the story of a small Mustard Pot teapot designed by Tiffany & Co. in 1879. Moira stated, “Its decoration certainly captures the firm’s experimental work in exploring Japanese mixed metal techniques.” Thanks to Moira’s thorough research in correspondence and technical manuals, we now know the experimental techniques that were used in the ornamentation of this pot, including the influence of Japanese shakudō wares.

After her presentation, Moira was joined by Medill for a fascinating in-depth discussion of Moore, Tiffany & Co., and the collection’s significance to The Met. The Trust thanks them for sharing their incredible scholarship and time.

Be sure to watch a recording of the program by following the link below to hear more about this fascinating project:


The Decorative Arts Trust hosts monthly virtual dialogues that feature emerging scholars sharing and discussing their exciting new research with a mentor in the field. The hour-long Zoom program includes a lecture, scholar-to-scholar conversation, and Q&A with the program participants.

The Trust’s calendar of events shows upcoming Trust Talks and other virtual and in-person programs. For updates on registration openings, sign up for our e-newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. The Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that appreciates the involvement of members and donors who make programming like this possible.

Update: Collecting Inspiration Edward C. Moore at Tiffany & Co. is now available at The Met Store, and you can read an interview with book editor Medill Higgins Harvey. The timing of the exhibition is not yet set.

About The Decorative Arts Trust Bulletin

Formerly known as the "blog,” the Bulletin features new research and scholarship, travelogues, book reviews, and museum and gallery exhibitions. The Bulletin complements The Magazine of the Decorative Arts Trust, our biannual members publication.


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