The Newport Art Museum will welcome Elizabeth Williams, David and Peggy Rockefeller, Curator of Decorative Arts and Design at the RISD Museum for the seventh and final lecture in their 88th annual Winter Speaker Series on Saturday, February 20 at 2pm in the Museum's Griswold House at 76 Bellevue Avenue, Newport.


Davis joined the RISD Museum in 2013 as Curator of the European, American, Modern and Contemporary collections of furniture, ceramics, silver, glass, enamel and metal work from the 7th - 21st centuries.


Williams will speak on the work and legacy of Providence's acclaimed design and manufacturing company in her talk entitled "Reflections on an American Innovator: Gorham Silver". Describing silver produced by the Gorham Manufacturing Company as superbly elegant, perfect in design and execution, the Providence Journal boldly claimed in 1850 that the wealth of our city will see that it need not go abroad for the most luxurious ornaments for the table. What was founded as a small shop by Jabez Gorham in 1831 in Providence, Rhode Island, rapidly expanded to become one of the nations leading producers of silver in the late 19th century. At the height of Gorham's powers, its designs were celebrated nationally and internationally at worlds fairs. The company was commissioned to create everything from public presentation pieces and military awards to one-of-a-kind showstoppers for use in the private dining rooms of Americas elite. The resulting works reveal both an arc of uniquely American design and the aspirations of a youthful nation and its magnates. Acquired by the Rhode Island School of Design Museum in 1909, an appropriately-themed diminutive silver spoon with a chased handle in the shape of a harpoon and bowl formed as a whale swimming in waves became the first of 4,525 Gorham works now owned by the RISD Museum. The Museum is home to the largest single collection of Gorham silver including design drawings, bronzes, medals, jewelry, and furniture. Follow the transformation of this small local design company into a world-renowned firm with decorative arts scholar, Elizabeth Williams.


Individual Lecture Tickets and Series Subscriptions: Individual tickets for the lecture can be purchased at or by calling 401.848.2787.

Individual tickets: $15 ($10 members, $6 students)

Series Subscriptions: $90 ($60 members)

Winter Speaker Series Sponsors: The Winter Speaker Series is generously sponsored by Ronald L. Fleming,Pamela & Lee Bakalarski,Cynthia A. Sinclair,The Hope Foundation,Ronald & Johanna Becker,George & Anita Furbish,Richard & Anne Hunt,Mary M. Jennings,Cliffside Inn, and Russell Morin Catering & Events.