For many years I collected documentation and objects related to the Oneida Community line of silverplate and in 2004 self-published a book, The Community Table, with the results of my research. Subsequently, I was pleased to be able to donate most of the objects I had collected to the Oneida Community Mansion House Museum in Oneida, New York. (For more about this, click on How I Set the Community Table.) Tony Wonderley, the Curator of the Museum collection, has used many of my items in his 2012 exhibit of Oneida advertising and the objects related to the art deco patterns Deauville and Noblesse and the modernist pattern Lady Hamilton.
Names are interesting. The Noblesse and Deauville names have French and aristocratic associations, suggesting the distinctive nature of art deco design.
Both Tony and I had assumed that the pattern name Lady Hamilton referred to the infamous Lady Emma Hamilton who had an affair with Admiral Nelson and was the subject of the 1941 movie That Hamilton Woman, starring Lawrence Olivier as Lord Nelson and Vivian Leigh as Emma. Well, we commoners may have thought that, but a visitor to the exhibit pointed out to Tony that the wife of Grosvenor Allen, one of the designers of the pattern, was Christine Hamilton, so the pattern name is probably a tribute to her.
Oneida offered china and crystal in the Lady Hamilton pattern. This display shows how it looks in an integrated setting.
You can see details of the pieces displayed here. Lady Hamilton Sign
All around the walls, in chronological order, the exhibit displayed the advertising from those years. Even during the Depression years and in the wartime years when Oneida had no silver to sell, the advertising was colorful and represented the work of the best illustrators of the time.
If you have Oneida documentation or objects you would like to donate to the Museum collection, get in touch with Tony Wonderly: awonderley at oneidacommunity dot org (no spam please) or via this blog. It is very satisfying to share your joy in these objects which so clearly reflect the history of a fascinating people and time.