BATF announces winner of its Jubilee silverware competition.

BATF are delighted to announce Tim Lukes of Lukes & Co as the winner of its silverware competition to commemorate Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June 2022.

Launching the competition last December, the BATF invited submissions from UK-based designers and silversmiths based on the theme of ‘plant a tree for the Jubilee’. The BATF received a wonderful variety of pieces, and the judging panel remarked about the high-quality of entries.

Find out more about the Lukes family business here : History – Lukes & Co (lukesandco.co.uk)

BATF President Andrew Hinds, from Jewellers F Hinds, commented on the first ever selected CAD rendered submission,

“A beautifully presented submission which enables the judge to visualise the finished attractive piece perfectly.”

Here is a detailed snippet of Tim’s design:

On judging Tim’s piece, Gordon Hamme stated,

“This design has most carefully followed the brief in a thoughtful, professional, and practical way. The methodology has been strongly considered to achieve the best system of fabrication and has been rendered well in CAD.”

Fellow judge Marie Brennan of Birmingham Assay Office responded,

“Tim’s entry is a beautiful design which will be a statement piece. What I love about this design is that it is timeless, and it will be a functional piece to add to the BATF’s stunning historical Silver Collection.”

page2image54943456

Tim will be making the commissioned piece over the coming weeks, using fine silver manufactured from 100% recycled material contributed by Cooksongold. Upon completion, it will be hallmarked by Birmingham Assay Office and will include the first use of BATF’s new sponsor mark.

See more on the history of BATF and its silverware collection here: BATF-Our History
The piece will then be unveiled at the National Association of Jeweller’s Summit in June before being displayed within BATF’s prestigious silverware collection.

 

GRAHAM STEWART’S BEQUEST BLOSSOMS by John Andrew

Many members of the Silver Society may be familiar with Graham Stewart and his work as he exhibited at Goldsmiths’ Fair every year from 1986 through to 2018. He was the Fair’s longest serving exhibitor. At the 2019 Fair, his usual stand was eerily vacant indicting that all was not well. It transpired that he was too ill to attend the event as he had bowel cancer. By early 2020 he was winding-up his business. I agreed to purchases his Mobius Bowl, considered by many to be his masterpiece, for The Pearson Silver Collection.

 Mobius Bowl 

This is one of Graham’s most admired pieces, which accompanied the Silver of the Stars (see body copy) for its ¾-million-mile world tour. The rim of the bowl is a Möbius strip. Imagine the rim is a strip of a flexible material with two sides. By holding one end and twisting the other through 180˚ and then joining them together creates a loop with only one surface. Google ‘mobius strip’ and you can watch a video showing how you can create your own with a strip of paper. The is a stunning reflective piece of silver. Diameter 15½in. Edinburgh 2005. Courtesy The Pearson Silver Collection, photographer Shannon Tofts

Subsequently Graham offered me the entire contents of his workshop as it was his wish that it should be an educational resource to support emerging silversmiths. I considered that the obvious home was the Incorporation of Goldsmiths in Edinburgh, The e-mail was sent to Ebba Goring then the Incorporation’s Director who is the now Chief Executive of The Scottish Goldsmiths Trust (SGT) to which the Incorporation’s charitable work has been transferred..

No time was lost by Tom Murray, the Incorporation’s Deacon, contacting Hugo Burge at Marchmont House. In 2005, the Burge family, who own much of the former Marchmont Estate, acquired the house which had been used as a nursing home. The institutionalising of the building had degraded the interiors of what is one of Scotland’s most important, but least known, country houses.

Marchmont House – The front of Marchmont House, a ‘Grade A’ listed Palladian mansion built in 1750

The restoration and refurbishing of the house started in 2011 and in 2018 it won the Historic Houses/Sotheby’s restoration award. The objective was – wherever possible to use local craftsmen. During the process Hugo was struck by the ‘remarkable talents’ of people involved – the trade, craftspeople and artists. ‘It really planted this seed that has now become the kernel of what we are doing at Marchmont – a purpose to make a home to makers and creators,’ he said.

Drawing Room – Marchmont House’s fully restored Drawing Room

Whilst Marchmont House itself is the hub of Hugo’s dream of celebrating and supporting creativity. The project also embraced the whole estate and the potential to give other derelict buildings a purpose. On 1 July 2020, its first additional such home opened by converting the estate’s old coach house into a studio, workshop, display and communal area for two young makers of rush-seated chairs. Studios have now also been provided for artists and a pottery studio is in hand, so the Incorporation’s proposal to Marchmont could not have been better timed. 

The Marchmont Silversmithing Workshop will be based in the estate’s large old kennels. There is a nearby cottage that could be accommodation for the master silversmith. The workshop could take up to three emerging silversmiths at a time. Additionally it will also provide space for short-term residences, enabling silversmiths to focus on a specific commission or international exchanges.

Marchmont Studios – The courtyard around which there are artists’ studios

The project is being led by the SGT, with support from Marchmont House Creative Spaces and the William Grant Foundation.  The plans are complete and Marchmont would like to break ground in the Spring of 2022, with a build estimate of six months followed by fit-out of three months with a formal opening in March 2023. There is further information on the logistics of the project on the SGT site at https://scottishgoldsmithstrust.org/marchmont-silversmithing-workshop

STEWART TEAPOT

Hannah’s tea kettle with a swing overhead black wood handle was one of three pieces Graham entered into the exhibition Silver and Tea: a perfect blend staged by the Goldsmiths’ Company in London from 28th May to 3rd July 1998. Teapots were a fascination of Graham’s over his career as he strived to design ‘the perfect one’. The model for this design had been placed on a table that he often passed when he noticed his small daughter Hannah had placed a small bird on the lid. The piece here was not the one in the exhibition, but was made the year afterwards. In this later example, the bird is encased in black wood, whereas the original one was just silver. Ht 8¼in. Edinburgh 1999. Courtesy The Pearson Silver Collection, photographer Bill Burnett

GRAHAM STEWART    ENGRAVED BOWL

This is one of the last pieces of silver Graham designed and made and the last piece he specifically made for an exhibition. Possessing an innate love of nature and inspired and nourished by the landscape that surrounded his home, it was inspired by a group of spring lapwings he saw in flight. Engraved with the words Lapwings in Spring in his cursive script around a stylised bird, it is an object of great beauty. It was exhibited in Lettering Art & Illusion at Ruthin Craft Centre in North Wales from 19 October 2-9 – 12 January 2020. The interior of the bowl is matt, while its exterior is highly polished. Diameter 9ins, Edinburgh 2019.  Courtesy The Pearson Silver Coillection, photographer Shannon Toft

GRAHAM STEWART HONEYPOT 

It is sometimes strange how objects originate. Graham had made money boxes in the form of pillar boxes for a client to give to his grandsons. When granddaughters arrived, the client felt that money post boxes were not appropriate for little girls. After some thought, Graham proposed one in the form of a beehive or skep. The client liked the idea and ordered three. A beekeeper saw one and commissioned a honeypot in the same style designed to take a standard pound jar of honey. When exhibited at Goldsmiths’ Fair in 2011 it was greatly admired by visitors. The interior is gilded and the inside of the cover features a honeycomb. Traditionally skeps were placed on a square short-legged stand raising it just above the ground.  The Collection commissioned a round base with no legs. Height 7.5in. Edinburgh 2018. Courtesy The Pearson Silver Collection, photographer Bill Burnett

Handling Session Gilbert Collection Gold Boxes at the Victoria & Albert Museum, South Kensington 29 November 2021 by Andrew Patterson

With the further postponement of the Society’s rescheduled visit to Salters’ Hall a month or so earlier, this handling session at the V & A, hosted by Alice Minter, of the Gilbert Collection of gold boxes, was the first such event to go ahead since the emergence almost two years ago of covid19 and the restrictions imposed on social interactions that it provoked. Even then it was at risk from the arrival in the UK of the omicron variant and the first throes of winter disrupting train services on the day. However, three groups were scheduled through the day to view and handle a selection of eleven pieces chosen from the collection by Alice and two colleagues.

The collection comprises some 200 or more pieces, mostly snuff boxes, from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, made around Europe including Russia, Switzerland, Germany and mainly France, as well as England, which had been assembled by Sir Arthur and Rosalinde Gilbert through the 1970’s and 1980’s, after their move to Los Angeles. It sits alongside their collection of Gold and Silver, which was the subject of a previous handling session, which Alice also hosted in 2019. (See Newsletter 101) and alongside their collection of Micromosaics, all of which are on permanent loan to the V & A.

My own knowledge and understanding of gold boxes was hitherto a blank canvass. The Gilbert Collection represents the very finest examples of what had become a fashion accessory, perhaps demonstrating wealth or status, and may have been used as personal or diplomatic gifts. Without exception they demonstrate exquisite craftsmanship and the benefit and joy of being able to handle them at this meeting cannot be overstated.

To cover all eleven items that we were privileged to hold is beyond the remit of this account but I would highlight the remarkably detailed chasing of a biblical scene, ‘Rebecca at the well’, on a gold snuff box by Louis Mettayer, and a rectangular gold mounted “verre églomisé” (reverse painted and gilded glass) snuff box by Joseph-Etienne Blerzy of Paris with Roman classical scenes adorning the panels, for their decorative finesse.

Other items to catch the eye included a gold and enamel double compartment snuff box and watch by George Michael Moser of London. Such items were apparently marketed as “toys” rather than snuff boxes, indicating the importance of their playful design over their practical function. Lastly, we saw an enamelled, champlevé gold toothpick case set with diamonds, with compact mirror in the lid and a compartment with a lock of hair, commemorating 1st Baron Ongley with an inscription around the rim. To have a toothpick holder set with diamonds must be close to the height of opulence.

A glimpse at the V & A catalogue for the whole collection reveals that there are many more gems to be found among the other two hundred or so boxes. To have Alice Minter’s and her colleagues’ selection was delight enough but surely the embellishment by her knowledge and exposition of the stories behind them made this visit a truly worthy resumption of the Society’s regular handling sessions.

ECSG VISIT TO KOOPMAN RARE ART

On Monday 20th September 2021, a small group of members from the ECSG visited the premises of London silver dealers Koopman Rare Art.

Koopman Rare Art is one of the world’s leading dealers specialising in antique silver, gold boxes and objects de vertu. The company was founded by brothers Jacques and Eddy Koopman in 1952 and, after trading at the entrance to The London Silver Vaults on Chancery Lane since 1969, Koopman Rare Art has now moved to Mayfair.
The Early Career Group was warmly welcomed with champagne by directors Mr Lewis Smith and Mr Timo Koopman and assistants Chiara Scotto Pasanisi dei Foscarini and Giorgia Zen. After an introduction about the history of the company and its role in liaising with important institutions and collectors, the group was then given a tour of the gallery and discussed highlights in the current collection. Members were then treated to a handling session and were given the opportunity to study rare and interesting pieces ranging in date from the Elizabeth I period to the Regency era. The interactive discussions included manufacturing methods, provenance, hallmarking, design, and so on, with everyone contributing to the lively discussions.

The ESCG visit to Koopman Rare Art

Overall, it was such an enjoyable evening, and wonderful to be able to get together face-to-face with some members meeting in person for the first time! Many thanks indeed to the entire staff at Koopman Rare Art who welcomed and treated us to their collection.

Do spread the word about the group and encourage prospective members to visit our website to learn more about the activities of the Early Career Silver Group including how to join.

The Silver Society Prize for Silversmithing 2021

We are very pleased to announce that the winner is Rebecca Oldfield for her Iris Wall Sconce.

The Iris Wall Sconce was Rebecca’s response to the patterns and structures that she found in microscopic images of the iris of the human eye. In her final piece she has combined the lines and the textures visible in the iris under high magnification. The result is a considered and elegant piece which is both well designed and executed. The judges said that Rebecca’s presentation was detailed, clear, and impressively professional. The research and development that went into her design was evident, with consideration for details like hidden fixings and ease of cleaning. Prototyping the entire piece in gilding metal obviously contributed to the finesse of the ultimate result. They much look forward to seeing how Rebecca’s work develops in the future. Further images of her work can be seen on her website: https://www.rebeccaoldfield.co.uk

Rebecca commented: I am absolutely thrilled to have won the Silver Society Prize for my Iris Wall Sconce which is my largest and most technically challenging piece to date. Winning this award and having the wonderful feedback from the judges means a great deal to me and gives me greater confidence to continue pushing myself and my future designs in silver.

The Silver Society Prize is awarded to a silversmith who is either aged under 35 or is in the first five years of their career as a practicing silversmith.

JERWOOD ARTS FUND MAKERS OPEN SHOWCASES SHEFFIELD’S SILVERSMITHS

Invaluable Tool history, repair and collaboration by Francisca Onumah and Helena Russell is just one of the five makers work displayed as part of the Jerwood Art Fund Makers Open currently on display at Jerwood Space, London.

The exhibition is on display until the 9th April 2022 and will then tour to Newlyn Art Gallery and |The Exchange in summer 2022 before travelling to Aberdeen Art Gallery in autumn 2022.

Helena Russell andFrancisca Onumah

Jerwood Art Fund Makers Open presents new work by Anna Berry, Cecilia Charlton, Jahday Ford, Vicky Higginson and Sheffield’s own Francisca Onumah and Helena Russell. Show casing a broad range of material disciplines including glass, textiles, digital modelling, silversmithing and sculptural installation; the five commissions provide a snap shot of some of the most exciting work produced by UK- based artists and makers. The makers explore common themes across their work. Curated by Harriet Cooper (Jerwood Arts) and Svetlana Panova (Aberdeen Art Gallery).

Francisca and Helena use a box of silversmithing tools as a starting point to explore the history and legacy of Sheffield Silversmithing Industry,
and the makers who have been involved in it. Central to the installation is a collection of five vessels in copper and silver, made collaboratively by Francisca and Helena using some of the tools from the tools box. The display includes images and interviews with three Sheffield based silversmiths David Allison, Kurt Calow and Robert Lamb who have been part of the industry in different capacities throughout most of their careers and all registered customer so Sheffield Assay Office. Through these conversations the artists reflect on the past, present and future of silversmithing and the role of the individual maker within this.

A Marvel to Behold’: Gold and Silver at the Court of Henry VIII

Sumptuous Summits: the meetings of Henry VIII and Francis I

The Silver Society is delighted to share the video of this Zoom Lecture with everyone.
Dr Timothy Schroder gave this fascinating, live lecture twice in June, due to popular demand. The lecture celebrates the 500th anniversary of the start of the famous meeting of Henry VIII and Francis I at the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520. Please click on this link to view.

To buy a copy of Timothy Schroder’s book, ‘A Marvel to Behold’: Gold and Silver at the Court of Henry VIII please click on this link: https://boybrew.co/Marvel