New hallmark of women silversmith sisters uncovered

A lucky, if educated guess, and the help of the Birmingham Assay Office, has led to the rediscovery of Effie and Eleanor Ward, working together as jewellers/silversmiths.  Their mystery E&EW mark was registered at the Birmingham Assay Office on 7th March 1902, exactly the same day as Bernard Cuzner and Alfred H Jones registered their mark – I assume they all went to the assay office as a group of friends. Effie is best known for her enamels and as assistant to Arthur and Georgie Gaskin.  The mark is on a lovely, classic set of arts and crafts spoons. See more details at this link.

When is a tea caddy a biscuit box?

When is a tea caddy a biscuit box?  When it says so on the original water colour design drawing!  Originally catalogued by me as a tea caddy this Artificers Guild silver and copper “caddy”, is infact a biscuit box.  The original watercolour for this box can be found in the Artificers Guild Archive held at Goldsmiths Hall, Box G, item 2474.   It is initialled ES for Edward Spencer and in what is probably his handwriting says “of a size to hold a pound of biscuits”.  It is also inscribed “copper bronzed” in keeping with the patina still found on this piece.  The watercolour is shown in the images at this link.

Artficers Guild silver

Artficers Guild silver and copper tea caddy

Peartree Collection features in the Daily Telegraph

It’s fair to say I don’t always agree with the Daily Telegraph but on this occasion their advice is spot on……this is extracted from a full page spread in today’s Telegraph.

Daily telegraph peartree collection

Daily Telegraph jewellery feature with Peartree Collection

Antiques Trade Gazette features The Peartree Collection

Guild of Handicraft mirror, Charles ashbee mirror

Guild of Handicraft Ashbee hand mirror

This week’s issue of the Antiques Trade Gazette previews BADA, including The Peartree Collection’s very special Ashbee hand mirror for the Guild of Handicraft.

Those on the look-out for museum-level purchases might also seek Anthony Bernbaum of The Peartree Collection, who offers a Guild of Handicraft silver and enamel hand mirror by Charles Ashbee.

It features striking peacock enamel to the back and is hallmarked for 1903. Until now, the only other known example was in Cheltenham’s Wilson Museum.

The mirror is one of a number of pieces Bernbaum will exhibit by Ashbee and Archibald Knox, whom he describes as “two of the most collectable designers from the Arts & Crafts period around 1900”.”

A calculator to see if your silver with ivory meets the 10 per cent de minimis test

In a matter of months the UK government is likely to introduce legislation that will restrict the sale, import or export of any (silver) item which has, by volume, more than 10% ivory (excludes musical instruments).  The detailed legislation is still to be worked out but I have built a simple spreadsheet you can plug in your silver item’s weight and measurements of ivory components to calculate whether the piece meets the likely de minimis rule.  If you would like a version please contact me.