Quite a humble item but very interesting for its design and registration number. This Heath and Middleton silver pickle fork is marked for Birmingham, 1900/1, with registration number for the same year (1901). The condition of the fork is very good with crisp marks.
Interestingly the fork design in part matches a known Liberty design by Oliver Baker from 1899, augmented with an original finial in the art nouveau style – and not unlike Knox designs for Liberty at this time. The identical design can be seen on a butter knife in Simon Moore’s book on “Artists’ spoons and related table cutlery”, marked for Levi & Salaman, 1902.
Heath and Middleton were the successor partnership to the founders of Hukin and Heath. This long standing Birmingham firm was highly innovative, employing Christopher Dresser in the 1880’s to do some of his most radical metalwork designs. Throughout the 1880’s and 1890’s they also produced other outstanding aesthetic and novelty silver also. By c 1900 Hukin and Heath had embraced the emerging Birmingham arts and craft (and art nouveau) movements and produced some pieces like these spoons, in keeping with the style of these new movements.
Price range: Reserved
Maker: Heath and Middleton (Hukin and Heath)
Designer: Unknown (part Oliver Baker)
Marks: JTH/JWM, Birmingham, “a”
Material: Sterling silver
Size: 11.5 cm long
Weight: Approx 0.4 oz, 11 grams