Art nouveau, Arts and crafts
Price range: Sold
For sale is this really lovely, good sized, gem of a box by Frances Harling. The box is hand hammered and has applied stylised rowan berries and leaves. Both base and lid are fully hallmarked for Frances Harling, London 1935. It is a good gauge of silver and in excellent condition.
Frances Harling is hardly known at all but my research casts a new light on her and her sister, Amy. Frances Harling was born Frances Charlotte Wilkins in around 1878. Preceeding her by two years was her older sister, Amy Alice Wilkins. Their father was a boot retailer. In the 1901 census Amy is listed as a sculptress and is recorded as exhibiting two sculptures in 1905 at the Society of Women Artists Exhibition. She was trained at the Central School of Art.
In 1907 Amy married Julius Sandheim (she was not born into the Sandheim as if frequently reported) and so, through marriage, became the jeweller Amy Sandheim, within this established jewellery family. In the 1911 census Amy is listed as a jewellery assistant. Her story post 1918 is well known, establishing a highly successful shop in Notting Hill and designing wonderful jewellery similar in style to her friends Sybil Dunlop and Dorrie Nossiter.
Her sister, Frances, biography is harder to unpick but it seems she must have followed her older sister Amy into the jewellery business, most likely as her assistant. Unlike Amy there is no record of where she trained and in 1908 she married a butler, Robert Francis Harling. In the 1911 census she is listed as an assistant boot seller to her father.
By 1922 Frances has registered her own mark at the London assay office and by the 1930’s is listed as having her own jewellery shop at 85 Heath Street, Hampstead, now an interior design gallery. See images. Frances mark is often confused with Fernand Hauville who this research now shows did no work for Sandheim, it was her sister who produced work of similar design.
This silver box represents perhaps one of the very best pieces identified to Frances Harling and would no doubt have been sold through her store in Heath Street. Her business certainly continued into the 1940’s, more research is ongoing.
Maker: Frances Harling
Designer: Frances Harling
Date : 1935
Marks: FH, London, 1935
Material: Sterling silver
Size: 10.5cm diameter, 8.5 cm tall
Weight : 9.6 oz, 270 grams