I am delighted to finally have some really good, rare, Dryad / Collins & Co silver from Leicester – where I grew up.
Dryad was a commercial venture, similar to the Guilds that were established, set up in 1907 by Harry Peach, who in turn was highly influenced by Benjamin Fletcher who headed the Leicester School of Art. The two institutions retained close links and overlapping personnel for their duration. Leicester itself was an active outpost of the arts and crafts movement with Ernest Gimson and John Paul Cooper starting their careers in the town.
Dryad originally focussed on cane furniture and a separate venture Collins & Co, set by William Pick in c 1908, focussed on metalwork. Pick was a former student of Leicester School of Art whose father had also taught there. He was also a good friend of Peach and in 1912 Collins was subsumed by Dryad as Dryad Metalwork. Dryad silver therefore was always assayed, like these napkin rings, for Collins & Co, and then typically stamped Dryad, at least after 1912.
These napkin rings are assayed Collins & Co, Birmingham 1911 and 1912 and therefore likely pre-date the formal merger with Dryad. Dryad/Collins silver is generally rare, their metalwork more typically seen in copper, with spoons normally the only items found in silver. Hence these napkin rinks are a real rarity, further enhanced by the use of a single amethyst set into each ring. The 1911 ring has knot decoration, the 1912 ring a wreath decoration and slightly darker amethyst.
The napkin rings were acquired together from an old estate and carry the same date but have slightly varying design and one year date difference. I am nevertheless selling together as a pair. The designer and maker is unknown but they were quite likely designed by Pick, and made by, or under the tutelage, of Sidney Reeve, who joined Leicester School of Arts from the Guild of Handicraft in c. 1906.
More information on Dryad can be found at this link
Maker: Collins & Co (later Dryad Metalwork)
Date : 1911/12
Marks: C&Co, Birmingham, date letter “m”, “n”
Material: Sterling silver, amethyst
Condition: Very good
Size: 4.5cm diameter, 2.9 band width
Weight : 1.3 oz, 37 grams combined