Art nouveau, Arts and crafts
Price range: £945
For sale is this rare Henry Wilson silver spoon. The terminal is designed using applied silver to form an oak tree with acorns, signifying longevity and faith, and this spoon was probably a gift at a wedding or similar occasion. The heavy gauge handle of the spoon has been flattened from about halfway up the stem to create an almost chiselled effect in the silver. The spoon is hallmarked for 1906 and a good size and gauge. Condition is excellent.
Henry Wilson (1864-1934) is a key figure in the later arts and crafts movement and as both an architect/designer and teacher. He was a leading figure in the establishment of arts and crafts style in jewellery and metalwork after c 1900. He trained such figures as John Paul Cooper and George Henry Murphy.
He was born in West Derby, Liverpool. He studied at Kidderminster School of Art, Westminster School of Art, and the Royal College of Art before training in the offices of the architects, Edward Shrewsbury (to whom an articled pupil), John Oldrid Scott and John Belcher.
From 1888 Wilson was chief assistant to John Dando Sedding and after the latter died in 1891, he completed three important London churches. Wilson shared Sedding’s belief that it was the architect’s sacred duty to unite the crafts. He embodied this principle through the immense versatility of his practice. This included some highly innovative jewellery, a fine collection of which is in the Victoria and Albert Museum.
In the mid-1890s he moved away from built structures towards creating architectural metalwork and sculpture, and spent two years in a foundry learning professional techniques. His monumental and sculptural works include: the monument to Bishop Elphinstone at King’s College, Aberdeen (c.1910–31); and Coventry Council House (1912–1920) where he decorated the council chamber with carvings based on animal and plant life, Lady Godiva, and other historical figures with associated heraldry. His reputation as an outstanding modeller, was affirmed in later life by the great bronze doors for the cathedral of St John the Divine, New York (c.1930).
Wilson was also a committed teacher and was associated with W. R. Lethaby at the Central School of Arts and Crafts and at the Royal College of Art. From 1896 to 1901 he was the first editor of the ‘Architectural Review’. He retired to Paris on the early 1920s and died in some poverty in Menton, France
Any silver metalwork by Wilson is rare and I have seen only two other spoons by him.
Maker: Henry Wilson
Designer: Henry Wilson
Date : 1906
Marks: HW, London, “l”
Size: Length 18 cm
Weight: 55 grams. 1.9 oz