Effie Downes Ward was an artist and jeweller working on her own account from home. She was born in 1874 (died 1960). Her father, Arthur John Ward was a machinist employing six people and the family lived in Yardley, near Acock’s Green in Birmingham.
Effie Ward’s silver and enamel ware produced at the Birmingham School of Art received a special commendation from William Lethaby in his 1900 Examiner’s Report. He described a piece of her work as ‘a really careful piece of craftsmanship. She exhibited jewellery and enamels professionally at the annual RBSA exhibitions beginning in 1901 and by 1903 she was exhibiting at the national Arts and Crafts Exhibition at the New Gallery in London. The Studio Magazine, June 1903, gave particular praise to the ‘beautiful little mirror in copper gilt, set with turquoises … enamelled by Miss Effie Ward.’ Ward exhibited a number of jewels and enamels in the 1906 Arts and Crafts Exhibition also.
Ward had a close working relationship with Arthur and Georgie Gaskin. As Glennys Wild states: ‘Effie Ward was a star pupil and enameller. The Gaskins lived in Acocks Green and so did she.’A pendant by Georgie Gaskin and enamelled by Effie Ward, dating from 1903, is a fine example of this collaboration. The painted enamel depicts a small girl with her arms outstretched against a background of scrolling leaves.A pendant of identical design but with a stone set chain and a heart shaped drop was exhibited at The Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society in 1903 and illustrated in the European Arts Journal Der Moderne Stil in the same year. The Arts and Crafts exhibition entry credits Ward with the enamelling of this piece.
I am grateful to the unpublished thesis of Dr Sally Hoban, 2013, for this information on Ward.