Art nouveau, Arts and crafts
£1,000 – 5,000
For sale is this really good, rare, and authentic arts and crafts silver and copper photo frame. The front of the frame is very much in the style of A E Jones with silver flower roundels set on a copper background and silver surround to the copper edges. The back of the frame is altogether more classically authentic arts and crafts than Jones typical work, and is very much in the style of Jesson Birkett & Co who had strong links to A E jones – see below. The back panel of the frame is held with simple “L shaped” catches and hinged with wirework fixings that are also classically Jesson Birkett. Quite possibly this is a c 1905 one off Jones frame made by one of his workers as a special commission, trained at the Birmingham Guild of Handicraft or Jesson Birkett.
The frame is in excellent original condition with just the odd patch of staining/discolouration to the front – see images – of no great significance. It is a good size and very heavy.
The story of Jesson, Birkett & Co starts with Faulkner Bronze Company. It was formed in formed in 1901 by the Directors, Fred. G. Faulkner, Thomas Birkett and Arthur. G. Jesson.
Thomas Birkett was a former member of the Birmingham Guild of Handicraft and he was joined at Faulkner Bronze Company by other former Guildsmen, John Webster and A. E. Williams. Also at Faulkner Bronze was Spencer Humphrey, known for his repousse work, and designers, Bert Harvey and Anne Grisdale Stubbs. Anne was a star pupil and gold medallist at the Birmingham School of Art. She later married Thomas Birkett.
The firm was reconstituted as Jesson, Birkett & Co in 1904 when Fred Faulkner retired. The firm continued to make the most exquisite copper and mixed metal inkwells, cigarette boxes and light fittings, often using older Richard Llewellyn Rathbone designs. Anne G. Stubbs was clearly a key designer for the firm and her work was often illustrated in The Studio. The firm tended to use either enamels or Ruskin Pottery roundels for decoration.
Albert Edward Jones knew Thomas Birkett from his days at the Birmingham Guild of handicraft. He also knew Anne Grisdale Stubbs from the Birmingham School of Art. There is definitely a period between 1904 and 1910 where Jones was making many of Jesson. Birkett & Co’s designs although the full nature of the business relationship is not well understood. The firm wound up in 1910. With thanks to Dave at www.hammerandhand.co.uk for this information.
Maker: A E Jones/Jesson Birkett (attributed)
Designer: A E Jones/Jesson Birkett (attributed)
Date: c. 1905
Material: Sterling silver, copper
Condition: Very good
Size: 27.5 cm x 22.75 cm (interior window 19.75 x 15 .0 cm)
Weight: Very heavy!