Silver

An Augustus Pugin gothic revival silver cruet stand

Price range: Sold

I am delighted to have for sale this period Augustus Pugin cruet stand made by John Hardman & Co and fully assayed for Birmingham 1851.  This is a rare discovery of a previously undocumented piece that I have traced following extensive research.

The cruet stand is of classic gothic revival design but with quite unusual gothic floral and trefoil motifs.    At the centre of the stand in champleve blue enamel is the family coat of arms of the Gordons’ of Beldorney of Wardhouse, Aberdeen.  The Gordon family were a longstanding wealthy catholic family (the Lairds of Wardhouse). They had strong links to Spain and the sherry industry there.  The 13th Representative of Beldorney was Carlos Pedro Gordon (1813-1856).

Wardhouse is now a derelict estate and as best I can tell has no chapel.  However, I have (finally!) found reference to Pugin’s work for Wardhouse and Carlos Pedro Gordon in Pugin’s published letters (Volume 5, 1851-52, edited by Margaret Belcher, pages 291-4).

On 9th July 1851 Pugin writes to Hardman with an urgent order that includes a “a pair of silver cruets”.  The notes provided to this letter by the editor show that the urgent order relates to a letter of the same date by a Mr D. McDonald. McDonald is writing on behalf of Pedro Carlos Gordon to Pugin asking him to provide a number of items for a small room / chapel within Wardhouse, pending the building of a proper Chapel on the estate, which McDonald dangles as a carrot for Pugin, for what he fears is otherwise too small a commission to garner Pugin’s attention.  In the PS to this letter, McDonald even mentions that the cruets could be provided later than the main order.  McDonald is acting chaplain at the Wardhouse estate at this time.

McDonald’s letter is clearly successful and McDonald’s confirmatory letter to Hardman of 14th July exists confirming the commission, which includes “A set of Cruets and Stand of plated and engraved Metal, one cruet gilt”. I have no doubt that my cruet is one of those pieces ordered (though it is not plate or gilt).  See images for all this correspondence.   The Catholic Directory for the Clergy and Laity in Scotland for 1852 states that “Divine Service is held there [Wardhouse] every Sunday and Holiday while the family of P C Gordon Esq, the proprietor is resident there. A very elegant Chapel has been fitted up in a wing of the Mansion House” To the best of my knowledge no other pieces from this order are known to exist.

Sterling silver designs by Pugin, made in his lifetime, are exceptionally rare and I am delighted to have this Cruet for sale as part of the Collection.

John Hardman & Co was the main metalworking partner of Augustus Pugin, and John Hardman Powell, later married Pugin’s daughter. Augustus Pugin was the leading Victorian architect and designer who popularised the neo gothic style  and designed the Houses of Parliament.

Condition of the cruet is excellent and original.  It is of course missing its cruet bottles. It is a very good gauge of silver.

Maker: John Hardman & Co

Designer:  Augustus Pugin

Date: 1851

Marks: JH & Co, Birmingham, date letter “C”

Material: Sterling silver, enamel

Condition: Excellent

Size: 2.0 cm high, 24.5 cm long

Weight: 280 grams, 9.9 oz

SKU: A1541 Category:

Additional information

Period

Arts and crafts, Gothic revival

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