Art nouveau, Arts and crafts
£1,000 – 5,000
A beautiful Edgar Simpson opal set buckle. The buckle in two parts connected with chains. The main buckle parts each depicting a classic Simpson motif of what are think are gudgeon fish and dolphins in a circular pattern, connected with matching fish/dolphin chains each set with an opal. The buckle is not assayed but is sterling silver and each main part of the buckle carries Simpson’s distinctive ES monogram.
The buckle is large at 15 cm total length, and each main part with diameter 5.5 cm. The main roundels are hollow and made of two part of silver soldered together. Overall the buckle is in very good condition. The silver front parts of the buckle are in excellent condition. The opals are still very bright with one suffering a chip/loss. The soldering of the clasp and chain to the back of the buckle is quite crude but I believe all original with some small bruises to the silver.
Asides its rarity and design this buckle is all the more exciting as the original design drawing for the buckle is held by the Metropolitan Museum New York in one of Simpsons sketch book. See images.
Edgar Gilstrap Simpson was born in 1867 and died 1945. He was a jeweller, silversmith, sculptor, photographer
Born in Basford, Nottingham. He was the son of Henry Simpson (born c.1835 in Basford, Nottingham), lace manufacturer and of Elizabeth Gilstrap (born in Newark, Nottinghamshire). He married Berthe Sillig at the British Consulate, Lausanne, Switzerland on 24 June 1903. Simpson worked first in the lace trade and then became a craftsman and silversmith, establishing a workshop in Nottingham. He exhibited widely to great acclaim. There are examples of his jewellery in the collection of Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and an album (with 34 leaves) of his designs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. During the 1930s Simpson worked as a photographer in the Waterloo area of Liverpool.
Elyse Zorn Karlin (Jewelry & Metalwork in the Arts & Crafts Tradition. London, 1993.): wrote of Simpson “Simpson worked between 1896-1910 in a simple style, somewhat similar to C.R. Ashbee. His work, some of which was exhibited in 1902 at the Vienna Secession exhibit, often took the form of curved wirework (whiplash) pendants with enamel. Other pieces by Simpson include: silver cloak clasps, gold pendants set with opal and amethysts, silver pendants, brooches, buttons with enamel, and a pendant with an opal in matrix. Dolphins and other marine animals were familiar motifs in his work. Simpson designed for Charles Horner and other firms. He designed some pieces in the Glasgow style which were exhibited in Vienna. Charles Rennie Mackintosh had recommended him to Josef Hoffman of the Wiener Werkstätte when Mackintosh was unable to fill a request himself.”
Maker: Edgar Simpson
Designer: Edgar Simpson
Date: c. 1900
Marks: ES. Not assayed
Material: Sterling silver, opal
Condition: Very good, see description
Size: Total lengthth 15 cm, 5.5 wide
Weight : 56 grams, 2.0 oz