An Effie and Eleanor Ward silver spoon

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A rare and beautiful silver arts and crafts spoon by little known arts and crafts metalworkers Effie Ward and her sister Eleanor Ward. The spoon is of a very elegant and unusual design and is marked for Birmingham 1911 and, until recently, unknown mark E & EW for Effie and Eleanor Ward.

I researched the Ward sisters when I acquired six beautiful teaspoons about a year ago – see A494.  Effie Ward was a well regarded and widely exhibited enameler and jeweller. For a period around 1903-10 she assisted the Gaskins, having been their star pupil at the Birmingham School of Arts. Effie’s solo work is reasonably well known and widely exhibited  at the time. Her full biography is in “additional information”.

Effie’s older sister Eleanor also studied at the Birmingham School of Art and was a full time arts teacher at King Edwards School in Birmingham. She was herself a metalworker,  winning the Hukin and Heath repoussé prize for a hammered and decorated rosewater dish in 1894. Eleanor’s work is far less well known though the Artist Volume 20 Issue: 4 October 1897,  Page 492, illustrates a fine copper and enamel casket by her entered in The National  Competition of Schools of Sciences and Arts.

A collaboration between the two sisters was previously unknown.  Effie Downes and Eleanor Lilly Ward trading from Hazel Dell, Acocks Green, Birmingham registered their E&EW mark on 7th March 1902. They only registered one punch and this was small, probably in keeping with their aspirations as jewellers not silversmiths. Based on the date of this spoon we know that Effie and Eleanor were in partnership until at least 1911.

Interestingly they registered their mark on the same day as Bernard Cuzner and Alfred H. Jones, Cuzner’s shortlived workshop partner.  I think that is unlikely to be a coincidence.  (I am grateful to Craig O’Donnell of the Birmgham Assay Office for this information)

Maker:  Effie and Eleanor Ward

Designer:  Effie and Eleanor Ward

Date: 1911

Marks: E&EW, Birmingham, “m”

Material: Sterling silver

Condition: Excellent

Size: 15.0 cm long

Weight: 36 grams , 1.3 oz

SKU: A659 Category:


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.

Additional information


Art nouveau, Arts and crafts