An Ethel Frances Virtue stone set silver cup

Price range: Sold

For sale is this rare arts and crafts cup by rarely seen silversmith and jeweller Ethel Frances Virtue (1865-1958).  The cup is a very good gauge of silver set with eight green stones to the body, and one to the handle.  I think the stones are probably tourmalines.  Virtue exhibited a cup described as a “Silver cup set with green tourmalines” at the 1913 Ghent International Exhibition (see images, exhibit 794, also made by E. Newton).  I think it likeley that this is that cup.

The cup is engraved “Marjorie Joyce Melvill from her grandfather W.M  14th March 1915”

Marjorie Joyce Melvill was born on January 25, 1915 so this is almost certainly a christening cup.  I can find nothing more on her save that her family were wealthy shipping brokers.

Ethel Virtue is a little known amateur silversmith and jeweller.  She was the daughter of George Virtue (who died when she was just 1 year old), a renowned publisher, whose publications included The Artist journal.  Throughout Ethel’s life, based on census filings, she was a “gentlewoman” “living on own means”.  Notwithstanding her apparent amateur status she participated in many exhibitions of the period and was widely reported in journals and magazines of the period, notably “The Queen”. She was active from c 1900 (registering her mark in 1906) at least until 1924 when  she was still exhibiting.

The cup is in excellent condition. It is unusually made as the wreath of silver surrounding the cup has clearly been applied after the cup was assayed, partly obscuring the marks.  Ethel’s maker’s mark is also struck clearly to the base.

Maker: Ethel Frances Virtue

Designer: Ethel Frances Virtue

Date : 1911

Marks: EFV, London,  “q” (part obscure, legible)

Material: Sterling silver

Condition: Excellent

Size: 9 cm high, 7.75 cm diameter excl handle

Weight : 207 grams, 7.3 oz

SKU: A1297-1 Category:

Additional information


Art deco, Arts and crafts