An exceptional Gilbert Marks large cup or vase

Price range: > £10,000+

For sale is this massive Gilbert Marks vase for Johnson, Walker and Tolhurst silver vase or cup signed by Gilbert Marks and dated ‘96, with London date letter “U” for 1895/6.  It stands 32 cm tall and weighs nearly a kilo.

A photograph of what must be this exact vase was published in Fred Millers book “The training of a craftsman”, published in 1901, page 43, Fig 27. See images.

Gilbert Marks was perhaps the most skilled silversmith of his generation and in his short career produced some magnificent pieces of artistic silver.  Even by these standards this is an exceptional, early, example of his work.  The vase is decorated in repousse  and chased silver with flowering poppies to the vase/cup’s bowl, with the base decorated with budding poppy flowers.  It is a heavy gauge of silver and in excellent condition, the silver has retained the original patina and is a very good colour.  It’s just a perfect example of his finest work. For a video on this item see this link.

The vase can be dated quite narrowly to early 1896.  It must have been made/assayed not only prior to May 1896 when the London date letter shifted to a new series commencing with  “a” for 1896/7 (assay date letters did not correspond to calendar years), but presumably was also marked before 14th March 1896 when Marks’ registered his own G.M mark at the London assay office.

Several contemporary journals of the period featured Marks’ work, and  pieces like this described as “beakers”  feature in an article on Gilbert Marks published in The Artist, July 1898 page 134.

Maker:  Gilbert Marks for Walker and Tolhurst

Designer: Gilbert Marks

Date : 1895/6

Marks: W.W.B.T, London, date letter “U”, Gilbert Marks signature, dated ‘96

Material: Sterling silver

Condition: Excellent

Size: 32 cm tall, max diameter 11.5 cm

Weight : 981 grams, 34.6 oz

SKU: A767-1 Category:


The Magazine Art reviews Marks’ work in January 1897 at an exhibition of his work at 80 Aldersgate Street: “Going direct to nature, he skillfully transfers the blossoms of wild flowers to his graceful cups and other cups. The Art Journal reviews another exhibition of his work in the August of the same year at the the showrooms of Johnson, Walker & Tolhurst, a bowl very similar to the present lot is illustrated. His distinctive style of work received glowing reviews, his work “is exceedingly pleasant to the cultivated eye.”

In the initial period of collaboration with Johnson, Walker and Tolhurst, the objects bore their sponsor’s mark and had Marks’ fascimile signature. Gilbert Marks registered his own maker’s mark of ‘GM’ at Goldsmiths’ Hall in 1896 and he continues the practice of the fascimile. It is interesting that the association with J. W. And T. clearly continues as they are still holding exhibitions of the work. The earliest recorded piece bearing Marks’ signature dates from 1895/6 and the latest from 1902.

F. Miller, ‘Some Gold, Silver, and Coppersmiths,’ Art Journal, November 1896, p.347ff.

‘The Craft of the Silversmith’, The Artist, July 1898, p. 133ff.
‘Gilbert Marks: An Artist in Silver,’ The Magazine of Art, January 1897, p.158ff.
‘The Arts and Indutries of Today,’ Art Journal, August 1897, p251ff.
Obituary, The Burlington Magazine, Vol 7, no 27, June 1905, p.243ff.

Additional information


Arts and crafts