Arts and crafts
An outstanding silver and Ruskin set casket by A E Jones, fully hallmarked for Birmingham, 1903. This early work by Jones was until recently only known from its catalogue entry (see image) where it was listed as No 39, “Silver Casket. Lined velvet or cedar. £7“. This casket retains its original velvet lining and is presumably for use as a jewellery box.
The casket is in classic arts and crafts tradition with visible rivets and strapwork. The box is set with ten blue green Ruskin Pottery stones – all original and in excellent condition. The box is manufactured in quite an unusual way, with visible folds to the sheet silver (see image of base). it also closes unusually, whereby the hinge of the front strap lock seals the lid tight. It is a really authentic piece by Jones that is amongst his very best and rarest work.
The box is in excellent antique condition. There are some slight, immaterial, bruises to the lid and the lining has slightly come away from one side of the box interior. The Ruskins are all good.
The casket was made early in the firm of A E Jones history when the former Birmingham Guild of Handicraft member, Jones, was himself producing hand made silver items along with a handful of skilled craftsmen. A E. Jones is known to have used Ruskin Pottery roundels at this time. E. R. Taylor was a frequent visitor to Jones’s workshop, bringing his son Howson Taylor’s Ruskin Pottery to be mounted and smaller pottery roundels to be incorporated as features in Jones’ own designs.
As ever I am grateful to Dave at Hammer and Hand Antiques, for his help in documenting this item.
Maker: A E Jones
Designer: A E Jones
Marks: AEJ, Birmingham, “d”, correct part marks to lid and clasp
Material: Sterling silver, Ruskin Pottery
Condition: Excellent – see description
Size: 17 cm long x 9.5 cm wide x 7.5 cm tall
Weight: 500 grams, 17.6 oz each (not all silver weight)