An exceptional pair of A E Jones arts and crafts silver Ruskin set candlesticks
An outstanding, exhibition, pair of silver and fumed oak candlesticks both fully hallmarked for A E Jones Ltd, Birmingham, 1903. Both top and bottom silver sections are attached with silver rivets to fumed oak pillars. The bases of the candlesticks have a simple repeating repousse pattern and are each set with eight blue-green Ruskin Pottery roundels. The candlesticks are a good size at 21cm tall.
The candlesticks were made very 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. The design for these candlesticks (No. 55 in the A. Edward Jones pattern book) is illustrated in the book “A Edward Jones Metalcraftsman” (see images).
This may well be the exact pair Jones exhibited in the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society’s exhibition in 1903. According to that entry (see images), the candlesticks were executed by A. E. Jones and Edward Colstan Harris. Harris had joined Jones in 1903, leaving for London a few years later. Another craftsman working with Jones at the time, F. L. Temple, recalls that Harris was a “ready designer, a little affected by Art Nouveau and a skilled craftsman from whom Temple himself learnt much“
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.
This design would have been expensive to produce in silver and was likely only made for exhibition or by special commission. It does not appear in any of Jones’ earliest know commercial catalogues dating from around 1905 which makes this particular pair exceptionally rare. This is the only known pair.
A simpler copper version of this design without Ruskin Pottery roundels, appears to have been made by A E Jones for Liberty & Co of London around 1905. The candlestick can be seen on a Liberty table shown in The Studio Yearbook, 1906, p.69.
The candlesticks were acquired privately and directly from a family who had owned them since around 1920. Both silver bases have a full set of
hallmarks and the top silver drips trays are hallmarked with the lion passant and date letter.
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, “c”
Material: Sterling silver, oak, Ruskin Pottery
Size: 21 cm tall
Weight: 353 grams, 12.5oz each (not silver weight)