Arts and crafts
I have had some unusual pieces in the Collection over the years and this is certainly right up there with the most unusual.
The most important starting point is that this is a fully hallmarked, and part marked, for London 1923, sterling silver casket. It has been brilliantly worked and oxidised to give the appearance of old rusting iron. The silver has even been carefully worked to suggest rust decay – see images. The leading London firm of Edward Barnard & Sons are the maker.
The casket represents a medieval strong box. I am told it has features from 13th-16th centuries so it may be an invention of the silversmith, but my instinct is that this is a commission and copy of a specific casket, itself added to and adapted over the centuries.
The box is made from an aged wood body, I believe oak, that has, in the spirit of an original strong box, been overlayed with sheet silver and silver straps. Massive silver padlocks (decorative only) further enhance the casket’s appearance. The casket has no lock but closes through a strap that is hinged and secures tightly – see images. The piece is very heavy, weighing nearly 1.5kg.
The interior is, I believe, maple wood. This may be original to the piece, in keeping with its art deco period origins, but I suspect is later. That asides, the box is in excellent original condition.
Maker: Barnard & Sons
Marks: EBS Ltd, London, “h”, correct part marks to all straps and clasp
Material: Sterling silver
Condition: Excellent – see description
Size: 23 cm long x 10.5 cm high (excluding lid handle)
Weight: 1485 grams, 52.4 oz each