For sale a rare and large Keswick School of Industrial Art’s solid silver tea caddy. This is one of, maybe the, earliest known pieces by the School, being assayed for 1889, and one of the earliest known pieces of arts and crafts silver. The design appears to be inspired by classical Roman images, most commonly seen in mosaics. The birds on the side panels appear to be singing denoted by small engraved bubbles emerging from their beaks. As is not uncommon for Keswick pieces the maker’s details are scratched into the interior of the lid which reads “Worked by J F Banks, 1889”. John Fisher Banks was a photographer who worked at the School at this time. The caddy’s designer is not known but is possibly by Edith Rawnsley, wife of the founder of the School, Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley.
A slightly later caddy in the Collection, to the same design, made by Robert Temple, is currently on loan to the Spanish arts and crafts exhibition being held at the Fundacion Juan March, Madrid.
Maker: Keswick School of Industrial Arts / John Banks
Designer: Possibly Edith Rawnsley
Date : 1889
Marks: KSIA, Birmingham, date letter “p”
Material: Sterling silver
Condition:Very good, small split to one corner
Size: 12cm wide, 11,5cm high
Weight : 296 grams, 10.4 oz
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Early Keswick School silver tea caddy
See Ian Bruce “The Loving Eye and Skilful Hand” for further information on the KSIA and Dr S. Pudney, “The Keswick School of Industrial Art, An experiment in artistic philanphropy”, Silver Society Journal 2000.
An extract from an article in the Carlisle Express and Examiner, 12th April, 1890 is shown in the images. It references a silver tea caddy by Robert Temple that may have been a similar earlier version of this.
More information on the Spanish Exhibition is available here