Made in Warwickshire

PUBLISHED: 15:52 15 June 2009 | UPDATED: 15:08 20 February 2013

Bonham's Antiques: c. 100 year old spoon

Bonham's Antiques: c. 100 year old spoon

Tarn Harrison of Bonhams looks at the Birmingham Arts and Crafts movement

Tarn Harrison of Bonhams looks at the Birmingham Arts and Crafts movement


At Bonhams Auctioneers in Knowle we auction thousands of items from many different countries, but it's particularly pleasing when we are able to offer pieces crafted locally. The spoon (illustrated) is just such an example, designed and made almost 100 years ago by a couple living less than six miles from the saleroom. Included within our forthcoming sale of Decorative Arts including Arts and Crafts jewellery and furniture by Gordon Russell and the Cotswold School, to be held at the Knowle saleroom on Wednesday May 28, it will have a presale estimate of £400 - 600.


Made from silver and gold, but unmarked, the inscription to the inside of the fitted case reveals its makers, 'Mr and Mrs Arthur Gaskin, Olton, Warwickshire.' Arthur Gaskin (1862-1928) was educated at Wolverhampton Grammar School, and became a student at the Birmingham School of Art, where he met fellow student Georgina Evelyn Cave France (1866-1934), whom he married in 1894. A skilled draughtsman, painter, and illustrator, he gained financial security with a teaching post at the art school and was promoted to headmaster in 1903.


This appointment, together with his wife's particular interest in metalwork and jewellery, appears to have drawn him away from a traditional role as an artist and together Arthur and Georgie designed and made pieces which are currently very sought after by collectors of Arts and Crafts Jewellery and Metalwork.


Having begun married life residing in Acock's Green, by 1913 Arthur and Georgie had moved with their two daughters to St. Bernard's Road, Olton, where they remained until 1919, and where this spoon would have been designed and crafted. The generous bowl rises to a tapering stem and pierced finial applied with fine rope twist wires, some of which have been worked into coils, a typical motif in many of the Gaskins' designs of this period. The terminal is set with a cabochon amethyst, faithful to the Arts and Crafts belief in the use of semi-precious stones, which do not detract from the overall design and execution of the piece.


The gem set necklace (illustrated) was also made by the couple. It is set with colourless quartz, amethyst and pearl, and sold for 2500 in a similar sale in Knowle last year.


Also included in the May sale is a ring by William Thomas Blackband (1885-1949), another local resident who worked alongside Arthur Gaskin at Birmingham School of Art, and who influenced Arthur and Georgie in the design and execution of some of their pieces. Coiled wire motifs are also typical of Blackband's work, and his apprenticeship to a Birmingham jeweller allowed him to demonstrate more complicated and precise techniques to the Gaskins, who were largely self-taught. Also unmarked, this ring (illustrated) is set with an oval cabochon opal, within a rope twist border, the shoulders of which are applied with leaves and beads. Little of Blackband's work survives, and the ring is expected to realise 400 - 600.


For further information on Arts and Crafts jewellery, or the forthcoming sale, please contact Tarn Harrison FGA DGA on 01564 776151 or email tarn.harrison@bonhams.com


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