SILVER & SILVERPLATE DURING THE VICTORIAN ERA:
A Period of transition from High Art to Status Symbol
Silver was the chief status symbol of the Victorian era. There was nothing new in this: gold and silver had long been used as the expression of power and wealth of those in high places, and from the beginning of the eighteenth century at least, they had become important to people lower down the social scale. In the earlier part of the century, members of middle-class families often had their portraits painted grouped around a table on which the family's silver tea service was displayed. From the 1760's onwards, the invention of Sheffield plate and methods of mass production, made silver items available to an increasing number of people.
This process was accentuated during the nineteenth century. The discovery of
CARE, CLEANING and
CONSERVATION METHODS for ANTQUE METAL WARE: Useful tips in restoring
Antique Lamps, Clocks, Ormolu, Spelter, Bronze etc
In general, the first step in the care and conservation of an antique
piece of metalwork is the removal as far as possible of whatever is causing
deterioration, such as rust in the case of iron and steel, then thorough
cleaning and polishing followed finally by the application of waxes or
lacquers to help to delay decay.
It is impossible to arrest decay on antiques completely: all one can do
is to delay it for as long as possible. As in any other form of antique a
moderate even temperature is required, and it is necessary to avoid extreme
cold or damp. These are in effect the main essentials of what is known in an
antiques museum as 'conservation'. What techniques and practices you use and
how you tackle the work depends largely on.... Read
SILVER & SHEFFIELD (Rolled) SILVER PLATE:
What it is and how it begun
It was about 1743 when Thomas Boulsover discovered that an ingot of copper could be given a coating of silver by means of fusion by heat, and that the two metals united could be worked into shape as one. Most importantly, the copper always retained its silver covering, however thinly it was rolled. At first, Boulsover used plated copper for making buttons, boxes and other small wares. However, in the 1750s and 1760s the new process was taken up by other manufacturers and quickly became one of Sheffield's most important industries.
The manufacture of plated goods was also carried on in Birmingham and at the beginning of Victoria's reign, Sheffield plate was being.... Read
LADIES’ COMPACTS: Yesterday’s useful Jewelry, now a desirable Collectible
As the corseted and crinoline Victorian era gave way to the age of the flapper, the changing status of women revealed itself in curious ways. Among them was the unspoken right of liberated ladies to smoke and to powder their noses in public. Out would come the powder compact - often enameled, sometimes even bejeweled - from the beaded, velvet or silver-mesh bag.
In its myriad shapes, materials and designs, the compact was more than a fashionable accessory, more, even, than "the weapon of a fantastic coquetry," as Vogue magazine put it in a 1923 issue. It was often an object of impeccable period beauty, and that period, more often than not, was Art Deco. Today these little relics of social history are being snapped up in increasing numbers at.... Read
FRENCH ART DECO METALWORK: JEAN DESPRES & CLAUDIUS LINOSSIER
Jean Despres is a unique case in the history of French metalwork between the two world wars. He belongs to a group of artists who were strongly displeased with the first major international exposition of decorative arts – the huge Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes - which was held in Paris in 1925. It was this exposition that gave Art Deco its name.
Among Despres's cohorts were the architects Le Corbusier and Robert Mallet-Stevens, the silver designer Jean Puiforcat, the sculptor Gustave Miklos and others. Despite differences, they had one common fascination:.... Read
How a practical evolution of the Fob Watch is still a timeless collectible
Imagine it is 1928 and you are a young man, perhaps home from school, sitting under the clock at New York's Biltmore Hotel. You are waiting for a girl. After smoothing your hair, you check your flannel pants for puffs of lint and pull your camel coat close. Everything's just swell. But where is that girl? You pull up your sleeve and look at your new Bulova
wristwatch. She is ten minutes late. Maybe I should leave, you think, with a
touch of irritation. But then you soften and press the little button on your
watch. Up pops the watch face, and there, nestled against your wrist and
framed in the gold watchband, is her picture. You smile, sigh and decide to
wait. That moment, she floats through the revolving doors. In the twenties,
the wristwatch was all the rage.... Read
STICKPINS or STICK PINS: Jewelry for Men
Snapping gold terriers. Roaring tigers with sparkling gems in their jaws. Greek goddesses, minutely carved in crystal. These are all antique stickpins, and they are also - as dealers will happily tell you - very much in fashion. While prices for antique jewelry have soared in recent years, old stickpins of every variety - from a classic pearl tiepin to a whimsical platinum-and-diamond winged elephant - can still please the collector without emptying his wallet. And for those seeking the truly fine piece to add to their collections, there is the occasional stickpin by such notable firms as Tiffany, Lalique or Faberge, or by a master craftsman whose personal signature can greatly enhance its value.
Stickpins found nowadays in antiques stores generally date.... Read
MOSES HAYS AND PAUL REVERE SILVER
MOSES MICHAEL HAYS, a merchant who lived in New York, Newport, and Boston in the stirring years of the second half of the eighteenth century, is of interest to us today primarily because he was a link between two outstanding figures of his time - Paul Revere the patriot, and Myer Myers the New York silversmith. He was, however, an interesting figure in his own right.
Hays was born in New York on May 9, 1739, and died on the same day sixty-six years later. His father, Judah, was a merchant; his paternal grandfather was born in Holland. By 1769 Moses had been made a freeman of New York, and sometime later the family moved to Newport, Rhode Island. His commercial... Read
AMERICAN DECORATED ANTIQUE TINWARE
The fondness of the Pennsylvania Germans for ornamenting even the simplest of their handicrafts is proverbial, and the piercing or punching of the sheet tin used for household objects as a means of enhancing their beauty seems to have been particularly popular. True, pierced tin performed both a utilitarian and a decorative function in the familiar "Paul Revere" lantern, and in the more or less ubiquitous footwarmers, both of which tare of eastern seaboard rather than purely local provenance. But it remained for the Pennsylvania German craftsman to turn a merely convenient practice into something of an art.
Tinware, pierced or punched, seems to be almost entirely a... Read