An Artificers' Guild gold, moonstone and enamel necklace Unmarked,
Lot 214
An Artificers' Guild gold, moonstone and enamel necklace Unmarked,
Sold for £9,840 (US$ 16,539) inc. premium
Lot Details
An Artificers' Guild gold, moonstone and enamel necklace
Unmarked,
set to the front with seven graduated oval cabochon moonstones in corded mounts, alternating with six Tudor rose motifs, heightened in red enamel, each suspended from a fancy knot link to a baton link chain, the flattened rope and belcher link back-chain suspending scallop shells to each side, with figure-of-eight wire clasp, 39cm long, in a fitted case signed 'The Artificers' Guild Ltd, 4 Conduit Street, London.'

See illustration

Footnotes

  • A drawing (SC153) signed E Spencer exists in the Artificers Guild archive at Goldsmiths Hall, not precisely for the necklace as executed, but clearly a proposal for the same piece (see illustration). In place of the moonstones, the drawing shows pendant ‘woman’ symbols – a circle surmounted by a cross. An inscription on the drawing reads as follows:

    ‘The VENUS (sign of the Zodiac) EMBLEM and the Tudor rose with seagull and 2 cockle scallop shells and handmade chain behind alternates of twist wire and plain.’

    All the other elements of the design are as executed, and there is an indication on the drawing of red colouring on the RH side roses, representing the enamel on the piece as executed. At the centre of the necklace in the drawing is a small circular pierced pendant with a seagull motif. This, and the roses, seashells and wire forms, was commonly used by the Guild in its jewellery designs, and the punches and stamps for these motifs still exist. Another drawing (SC237) shows possibly the same moonstones used in an entirely different necklace design (see illustration). This may have been an alternative proposal and the eventual piece may represent a compromise agreed with the client.

    Almost none of the drawings in the archive give indications of date, but the address 4 Conduit Street in the case suggests a date of around 1912, when the Guild moved there. There is no evidence of the client’s name on the drawing nor that of the workshop craftsman who carried out the design. Edward Spencer’s initials or his signature seem only to have signified his approval of a design, as the range of graphic styles and paper in the archive indicate authorship by other members of the Guild staff. When the designs were then sent to the workbench, the craftsmen had no need to know who the client was.

    The piece is an interesting example of the way in which a commission, in this case apparently a gift to the original owner, evolved in discussion with the client.

    We are grateful to Muriel Wilson and the staff of Goldsmiths Hall for their assistance in cataloguing this lot.
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