A late Victorian hand-wrought Britannia standard silver sideboard dish by Gilbert Marks, London 1897, engraved with facsimile signature to edge of dish
Lot 52
A late Victorian hand-wrought Britannia standard silver sideboard dish
by Gilbert Marks, London 1897, engraved with facsimile signature to edge of dish
Sold for £7,500 (US$ 12,790) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
Edwardian and Art Nouveau silver
A late Victorian hand-wrought Britannia standard silver sideboard dish
by Gilbert Marks, London 1897, engraved with facsimile signature to edge of dish
Plain outline with an embossed and chased border of continuous sprigs of asters on a hammered-ground, centre raising to a gentle dome, diameter 42cm, weight 48.1oz.

Footnotes

  • Born April 1 1861, Gilbert Leigh Marks was born into a family with artistic and commercial traditions. The artists being his two uncles, Henry Stacey Marks R. A. and Frederick Walker, along with his great-grandfather, William Walker. The commercial influence came from his grandfather, jeweller W. H. Walker.

    Upon leaving school, Marks worked for a brief period (1878 - 1885) in a manufacturing silversmiths. The company is not recorded in the 1881 census but, given his family connections, it is tempting to think that it may have been the firm of Johnson, Walker & Tolhurst. However, another firm could be considered; Holland, Aldwinckle and Slater, suppliers of silver to Johnson, Walker & Tolhurst.

    Between 1885 - 1895, Marks was employed by Masurel & Fils and, when he marries Florence Elizabeth Ford in 1888, his profession is recorded as 'wool broker's manager.' With no record of Marks' apprenticeship in London, it would appear that he developed his talent as a silversmith as a hobby, possibly at evening school. In 1896, the Art Journal refers to Marks as 'something in the city' and points out that he already has two assistants.

    The Magazine Art reviews Marks' work in January 1897 at an exhibition of his work at 80 Aldersgate Street: "Going direct to nature, he skilfully transfers the blossoms of wild flowers to his graceful cups and other cups. The Art Journal reviews another exhibition of his work in the August of the same year at the showrooms of Johnson, Walker & Tolhurst, a bowl very similar to the present lot is illustrated. His distinctive style of work received glowing reviews, his work "is exceedingly pleasant to the cultivated eye."

    In the initial period of collaboration with Johnson, Walker and Tolhurst, the objects bore their sponsor's mark and had Marks' facsimile signature. Gilbert Marks registered his own maker's mark of 'GM' at Goldsmiths' Hall in 1896 and he continues the practice of the facsimile. It is interesting that the association with J. W. And T. clearly continues as they are still holding exhibitions of the work. The earliest recorded piece bearing Marks' signature dates from 1895/6 and the latest from 1902.

    Gilbert Marks' death in 1905 was recorded with an obituary in The Burlington Magazine (Vol 7, No 27): "an artist of delicate grace and charm, whose name will probably take high rank in the estimation of the collector and connoisseur."

    Literature:
    F. Miller, 'Some Gold, Silver, and Coppersmiths,' Art Journal, November 1896, p.347ff.
    'Gilbert Marks: An Artist in Silver,' The Magazine of Art, January 1897, p.158ff.
    'The Arts and Industries of Today,' Art Journal, August 1897, p251ff.
    Obituary, The Burlington Magazine, Vol 7, no 27, June 1905, p.243ff.

    Culme, 'The Directory of Gold & Silversmiths' (London 1987), page 312-313.
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