GERALD BENNEY: A good silver an unmarked gold cigarette case London 1967
Lot 94
GERALD BENNEY: A good silver an unmarked gold cigarette case
London 1967
£3,500 - 4,000
US$ 6,000 - 6,800
Lot Details
GERALD BENNEY: A good silver an unmarked gold cigarette case
London 1967
Square form with rounded ends, each side with four rows of gold textured bands and five rows of silver textured bands, narrow polished rims and hinge, yellow sapphire set gold thumb piece, green leather lined interior, 9.1cm x 9.3cm.

Footnotes

  • The design drawing illustrated is reproduced by kind permission of Simon Benney.
    This case is recorded as design number 48.

    ADRIAN GERALD SALLIS BENNEY CBE RDI

    Gerald Benney was one of the most outstanding and influential British goldsmiths of the 20th century. During a career spanning more than 50 years, he was the first British craftsman to hold four Royal Warrants simultaneously. As well as designs in silver, in his early years Benney also used other materials to design a range of products including clocks, lamps and prams. His work can be seen in many collections worldwide, including those of the Victoria and Albert Museum and Goldsmiths' Company.

    Born in Hull, Yorkshire in 1930. His mother, Aileen, was a talented silversmith and his father, Ernest, was Principal of Brighton College of Art. Young Gerald attended Brighton College of Art from 1946-1948, he studied design and craft under the tutelage of Dunstan Pruden. After two years National Service with the Royal Army Service Corps he went to the Royal College of Art to study under Professor Robert Goodden. He excelled and, in 1952, a four-piece tea service and tray secured him the Prince of Wales Scholarship.

    It was at the RCA that Benney met fellow designers and silversmiths David Mellor and Robert Welch, between them they were to revolutionise Post-war silver design. During his last term at the RCA, Benney found his first workshop at Suffolk House, Whitfield Place off the Tottenham Court Road in London.

    Early in his career Benney discovered, by accident, the distinctive surface texturing of silver that was to become his signature. He inadvertently used a hammer with a damaged head while producing a cup and liked the effect. This surface texturing soon became known as "Benney Bark Finish". The finish was widely imitated and dominated contemporary silver design for almost two decades. Its success was, not only, for its new contemporary look but, also for the practical reasons that it almost eliminated tarnish and fingerprints.

    In 1963, Benney moved to Beenham House near Reading and it was here that he decided to develop the use of enamel to further embellish his silver objects and designs. He realised that he would need to learn the skills from established artisans. His first steps, in 1968, were to travel to Zurich to find an enameller who worked for the house of Burch Korrodi. By chance, he came across the Norwegian Berger Bergensen who, not only continued to practise the art of enamelling for Burch, but had also worked for Karl Fabergé's great rival Bolin. Bergensen was persuaded to come to Britain and instruct the Benney work force all he knew about enamelling: Alan Evans and Robert Winter became the most notable master enamellers for Benney.

    Though it took several years to master the craft, the Benney studio refined and mastered the art of enamelling to the extent that they were able to decorate larger surface areas than Fabergé. There is little doubt that they went on to be one of the world's foremost modern enamellers.

    In 1969, Benney moved his London studio to Falcon Wharf, Bankside where he eventually employed 22 people. Four years later, he moved his workshop to warehouses in Bear Lane, Southwark and, in the same year, The Goldsmith's Hall held a major retrospective of his work.

    A year later, 1974, Benney received his first Royal Warrant from by Her Majesty The Queen, followed a year later by those of her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh. In 1980, Benney received an unprecedented fourth Royal Warrant from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

    It is interesting to note that besides running his own silver studio, Benney held several other design posts, between 1957 – 69 he worked as a consultant designer for Viners. He worked on domestic pieces for production in silver, pewter and stainless steel. Particularly successful were his designs for flatware and cutlery in stainless steel. In 1971, he was awarded Royal Designer for Industry and, from 1974 to 1983, he was Professor of Silversmithing and Jewellery at his alma mater, the Royal College of Art.

    In 1993, together with his son Simon, Benny opened a shop at 73 Walton Street, Knightsbridge, London and two years later was awarded a CBE.
Activities
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine, Coins & Medals and Motor Cars and Motorcycles:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first £50,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from £50,001 to £1,000,000 the Hammer Price
12% from £1,000,001 of the Hammer Price

VAT at the current rate of 20% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges excluding Artists Resale Right.

Payment Notices

Payment in advance: by cash, check with banker's card, credit card, bank draft or traveler's cheque.

Payment at collection: by credit or debit card.

Credit card charges: a surcharge of 2% is applicable when using Mastercard, Visa and overseas debit cards.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Contacts
  1. James Clare
    Specialist - Silver
    Bonhams
    Work
    Montpelier Street
    London, United Kingdom SW7 1HH
    Work +44 20 7393 3974
    FaxFax: +44 20 7393 3875