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Ref. 1266

Elkington

Silversmith

(19th century)

Table easel clock

Signed Elkington & Co., dated 6 Nov. 1890 and numbered Rd 92173

England

Circa 1880

Height : 51 cm (20 in.) ; Width : 40 cm (15 3/4 in.) ; Depth : 36 cm (14 in.)

A rare rectangular table clock executed in gilded and silvered electrotyped metal, decorated in relief with butterflies, music instruments and theater masks, surmounted by two angels crowning with a wreath a male portrait. Ornamented in the lower corners with the muses of theater and music, centering a medallion. Presented in a wood frame, opening by a glazed door, reposing on a gilded easel.

As The Art Journal wrote as soon as 1844, “The electrotypes are perfect; the finest lines, the most minute dots are as faithfully copied as the boldest objections”. With this new technique, developed in England thanks to Elkington, it became then lucrative market for recreating famous works of art in metal as well as creating some new ones, then cheaper than bronze casts.

Biography

The great Birmingham firm of Elkingtons, was largely the creation of George Richards Elkington (1800-1865), who worked from 1824 in Birmingham as a manufacturer of silver-mounted scent bottles. By 1829 the business had expanded sufficiently for a branch to have been established in London. In the late 1830’s the Elkingtons began making experiments to apply the principles of electro-metallurgy to gilding and plating with silver and in 1840 the patent was at last taken out. Elkingtons owed their rise to a position amongst the most important silversmiths of the country to their exploitation of this new process and the two of the most famous designers then employed, both of them French, Albert Wilms (1827-1899) and Morel-Ladeuil (1820-1888), who helped to make Elkingtons’ reputation with their elaborate exhibition pieces.

Elkington’s works to be linked to

Victoria & Albert Museum, London : The Milton Shield, executed in silver and damascened iron, designed and realized by Morel Ladeuil for Elkington & Co., displayed at the 1867 Paris Universal Exhibition, awarded the gold medal.

Bibliography

Victorian Silver and Silver Plate, Patricia Wardle, The Victorian Collector Series, Barrie & Jenkins, London, 1970.

L’Orfèvrerie au XIXe siècle, XIes Rencontres de l’Ecole du Louvre, La Documentation Française, Paris, 1994.

L’Argenterie, Claude Blart, Flammarion, Paris, 1989.

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