Since 1911 we celebrate International Women’s Day on 8th March, which is set out to be the focal point in the movement for women’s rights. In our upcoming Fine Jewellery sale of 21st March we are delighted to offer an exquisite piece by a female artist linked to the Arts and Crafts Movement.
Emerging in the late 19th century Victorian England, the Arts and Crafts movement was born in reaction to the machine-dominated mass-production creating objects of inferior quality. It took its name from the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society, a group founded in 1887. It aimed to promote hand-craftsmanship and was one of the first art movements that blurred the line between fine arts and crafts. With its orientation towards ‘homemade’ goods and the domestic environment, it allowed greater involvement for female artisans. Between 1895 and 1905 there were over a hundred different organisations in Britain revolving around the Arts and Crafts principles creating an environment, in which, women could begin to take an active role in developing new forms of design, both as makers and consumers.
Arthur and Georgie Gaskin designed attractive jewels using compositions of stylised leaves and flowers in silver, enamel, turquoise and opals. They had both studied at the Birmingham School of Art and went on to establish a very successful workshop admired for making elegant, hand-made pieces.
Dorrie Nossiter was educated at the Municipal School of Art in Birmingham between 1910 and 1914, and is well-known for her naturalistic, typically asymmetrical designs in the Arts and Crafts tradition.
Lot 257 in our Fine Jewellery auction of 28th March is a moonstone and marcasite necklace by the celebrated goldsmith, Sibyl Dunlop. Born in 1889, she was schooled in Brussels and upon returning to England she established a workshop in Kensington Church Street, London, later joined by William Nathanson as her principal craftsman in the early 1920s. Her style is characterised by the use of semi-precious and precious gemstones set in silver in symmetrical patterns, often inspired by nature. This particular piece is a perfect example of her work. It features a rhythmic series of oval moonstone cabochons and marcasite foliate spacers, with partially concealed marcasite foliate clasp. The necklace bears a maker’s mark and a hallmark for London, for 1952 and it came to auction after spending almost 40 years in a private collection. It is estimated at £800-1,200.
This blog was written by David Pregun, member of the Jewellery Department at Fellows Auctioneers.
Bennett, David & Mascetti, Daniela (1994): Understanding Jewellery. Antique Collector’s Club.
Poynder, Michael (2000): Jewellery. Reference and Price Guide. Antique Collector’s Club.