Then and now.A jam dish designed by C.R Ashbee. © Hart Silversmiths
A Guild of Handicraft four-piece tea service, London 1967. Height of hot water jug 20.6cm. Courtesy The Pearson Silver Collection near Gloucester – a relationship that continues to this day. George Hart also designed the altar set for St James’ Church in Chipping Campden and the processional cross for Gloucester Cathedral, which was later used in the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953. During this period, George Hart trained his half-brother Reynell Huyshe (1894-1939) along with Harry Warmington (1895-1979) and later his two sons George Philip Hart (19111987) and Henry Owen Hart (1912-1990), who completed their apprenticeships in the 1930s.Together they absorbed and developed the style of Ashbee and the Guild of Handicraft for a new generation.
A LIVING TRADITION In 1926 The Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths organised a competition at the request of King George V to provide trophies for the three races at Royal Ascot. Though George Hart’s winning design for the Royal Ascot Hunt Cup was not ultimately commissioned by the Ascot Committee, it was made for the Goldsmiths’ Company’s own collection. It is considered to be one of the finest examples of George Hart’s magnificent chasing skill and shows the influence of the Arts and Crafts movement, with echoes of William Morris in its emphasis on natural forms.The piece played a key role in establishing George Hart’s international reputation and securing the future of the workshop.
In 1956, Henry Hart’s son David joined the business, followed by another son, Rex,
WHATTHE EXPERTS SAY: John Andrew, curator of the Pearson Silver Collection and the co author of Designer British Silver: From Studios Established 1930-1985, said: “Early Guild of Handicraft silver is keenly sought. For example in 2013 Reeman Dansie of Colchester sold a 1904, 29oz silver and enamel tazza for £20,500 (estimate £2-£3,000) which was possibly designed by Ashbee. A mug of the same date standing just 9cm high was chased to £3,700.” The buyer’s premium was 17.25 percent.
Silver by the Harts’ Guild of Handicraft also comes on to the secondary market. Derek Styles, of Hungerford’s Styles Silver, said: ‘Many of the earlier pieces were original Ashbee designs, but they don’t appear very often.” He recently sold a 1909 mustard for £600. However, later pieces are less expensive.
He continued: “I have always felt the guild’s later work is underrated –it represents quality handmade pieces in the Arts and Crafts tradition. It does trickle onto the secondary market, but not that often. Heavy gauge smallwork like spoons and napkin rings can be found for under £200 and hollowware up to £800 is extremely good value.”
The 1904 silver and enamel tazza sold for £20,700 in 2013. Courtesy of Reeman Dansie
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