- Museum number
Set of six spoons; silver, hand-raised, the bowls with hammered surface, the stems of square-section with bud knops; contained in the original wood case covered with mauve cloth and labelled on the silk lining inside the lid.
- Production date
Length: 11.70 centimetres
- Curator's comments
- Text from J. Rudoe, 'Decorative Arts 1850-1950. A catalogue of the British Museum collection'. 2nd ed. 1994, no.132.
The Keswick School of Industrial Art was founded in 1884 by Canon Hardwicke Drummond Rawnsley (1851-1920) and his wife Edith (d.1916). Inspired by Ruskinian teaching, the school was intended to provide leisure-time occupation for local working men, with evening classes in metalwork and wood carving. According to Eleanor Rawnsley thirty people were employed after the first two years, and after four years sixty-seven people worked at the school. In 1894 the School's own building was erected, enabling the introduction of daytime classes.
The School participated in the exhibitions of the Arts & Crafts Exhibition Society from 1889; the catalogues frequently list the names of the metalworkers, while many designs of the 1890s were credited to Mrs Rawnsley. Later, designs are credited to Harold Stabler, who directed the School from 1898-1902, to Herbert Maryon, who taught at the School in the early 1900s, and to Robert Hilton, who taught there for seventeen years and was succeeded by G.A. Weekes. However, it has not been possible so far to associate these spoons with any of the above.
The shape of the spoons is derived from English fifteenth-century acorn-knop spoons, though late-medieval spoons have round-section or flattened stems.
Information supplementary to Rudoe 1994:
For a similar spoon see P. Boughton, 'Catalogue of Silver in the Grosvenor Museum, Chester', Chichester 2000, no.92. According to Boughton, this model appears in an early 20th-century Keswick School catalogue descibed as 'Etruscan' pattern; he describes the shape as based on Early Roman spoons (quoting correspondence with Paul Roberts of the BM). But the Keswick shape does not have the characteristic dropped or stepped bowl of Roman spoons and the shape of the bowl is much closer to medieval bowl shapes, as is the handle.
See also, S. Pudney, 'A Victorian experiment in artistic philanthropy: the Keswick School of Industrial Art', in Silver Society Journal 12, 2000, pp. 134-142.
- Not on display
- Acquisition date
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number