• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7597

    Important Silver

    10 June 2008, London, King Street

  • Lot 193

    THE RICHARDS BOWL
    AN IMPORTANT GEORGE V SILVER-MOUNTED AND ENAMEL MAZER-BOWL

    MARK OF OMAR RAMSDEN, LONDON, 1937

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    THE RICHARDS BOWL
    AN IMPORTANT GEORGE V SILVER-MOUNTED AND ENAMEL MAZER-BOWL
    MARK OF OMAR RAMSDEN, LONDON, 1937
    CIRCULAR AND ON A SPREADING FOOT WITH AN APPLIED TWISTED WIRE, THE FLARING RIM ENGRAVED WITH AN INSCRIPTION AND SUPPORTED ON SEVEN CAST BUSTS AND ABOVE AN OPENWORK BAND OF FOLIAGE SCROLLS AND ROSES, THE BASE SET WITH A CENTRAL BOSS CAST AS AN OPENWORK GALLEON ON A BLUE ENAMEL GROUND, MARKED UNDER FOOT AND NEAR RIM, FURTHER ENGRAVED UNDER THE FOOT 'OMAR RAMSDEN ME FECIT'
    12¾ in. (32.4 cm.) diam.
    The inscription reads 'I WAS WROUGHT FOR WILLIAM RICHARDS, C.B.E., TO MARK FIFTY YEARS MEMBERSHIP OF THE ASSOCIATION OF AVERAGE ADJUSTERS BY COMMAND OF THE MEMBERS AND ASSOCIATES MAY 1938'


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    While design elements like crenellated borders, Tudor roses and hammered finishes are the elements that most typify Ramsden's work, it is the mazer bowl that is the one object, if any, which is perhaps most associated with his work.

    Ramsden is said, as quoted by Leslie Durbin, (E. Turner and L. S. Roberts, English Silver, Masterpieces by Omar Ramsden From the Campbell Collection, New York, 1992, p. 56), to have personally treated the mazer bowls when they were returned to the shop after having been turned by Rogers and Co. The wood was exposed to a gas flame jet to char the surface, inside and out. While still hot Ramsden would rub beeswax into the surface of the wood. Only once the bowls had cooled would Ramsden trust them to be handled by anyone else, turning them over to a workman to be polished.

    Perhaps deriving its name from the German màs, meaning 'a spot', in reference to the grain of the maple that was most often used to make them, the mazer is a traditional form of drinking vessel. English silver-mounted examples from the 14th to the 16th century are known and indeed there are several examples in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum which Ramsden would no doubt have seen on his visits there.

    The present example would seem to be among the largest of the mazer bowls Ramsden produced and can be most closely compared to the King's Mazer of 1937 from the collection of the Middle Temple (P. Cannon-Brookes, Omar Ramsden 1873-1939, Centenary Exhibition of Silver, Birmingham, 1973, no. 97) and another from the collection of the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, (R. Ransome-Wallis, Treasures of the 20th Century, London, 2000, p.28-29, no.36). In each case he has adapted the design to suit the commission, using cast busts of members of the Royal family for the first examples and the heraldic charges of the Goldsmiths' company for the second.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    William Richards, C.B.E. (1864-1939) and then by descent.


    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A LADY