Silver, enamel, and amethyst
Dimensions: 8 1/4 x 4 5/8 inches (21 x 11.7 cm)
Gift of Isabel and William Berley, Classes of 1947 and 1945
Object Number: 99.078.101 a,b
Charles Robert Ashbee designed this covered goblet at the turn of the 20th century.
WHERE WAS IT MADE?
The chalice was made by the Guild of Handicraft in London, England.
WHO WAS THE ARTIST?
Charles Robert Ashbee (1863-1942) was a designer and architect from England and a central figure of the Arts and Crafts Movement. Inspired by John Ruskin and William Morris, Ashbee established the Guild and School of Handicraft in London in 1888. The Guild created some of the finest English Art Nouveau furniture, silver and other handicrafts.
HOW WAS IT MADE?
This goblet is made of hammered silver. It was hand-raised, or shaped, by gradually hammering the metal to achieve the desired form. The surface was finished with a technique called planishing, which leaves a subtle texture of many visible dents. Ashbee chose to have the dishes planished, rather than smoothed and polished on a lathe, because he liked the hand-made look derived from planishing, and the way that it drew attention to the material itself. Planishing is done by gently hammering the surface with a round-faced hammer.
The enamel used to make the design on the lid is known as vitreous enamel, and is made by fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing. The powdered substance melts and hardens into a smooth, durable coating upon a metal, glass, or ceramic base. The lid features a wire finial surmounted by a purple cabochon amethyst.
WHY DOES IT LOOK LIKE THIS?
Notice the swirling image of blue green water with brightly colored fish done in enamel work on the lid of the goblet. The fish are depicted in vibrant blues, pinks and purples and highlighted in gold. The lid covers the round bowl, which curves down to the stem, supported and surrounded by three small, stylized dolphins. The stem then gently curves down to the foot, which is decorated with images of fish and flowing waters.
The style and fabrication of the piece is in keeping with the Arts and Crafts movement. The Arts and Crafts movement was inspired by the mid-19th century British philosopher and critic John Ruskin. Ruskin criticized the effects of industrialization on art and the creative process and instead advocated the reorganization of artists into medieval-style guilds. The aim of the guilds was to ensure the highest standards of design and to provide an equally high standard of living for the artists they employed.
To see other objects by Charles Ashbee in the Johnson Museum’s collection, search for object numbers 99.078.099, 99.078.100, and 99.078.112 in the keyword search box.
NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.