Gift of Isabel and William Berley, Classes of 1947 and 1945
BRIEF DESCRIPTIONCharles Robert Ashbee designed this small round dish, or porringer. It is made of s(…)
BRIEF DESCRIPTIONCharles Robert Ashbee designed this small round dish, or porringer. It is made of silver with a green glass liner and features a delicate handle that curves dramatically outward from the lip and back down to the base. Notice the oval shaped green stone set into the handle.WHERE WAS IT MADE?The dish 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 dish was made from sheets of silver (or silver plate) and 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 dish was then lined with green glass.WHY DOES IT LOOK LIKE THIS?This type of dish was produced by the Guild in three styles, including a double-handled style and another resting on a footed-base. This version of the dish includes a green cabochon gemstone set in the curving wire handle.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 99.078.100, 99.078.101 a,b, and 99.078.112 in the keyword search box.