Candelabras, tea services and other elegant items made by a British silversmith in the early 20th century who was concerned about the impact of industrialization are now on exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago.
The 50 silver works, made in the London workshop of leading silversmith Omar Ramsden (1873-1939), were a part of the Arts and Crafts Movement, a reaction to factory conditions and the poor design quality of machine-made objects.The artists drew from their country's past for inspiration and borrowed from Celtic, medieval and Elizabethan traditions. Most items, often inlaid with ivory and semi-precious stones, were accessible only to the very wealthy because of the sumptuous materials used and time-consuming handwork involved.
The exhibition, "English Silver: Masterpieces by Omar Ramsden," includes the movement's attempt to show evidence of that handwork - such as highly visible hammer blows - and other exaggerations.
It also analyzes the impact of English tastes and historic sources and surveys the Ramsden workshop's design and production methods.
After this showing through Aug. 16, the exhibition travels to the Musee des Arts Decoratif in Montreal, Quebec, Sept. 7-Nov. 1, the Fine Arts Center at Cheekwood in Nashville, Tenn., July 10-Sept. 5, 1993, and the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Mass., May 14-July 10, 1994.