Sugar Bowl

1986 (designed), 1996 (made)
Sugar Bowl thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Gerald Benney started his own workshop on graduating from the RCA in 1955 and by 1957 was already appointed as a consultant designer to Viners of Sheffield, a major producer of base metal hollow ware and flat ware which at its zenith, in the late 1960s, employed over a thousand workers. Benney relies on strong geometric forms which in the 1950s incorporated an increasing use of attenuated shapes and showed some degree of Scandinavian influence. From the early 1960s, there was a return to a more formal, geometric and symmetrical element in his work which has usually been enriched by a textured surface and occasionally, deep, lustrous enamel. His enamel work developed from the experience passed on to him by Berger Beigersen, the master enameller from the now extinct firm of Burch Korrodi of Zurich. He first discovered the appeal of the textured surface in 1956 as a result of a workshop accident and since the 1960s, it has become very much a trademark of his work. It is interesting to compare a Martini jug and six tankards designed by Benney and produced in pewter by Viners in 1958 which also uses a soft textured decoration as its main decorative element, thus illustrating that the craft of silversmithing had a direct and interdependent relationship with his activities as an industrial designer. The value of this relationship has been strongly stressed by his contemporary, Robert Welch who has equally successfully worked in both disciplines throughout his career and wrote in his book Hand and Machine (London 1985) “that each area can enrich each other to very important degree.”


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Sugar Bowl
  • Cover (Closure)
Materials and Techniques
Lead free pewter (95% pure tin, 3% copper, 2% antimony), cast and trimmed on a lathe, the components, soldered, the foot inlaid with black enamel, brightly polished pewter surface
Brief Description
Sugar bowl and cover, pewter with inlaid enamel, Malaysia, made by Royal Selangor, 1996, designed by Gerald Benney, 1986
Physical Description
The body, of bulbous outline swells outwards towards the base and then returns to meet the foot which is a circular rim, embellished with two concentric lines infilled with black enamel. The lid, circular and very slightly domed, plain moulded rim and is surmounted in the centre by a simple knop. A shallow 'C' section has been has been cut from the rim to accommodate the handle of a sugar spoon (not supplied). The lid sits within a recessed moulding on the inside rim of the body.
Credit line
Given by Royal Selangor International
Summary
Gerald Benney started his own workshop on graduating from the RCA in 1955 and by 1957 was already appointed as a consultant designer to Viners of Sheffield, a major producer of base metal hollow ware and flat ware which at its zenith, in the late 1960s, employed over a thousand workers. Benney relies on strong geometric forms which in the 1950s incorporated an increasing use of attenuated shapes and showed some degree of Scandinavian influence. From the early 1960s, there was a return to a more formal, geometric and symmetrical element in his work which has usually been enriched by a textured surface and occasionally, deep, lustrous enamel. His enamel work developed from the experience passed on to him by Berger Beigersen, the master enameller from the now extinct firm of Burch Korrodi of Zurich. He first discovered the appeal of the textured surface in 1956 as a result of a workshop accident and since the 1960s, it has become very much a trademark of his work. It is interesting to compare a Martini jug and six tankards designed by Benney and produced in pewter by Viners in 1958 which also uses a soft textured decoration as its main decorative element, thus illustrating that the craft of silversmithing had a direct and interdependent relationship with his activities as an industrial designer. The value of this relationship has been strongly stressed by his contemporary, Robert Welch who has equally successfully worked in both disciplines throughout his career and wrote in his book Hand and Machine (London 1985) “that each area can enrich each other to very important degree.”
Associated Objects
Bibliographic References
  • M. Coatts (ed.), Gerald Benney, E. Turner, Pioneers of Modern Craft, Manchester 1997, pp 107-117 (General biographical information)
  • G. Hughes, Gerald Benney, Goldsmith, the story of fifty years at the bench, Alfriston, Starcity Ltd, 1998, p. 153
  • E. Turner, Art Nouveau and Twentieth Century Pewter, in A. North, Pewter at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. V&A, p.185-290
Collection
Accession Number
M.3:1,2-1998

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record createdFebruary 5, 2003
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