Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Mirror

Mirror

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1925-1929 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    John Paul Cooper, born 1869 - died 1933 (designer and maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver mounts, shagreen and walnut backing with hinged stand

  • Museum number:

    M.33-1984

  • Gallery location:

    Silver, Room 68, The Whiteley Galleries, case 7, shelf 1

Lady Armatrude Waechter de Grimston originally commissioned the toilet set from which this mirror comes. It is one of the biggest and most successful commissions in shagreen. (Shagreen was originally a species of untanned leather, but from about 1750 nurse sharkskin or the less expensive dogfish skin was used.) The chased decoration of the service has an aquatic theme. It recalls Cooper's description of shagreen:

'a material possessing some of the qualities of both mother of pearl and leather. Its little nodules of concentric rings give one, when the skin is particularly translucent, the feeling of looking deep down into a pool of sea green water . . . One can't do much with a thing like that - put a silver bank round it, I mean a silver moulding, that is practically all.'

Marine imagery clearly stirred Cooper’s imagination. On the mounts he represented the shagreen's murky depths - fish, lobsters, crabs, shells and seaweed. He had made preparatory studies for the designs during a family holiday in Sheringham, Norfolk, in 1927.

Chased representational mouldings are extremely rare on Cooper's shagreen. They appear only on a few pieces executed between 1924 and 1933, and then mainly on feminine, toilet articles.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

1925-1929 (made)

Artist/maker

John Paul Cooper, born 1869 - died 1933 (designer and maker)

Materials and Techniques

Silver mounts, shagreen and walnut backing with hinged stand

Marks and inscriptions

Maker JPC for John Paul Cooper

Object history note

Acquisition RF: No number or name
Originally commissioned by Lady Armatrude Waechter de Grimston
From a Toilet set. One of the biggest and most successful shagreen commissions, the aquatic subject matter of the chased decoration on its silver mounts recalls Cooper's description of shagreen as " a material possessing some of the qualities of both mother of pearl and leather. Its little nodules of concentric rings give one, when the skin is particularly translucent, the feeling of looking deep down into a pool of sea green water…One can't do much with a thing like that - put a silver bank round it, I mean a silver moulding, that is practically all." The chased decoration on the Waechter service is a visual translation of this description and shows how strongly marine imagery stirred Cooper's imagination. On its mounts are represented the shagreen's murky depths - fish , lobsters, crabs, shells and seaweed - for which Cooper made preparatory studies during a 1927 family holiday in Sheringham, Norfolk. Chased representational mouldings are extremely rare on Cooper's shagreen. They only appear on a few pieces executed between 1924 and 1933 and then mainly on female, toilet articles.

Materials

Silver; Shagreen; Walnut

Categories

Metalwork; Frames

Collection

Metalwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.