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Box

Box

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1925-1929 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

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

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Walnut base, shagreen and silver

  • Museum number:

    M.33D/1, 2-1984

  • 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 box comes. It was one of John Paul Cooper’s 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 silver mounts has an aquatic theme, which 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.

The chased decoration on the Waechter service is a visual translation of this description. It shows how strongly marine imagery 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.

Physical description

Shgreen with silver mounts, covering a walnut base, the lid with a band of silver around the edge, chased with a sea animal design.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

1925-1929 (made)

Artist/maker

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

Materials and Techniques

Walnut base, shagreen and silver

Marks and inscriptions

No hallmarks
inside lid stamped: JPC for John Paul Cooper

Dimensions

Height: 5.2 cm, Length: 10 cm, Width: 9.8 cm

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."

Neg._No: JE 2134 group

Descriptive line

Walnut covered in green shagreen with silver mounts, London, (no hallmarks), 1925-29, designed and made by John Paul Cooper

Materials

Silver; Shagreen

Techniques

Chasing

Subjects depicted

Fish; Lobster; Shell; Seaweed; Crab

Categories

Metalwork; Containers

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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