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Altar cross

  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1927 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Stone, Robert Edgar, born 1903 - died 1990 (designed and made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Patinated copper with silver, ivory and enamel details

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mrs R. E. Stone

  • Museum number:

    M.25-1993

  • Gallery location:

    Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, Room 83, The Whiteley Galleries, case 8B

This cross was intended to stand on an altar - the table or block that is a focal point of Christian worship. The enamel panels include the symbols of the saints Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Known as the Evangelists, they were the authors of the Gospels in the New Testament of the Bible. The ivory panel at the centre depicts the paschal lamb associated with the Easter festival. The two figures are of St John the Evangelist and the Virgin Mary.

Robert Edgar Stone (1903-1990) was an important British silversmith. He made this cross in 1927, the year after he was awarded a scholarship to study at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London. He went on to pursue a distinguished career working for major London silversmithing firms.

Place of Origin

London (made)

Date

1927 (made)

Artist/maker

Stone, Robert Edgar, born 1903 - died 1990 (designed and made)

Materials and Techniques

Patinated copper with silver, ivory and enamel details

Marks and inscriptions

No marks

Dimensions

Height: 64 cm, Width: 24.6 cm, Depth: 20.5 cm

Object history note

Copy of a hand written letter to Robert Stone, from Eric Maclagan, Director of the Victoria & Albert Museum, 08/03/1929.

Robert E. Stone
4 First Avenue
Queens Park
London W10

Dear Sir,

The V&A Museum hardly ever acquires the work of living artists for exhibition but if you would care to make an appointment to bring the cross and show it to Mr. A.J. Koop, the head of dept. of metalwork, he would report to me on it, although I fear it is very unlikely that we should be able to contemplate its purchase.

Yours faithfully,
(Signed) Eric Maclagan
Director & Secretary

Historical context note

The Modern Church
In the late Victorian period two architects turned- craftsmen, Henry Wilson and C.R. Ashbee, initiated a decisive shift towards fine craftsmanship in church silver. This led to a sharp fall in the standing of commercial manufacturers but provided a steady source of work for many designer-silversmiths that has lasted into the present day. This revival of craftsmanship came out of the Arts and Crafts movement, one of the greatest social and artistic forces of the age. Favouring small studio workshops and simplicity of form, the movement set the pattern for church silver throughout the 20th century, whether for major cathedral commissions or for parish churches. Cathedral Church of St Michael, Coventry, 1954-62

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

The Watchmaker, Jeweller, Silversmith and Optician, London, February 1927, p.257 ill.

Labels and date

Altar Cross
Robert Stone was an important British silversmith of the mid 20th century. In 1926 he was awarded a scholarship to study at the Central School of Arts and Crafts in London. He then pursued a distinguished career working for major London silversmithing firms such as Garrards and Wakely & Wheeler.

In this altar cross, the enamel panels represent the four Evangelists – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – who wrote the Gospels. The ivory panel at the centre shows the Lamb of God, and the figures below are St John and the Virgin Mary.

London, England, 1927–8; designed and made
by R.E. Stone (1903–90)
Patinated copper, with silver, ivory and enamel
Museum no.M.25-1993. Given by Mrs R.E. Stone [22/11/2005]

Categories

Metalwork; Religion; Christianity

Collection

Metalwork Collection

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