Posted 6 years ago
This is a set of three tutti-frutti Arts & Crafts dress clips decorated with red peacocks in flowering trees. The two outer clips are a true pair, while the middle clip is slightly larger. The stones are all genuine rubies, emeralds and sapphires with great color, there are no synthetics.
The metal is sterling silver and there is a big surprise when you look at the backs. They are highly detailed, pierced, chased, and engraved with matching pictures of the birds on the front.
The workmanship is amazing. The setting of the stones, and the detail on the backs, are done in the traditional Georgian way, while the peacock design and tutti-frutti colour scheme shows the influence of India. The engraved backs are very similar to the silver bird brooches made by Bernard Cuzner, however these clips don't look like anything else of his that I've ever seen.
There can be very little doubt that these clips are British Arts & Crafts, certainly designed by a highly skilled artist and jeweller. To produce this set by hand, using traditional techniques, was time consuming work, and with the cost of the stones, the finished set must have been very expensive.
So who is the artist? I believe these are the creation of Arthur and Georgina Gaskin, based on the letter "G" in the eye of bird on the central clip (note the outer clips just have a dot for the eyeball).
They were possibly produced at the Vittoria Street School of Jewellery and Silversmithing, where Arthur Gaskin was headmaster, influencing his student Bernard Cuzner, who went on to become Head of the Metalwork Department at the nearby Birmingham School of Art.
From 1913 the craftsman jeweller Bernard Instone was also based at Vittoria Street, making pieces for the Gaskins, Bernard Cuzner, and other teachers at the school, and it's possible that it was his hand that made these clips, designed by Arthur and Georgina Gaskin, circa 1913-14.