Bi-Centenary Commemoration Centrepiece

The Sheffield Assay Office’s Bi-Centenary Commemoration Centrepiece.

This Piece, as conceived, should include flowers. This special purpose Bowl was commissioned by the Goldsmiths’ Company of London and given to Sheffield Assay Office commemorating 200 yrs. of Hall-marking in Sheffield (1773 to 1973).

The design provides a wide, flat rim on which are the scattered facsimiles of 199 Date Letters incorporated within Sheffield’s Assay Marks and with the 200th being the then current date letter included in the Hall-mark to be found on the outside of this Bowl.

At the centre of this piece is a small bowl to hold water and this small bowl is surmounted by an open-work Fret (or grille) to support a token display of flowers (i.e. Fresias). The pattern of open-work forming the Fret make for a visual representation of the systematic pattern of hammer-blows worked by the silversmith throughout the processes of ‘raising’ and ‘planishing’, whilst hand-working on a vessel raised-up from a flat sheet of silver.

On top of the Fret, at its centre is a Crown, the original Town Mark for Sheffield, and the then (in 1973) newly adopted York Rose is depicted at the very centre of this Bowl. (sterling silver, the 199 facsimile date letters photo-etched, the Fret is silver-gilt, the Crown and the Rose: modelled, cast, carved and chased by me, the engraved inscription is by George Lukes).

Two further illustrations show the Assay Office Centrepiece during the later stages of construction in my workshop, myself carving detail into the York Rose prior to its being soldered in position at the centre of the Bowl, and with my then trainee-silversmith Alan Jeandin ensuring that the Fret will fit nicely on the Bowl.

  • Keith working on the Bi-Centenary Commemoration Centrepiece ::
  • Carving the Yorkshire Rose ::
Keith working on the Bi-Centenary Commemoration Centrepiece

  • Bi-Centenary Commemoration Centrepiece
  • 330mm(13”) diameter.
  • Sterling silver
  • 1973