THE BRADFORD EXHIBITION
The display of articles of vertu, specimens of the gold and silversmiths' arts, and general ornamental ware is, in its value and extent, probably quite unique, for a provincial exhibition. Most of these things are contributed by the leading firm of jewellers in Bradford, Messrs. Rhodes & Son, of Darley-street, and nearly all of those shown were manufactured in their own 'attliere'. In the reception rooms of the Prince and Princess of Wales, besides the furniture, &c, referred to in our last, there are various costly clocks of Japanese and English design, in brass and enamel work. The toilet-stand and writing-tables are adorned with some fine specimens of ivory toilet-ware and writing-table accessories, executed in the most exquisitely-carved brass figure-work.
In the centre of the floor of the Art Museum are three large cases, the centre one, which is oval, being flanked on either side by a case of octagonal shape. In the first of these is a handsome silver vase, presented by his mother, on his twenty-first birthday, to Captain Dawson. The design of the ornamentation is emblematical of English sports, and on one side, on a shield, are emblazoned in pure gold the arms and crest of the owner, surmounted by a wreath of acorns and oak-leaves. On the reverse side is a finely-executed group of English game in bas-relief, formed in solid silver. The handle is supported by a stag's head and antlers, adding much to the general effectiveness of the design. As a mount for the lid is a figure of the owner, attired in a sportsman's costume, gun under shoulder, deer-hound in leash at side, and a group of the trophies of the hunt at the feet, making a striking composition. The vase is supported on an ebonized stand, bearing on one side an inscription and on the reverse a shield made up of a group of dead game and fish.
In the same case is shown a collection of silver-gilt beakers, chalice cup, and a masque cup, as well as a silver-gilt oxydised tankard with chased figures representative of the defeat by Alfred the Great of Guthrum at Ethandune. It is a very remarkable example of the silversmith's art, the vigour and faithful execution of the figures with which the cup is covered entitling it to great attention. This was originally exhibited at the Goldsmiths' Hall, London, and there earned the highest praise from, among others, Mr. Poynter, R.A.
The central oval case is filled with a variety of objects of an ornamental and domestic character. The centre is occupied by a large silver vase of Bacchanalian character, flanked on the right hand by an exquisite claret cup, which is said to be an exact copy of one found on the wreck of one of the ships of the Spanish Armada. It is certainly a most excellent specimen of high-class goldsmith's work. The general design, and the ornamentation with which the cup is covered from lip to stem, show that in such productions the Spaniards had ideas which English goldsmiths in years long after had found worthy of imitation.
As a specimen of the English style there is shown on the left an English silver and gilt and oxydised claret cup, which, however, is not to be compared with the older one. Then as a contrast is shown a Japanese tea-set, suitable for a tete-a-tete, which is both attractive and fanciful. Near this is exhibited a silver-chased tankard and pair of cups, the subject of which is taken from Landseer, the "Otter Hunt," the original of which forms a part of the collection of Alderman Holden, of Woodland, Yorks. Landseer is also adopted as a source for the ornamentation of a silver chased beer jug, of noble proportions, after the well-known picture " Bolton Abbey in the Olden Times." The original picture is in the gallery of the Duke of Devonshire.
There are also in this case several other interesting objects, including a beautiful tea and coffee set, engraved with birds, flowers, and ferns, after the Japanese pattern. In the second octagonal case is a collection of silver and gold plate of peculiar interest to local inhabitants, as it will recall events in the recent history of the town. The central object is a silver and gold presentation vase, made in Bradford, on the occasion of the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales. On one side are flags, armorial bearings, plumes, &c.; on the reverse, an inscription, the whole being surmounted with a figure of Victory holding the sword, and scales, with figures representative of Plenty and Industry. The base of the vase is supported by four cupids, finely drawn. There are also shown golden keys, silver gilt trowels, ivory mallet, for ceremonial purposes, and finely-executed enamelled backs, of watches.
Source: The Furniture Gazette - 29th July 1882