Alan Place for Old Newbury Crafters Modern Sterling Water Pitcher, Amesbury, MA, 1991
Works by Alan Place are extremely rare and this is a stunning example of his work. Based on traditional arts & crafts forms and practices, this large pitcher is totally hand raised and was retailed by Gumps, the boutique crafts store in San Francisco, CA.
The skillfully formed body is vasiform with eight deep, vertically incised lines. These lines create a magnificent mirror effect of multiple lines around the interior of the neck. The upper rim has an applied band.
The base is a domed foot with small, vertical creases matching the body.
The bold handle is quite striking. The exterior has a flat surface with a curved interior for comfortable handling.
Both inside and out, the surface of the pitcher has a wonderful sparkle with soft hammering. The interior is covered with gilding and is just beautiful with the combination of color and hammer marks.
Alan Place had his workshop in the late 1960's in Kinross, Scotland 'where he creates an endless variety of lovely things, from tiny delicate works of art in silver and gold to great powerful sculpture in copper and steel and wrought iron'. He created the Winston Churchill medal for which 25 were made in gold and 100 were made in Britannia silver (a higher grade than sterling). 'The Queen has a number of pieces of his beautiful creations, including a gold box with a crystal lid, and a silver rose bowl presented to her in 1959 by The Royal College of Physicians, in Edinburgh'.1
He was also 'the head of the gold and silversmithing department at Brisbane College of Advanced Education in Queensland'.2
According to the same article, he says people are ''getting bored with having everything the same as everyone else.'' There appears to be a trend toward the purchase of things that are individual, he said.3
''Before I design a piece of silver,'' he explained, ''I interview a person to find out his background and his likes and dislikes. The client helps design the piece.''4
This rare pitcher is marked underneath 'A.P. within a shaped oval with a cross in a circular punch along with 'O.N.C./ STERLING' and the retailer 'GUMP'S'. It measures 8 inches across the handle by just shy of 9.75 inches high, weighs a very impressive 31.65 troy ounces, has never been engraved and is in excellent condition.
Provenance: This pitcher was custom made for a client who ordered it through Gumps in San Francisco. At the time, Alan Place made silver for O.N.C. who sold through the famous retailer, Gumps. We purchased the pitcher directly from the original owner. According to the owner, he became friends with Allan Place who created a matching bowl.
Jewellery Inspired by Nature by Elise Walker, in The Glasgow Herald, June 2, 1966, p. 7.
CRAFTS; SILVERSMITHING: AN ART NOT LOST by Patricia Malarcher, in The New York Times, July 27th, 1986.