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Ingeborg Wikborg

(Sigurd)

(b Inderøy, Nord-Trøndelag, April 21, 1933).

Norwegian sculptor, designer and medallist. He became familiar with handicraft in his father’s furniture workshop. In 1954 he began five years’ study as a commercial artist at the Håndverks- og Kunstindustriskole in Oslo and from 1957 to 1963 he worked as an illustrator for a newspaper. He studied at the Kunstakademi in Oslo from 1959 to 1962 under the sculptor Per Palle Storm (1910–94) who advocated naturalism in sculpture. As an assistant to Arnold Haukeland from 1961 to 1964, Aas lost his apprehension of the untried and cultivated his sense of daring, as he gained experience with welding techniques. Highly imaginative and versatile, Aas worked in both abstract and figurative modes and is reckoned one of the foremost sculptors in Norway; in 1990 he was honoured with St Olav.

Aas’s first sculpture was an equestrian monument in snow, made in Inderøy while he was a schoolboy. His first public project was the abstract steel figure ...

Article

(b London, Oct 17, 1854; d Manorbier, Dyfed, July 5, 1924).

English designer. He was educated at Winchester and Oxford, and in 1877 he was articled to the architect Basil Champneys. Encouraged by William Morris, in 1880 Benson set up his own workshop in Hammersmith specializing in metalwork. Two years later he established a foundry at Chiswick, a showroom in Kensington and a new factory at Hammersmith (all in London), equipped with machinery to mass-produce a wide range of forms, such as kettles, vases, tables, dishes and firescreens. Benson’s elegant and spare designs were admired for their modernity and minimal use of ornament. He is best known for his lamps and lighting fixtures, mostly in copper and bronze, which are fitted with flat reflective surfaces (e.g. c. 1890; London, V&A). These items were displayed in S. Bing’s Maison de l’Art Nouveau, Paris, and were used in the Morris & Co. interiors at Wightwick Manor, W. Midlands (NT), and Standen, East Grinstead, W. Sussex. Many of Benson’s designs were patented, including those for jacketed vessels, which keep hot or cold liquids at a constant temperature, and for a ‘Colander’ teapot with a button mechanism for raising the tea leaves after the tea has infused. Benson sold his designs, labelled ‘Art Metal’, through his showroom on Bond Street, which opened in ...

Article

Hans Frei

(b Winterthur, Dec 22, 1908; d Zurich, Dec 9, 1994).

Swiss architect, sculptor, painter, industrial designer, graphic designer and writer. He attended silversmithing classes at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich from 1924 to 1927. Then, inspired by the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (1925), Paris, by the works of Le Corbusier and by a competition entry (1927) for the Palace of the League of Nations, Geneva, by Hannes Meyer and Hans Wittwer (1894–1952), he decided to become an architect and enrolled in the Bauhaus, Dessau, in 1927. He studied there for two years as a pupil of Josef Albers, László Moholy-Nagy, Paul Klee and Vasily Kandinsky, mainly in the field of ‘free art’. In 1929 he returned to Zurich. After working on graphic designs for the few modern buildings being constructed, he built his first work, his own house and studio (1932–3) in Zurich-Höngg; although this adheres to the principles of the new architecture, it retains echoes of the traditional, for example in the gently sloping saddle roof....

Article

Margot Gayle and Carol Gayle

(b Catskill, NY, March 14, 1800; d New York, April 13, 1874).

American inventor, engineer, designer and manufacturer. He trained as a watchmaker’s apprentice in Catskill, NY, worked as an engraver in Savannah, GA and again in Catskill. About 1830 he moved to New York City to promote his inventions. He secured many patents for various devices, including clocks, an eversharp pencil, a dry gas meter and a meter for measuring fluids. His most remunerative invention was a widely useful grinding mill (first patented 1832), which provided steady income throughout his life. During years spent in England (1836–40) he was granted an English patent for a postage device and won £100 in a competition with his proposal for a pre-paid postal system. He also observed the extensive use of iron in the construction of British factories, bridges and large buildings. After a trip to Italy, he conceived the idea of erecting prefabricated multi-storey structures with cast-iron exterior walls that reproduced Classical and Renaissance architectural styles. Returning to New York in ...

Article

Gordon Campbell

American jewellers and silversmiths founded in Philadelphia in 1839, when James Emott Caldwell, a watchmaker from Poughkeepsie, opened a workshop and retail outlet on Chestnut Street. The company’s fourth Chestnut Street shop was the Widener Building, which it occupied for 87 years until it closed in 2003; it now operates in six suburban locations. In the 19th century the company made silver plate, but in the 20th century it became primarily a retail outlet....

Article

Sarah Yates

(b Sheffield, Oct 5, 1930).

English silversmith and industrial designer. He trained as a silversmith at Sheffield College of Art (1946–8) and the Royal College of Art (1950–54). In 1954 he established a silversmithing workshop and studio in Sheffield and became a design consultant to the firm of Walker & Hall. It manufactured his earliest designs, including the ‘Pride’ range of silver cutlery (1954), the simple and elegant forms of which were inspired by 18th-century English cutlery. This was the first in a series of cutlery designs, for which he is best known (examples London, V&A; Goldsmiths’ Co.) and which received numerous Design Centre awards. In 1962 he became a Royal Designer for Industry. In 1963 the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works commissioned from him a range of silver cutlery and tableware for use in British embassies and in 1965 the minimalist ‘Thrift’ range of stainless steel cutlery, to be manufactured at low cost and used in government institutions. In ...

Article

Alan Powers

Stylistic term applied to the revival in the UK in the late 19th century and the 20th of the classical Georgian style of domestic architecture and interior and furniture design from the period 1714–1830. Similar, contemporary revivals of late 18th- and early 19th-century Georgian colonial styles also took place in such countries as the USA and Australia (see Colonial Revival). Neo-Georgian was one of the most popular architectural styles in the UK between 1900 and 1930; it continued to be employed despite the advent of Modernism, and in the 1980s a new phase of popularity began, stimulated by the anti-modernist, eclectic and pluralist trends of Post-modernism.

The origins of the Neo-Georgian style can be found in the 1860s. The house (1860–62; destr.) at 2 Palace Green, Kensington, London, designed for William Makepeace Thackeray by Frederick Hering (1800–69), who drew on Thackeray’s sketches, was an early, isolated example reflecting a literary interest in the 18th century. Another precursor is ...

Article

Susan T. Goodman

[Moscovitz, Shalom; Shalom of Safed]

(b Safed, Palestine [now Israel], 1887; d Safed, Jan 1980).

Israeli painter. For over 70 years he worked as a watchmaker as well as a scribe, silversmith and stonemason in Safed, an important centre of Jewish mysticism. After his watch-repair shop was destroyed in the War of Independence (1948), he earned a living by selling plywood toys coloured with crayon. In the mid-1950s Yosl Bergner, who recognized in these charming works the essential qualities of folk art, encouraged Shalom to paint. Shalom’s artistic vocabulary grew out of the rich traditions of his Hasidic heritage. The mystical literature of Safed and the deep impression made by the landscape of Israel contributed to his spiritual and visual development, while his work also reveals a deep affinity and commitment to the Scriptures, although he did much more than merely illustrate the scriptural narrative, as in Scenes from the Book of Ruth (1960; New York, Jew. Mus.). He created a pictorial unity from various recognized conventions, including discrepancies in scale between figures and settings in the depiction of groups in complex compositions, which heighten the expressive effect. Figures are depicted in profile or silhouetted in flat, unmodelled form (e.g. ...

Article

(b Levens, Westmoreland [now Cumbria], 1872; d London, April 11, 1945).

English ceramic and metalwork designer. He trained in stone- and wood-carving at the Kendal School of Art, then studied metalwork at the Keswick School of Industrial Art, where he later taught. In 1899 he left Keswick to study in the metalwork department of the Liverpool School of Art under Richard Llewellyn Rathbone (1864–1939). He moved to London to teach at the John Cass Technical Institute (c. 1906) and at the Royal College of Art (1912–26), and participated with notable success in arts and crafts exhibitions. In 1914 he was inspired by a visit to the Deutscher Werkbund exhibition in Cologne. This led to the founding in 1915, with Ambrose Heal and others, of the Design and Industries Association (DIA), which was intended to further public awareness of excellence in design.

In 1921 Stabler helped to establish the Carter, Stabler & Adam pottery in Poole, Dorset (renamed ...

Article

Stephan Welz

(b Liverpool, May 5, 1793; d London, June 8, 1852).

English silversmith, active in South Africa. After qualifying as a clock- and watchmaker, in 1818 he left for the Cape, where he became the most prolific and best-known 19th-century silversmith. Within three weeks of his arrival in Cape Town he opened a shop, and a year later he was advertising for craftsmen and apprentices in the silver and jewellery trade. Within four years Twentyman had established himself as the leading silversmith at the Cape, receiving commissions from the governor, churches and leading citizens. He made a number of presentation vases, all in the prevailing English style, and many small pieces such as snuff-boxes, christening cups, beakers and flatware of varying quality. An astute businessman, he imported large quantities of plated ware, which ultimately led to the death of the silversmith’s craft at the Cape. Twentyman returned to England in 1832, leaving what was by then an importing and retailing business in the hands of a manager....

Article

Donna Corbin

(b Hereford, May 21, 1929; d 2000).

English industrial designer and silversmith . He trained as a silversmith at the Birmingham School of Art. In the summer of 1953, while a student at the Royal College of Art (1952–5), he won a travelling scholarship to Sweden where he participated in a design course organized by the Swedish Council of Industrial Design. In the following year he went to Norway and worked with the silversmith Theodor Olsen. It was in Scandinavia that the potential of stainless steel as a material was brought to Welch’s attention, and in his final year at the Royal College the topic of his thesis was stainless-steel tableware. In 1955 he was appointed design consultant to J. & J. Wiggin, a small manufacturer of stainless-steel hollow-ware who marketed their products under the name Old Hall, a position he held for the next 25 years. Among Welch’s designs for Old Hall is the ‘Alveston’ cutlery range (...