An amusing silver Butter Dish and Knife by Albert John Wilkins.
Albert John Wilkins. 1881-1953.
A shaped Butter dish and knife, the hammered dish engraved with a tortoise and a hare, London 1932/3.
Albert Wilkins was born in Islington, the son of a silversmith, Walter John Wilkins, and was apprenticed to Frank Clarke Wheeler [of Wakely and Wheeler] in 1896. He is listed in the 1911 census at the home of his parents and working as a ‘Visiting Teacher of Art Metalwork’ in the employ of the London County Council. In 1913 he married Ida Mary Harford, the daughter of the watercolour artist William Henry Harford, at St. Michael’s Battersea. He is recorded in 1939 as a Jeweller and Silversmith and a Teacher in Art Schools, living at 22 Muncaster road in Battersea. He died in 1953.
It seems likely that he was working for H. G. Murphy when Murphy opened a workshop at 5 Kenton Street in 1913. When Murphy decided, in the Summer of 1915, to enlist, Murphy’s wife, Jessie, ran the workshop for a period but it has been forgotten that during this period the business was run in partnership with Wilkins. On August 24th 1915, Wilkins entered his first mark with the Goldsmiths’ Company as partner in ‘Murphy and Wilkins, gold and silver workers of 5 Kenton street, Russell Square‘. It remains unclear how long the partnership continued but it is not the case, as stated by Atterbury and Benjamin in their monograph on Murphy, that the workshop was closed permanently soon after Murphy’s enlistment. Wlkins continued to work from Kenton street throughout his career. Murphy did not register a second mark until 1928 when he opened the Falcon Studio in Weymouth Street. Wilkins entered a second mark on the 1st of June 1926.
My thanks to Deborah Roberts at the Goldsmiths’ Company Library for her assistance in researching the marks entered by Wilkins.
Good. Minor surface marks.
Knife – 17.10 cm. long; Dish – 9.80 cm. diameter; Weight of the two pieces – 92.30 gms.