In the issue published in August that year the Gazette commented: “In order that the firm may be recognised by the trade as reliable in point of design in every article of manufacture… and to render themselves secure against the inroads of wedding-cake art, Hukin & Heath have wisely secured the services of one of the past masters of decoration, Dr Christopher Dresser.”
The designer, they continued, had “laboured for many years to teach that in order to be inexpensive – not cheap, that is gimcrack – an article need not be ugly”.
The Aesthetic movement cut glass and electroplated claret jug offered by Catherine Southon (24% buyer’s premium) on November 16 at the Farleigh Golf Club, Surrey, was among those designs.
Distinctive for its fluted neck and flat lid, it shares the scrolled handle occasionally seen on other Hukin & Heath vessels attributed to Dresser.
This one, however, is fully stamped to the inside of the cover Designed by Dr C Dresser.
It was not in great condition – the silver plate is heavily rubbed to the base metal and the glass has a light bloom to the interior – but on account of its rarity it attracted sufficient admirers to bring £5000 (estimate £400-600).
A similar vessel but without the scalloped edge to the neck and in silver rather than silver plate was sold by Lyon & Turnbull in 2015. With hallmarks for Birmingham 1886, it had made £8000.