A single owner collection of works by renowned silversmith Stuart Devlin will go under the hammer in Surrey in October, with estimates ranging from £100 to £6,000.
The private collection of over 80 lots includes a large collection of Devlin’s distinctive and collectable ‘surprise eggs’ plus a complete set of the Christmas boxes (where each one represents one of the twelve days of Christmas – only 100 sets of these are known to exist).
Also included is a range of stunning silver candlesticks, tableware, flatware, champagne flutes, goblets and beakers.
Auctioneer Catherine Southon said, “We are extremely excited to be auctioning this incredible and diverse collection, which perfectly illustrates Devlin’s creative talent and unique design. Each item is beautifully crafted and demonstrates Devlin’s great skill as a silversmith and goldsmith coupled with his sense of amusement and intrigue.”
The collection has been amassed by one lady who has now decided to sell most of her collection. She explained, “While I was a young married teacher in the 60s I read a newspaper article about Stuart Devlin who was a promising young silversmith who had moved to London having won renown for designing the Australian Mint. The accompanying photo showed a pair of the most elegant and stylish candlesticks I had ever seen.
“At that moment the urge to buy some of his work was born, although I had to wait quite a few years to afford it. By chance I visited an Antiques fair in Harrogate and spotted a small pot pourri dish with the trade mark silver gilt bubbly finish and so the collection was begun.”
She continued, “I loved the originality and humour of the exquisite eggs and over the years my Harrogate contact sent me several pieces of his work. Then I discovered the Silver Vaults and added larger pieces; sets of champagne flutes, wine and goblets and a set of stunning candelabra and table lights. Sadly the time has come to downsize so I have kept several favourite small items and hope the new owners will have the same pleasure and fun that I have had from the collection.”
Among the highlights of the collection being sold are:
- a pair of parcel-giltsilver three light candelabrum, hallmarked London 1970, which are expected to fetch £4,000 to £6,000
- a set of six parcel-gilt-silver champagne flutes, hallmarked London 1973 is estimated at £1,000 to £1,500
- a set of eight parcel-gilt-silver champagne flutes, hallmarked London 1977, carry an estimate of £1,500 – £2,000
- a set of four parcel-gilt-silver candle holders, hallmarked 1970 with an estimate of £1,500 to £2,000
Elsewhere, for those thinking about early Christmas gifts, a piece entitled A partridge in a pear tree Twelve years of Christmas Limited Edition Surprise parcel-gilt-silver box, hallmarked London 1970 has an estimate of £400 to £600, while Three French Hens Twelve Years of Christmas Limited Edition Surprise parcel-gilt-silver box, hallmarked London 1972 carries a similar estimate.
About Stuart Devlin
Stuart Devlin, who was born in Australia, in Geelong, Victoria, died earlier this year aged 86. He studied goldsmithing and silversmithing at Royal Melbourne Technical College and then silversmithing and sculpture at Columbia University, New York (1960-62). However it was winning the competition to design Australia’s first decimal coinage changed his life, which was introduced in 1966.
Subsequently, he designed the medals for Australia’s new honours system in 1975 and many of their defence force and civilian medals, as well as coins for more than 30 other countries. For the Australian coins, he supervised the cutting of the dies at the Royal Mint in London and in 1965, using his prize money, he bought a small house in Clerkenwell with a basement workshop where he started a goldsmithing and silversmithing business. This was the first of seven workshops where he employed and trained many highly skilled craftsmen.
He was appointed CMG in 1980, granted a royal warrant in 1982 and in 1996-97 served as prime warden of the Goldsmiths’ Company. He was also integral to the foundation of the Goldsmiths’ Centre, which opened in 2012, aimed at addressing shortcomings in the creative education and training of goldsmiths.