Robert Garrard



An important and long-established firm of silversmiths, specialising in elaborate domestic silver and fine jewellery, during the last century Garrard's produced some of the finest presentation plate. The firm was founded in 1722 by George Wickes, Goldsmith to Frederick, Prince of Wales. The business in Panton Street, London changed management several times before Robert Garrard Snr. (1758.1818) joined partnership with John Wakelin in 1792; on the latter's death, 1802 Garrard took sole command of the firm which remained within the family for the next 150 years. Robert Snr. was succeeded by his sons, Robert Jnr.( 1793-1881), James (1795-1870) and Sebastian (1798-1870) of which Robert was the driving force, rapidly developing Garrard and Brothers (1818-C.1835) into one of Europe's most prestigious silversmith firms. On King William IV's accession, 1830 Garrard's succeeded Rundell and Bridge as Crown Goldsmith and were appointed Crown Jewellers in 1843. In the same year and until 1909 the firm became R. and S. Garrard and Co.

R. and S. Garrard and Co. produced a wide variety of useful and highly decorative silverware, frequently displayed at the national and international exhibitions; these provide an idea of Garrard's range of items as well as stylistic design. At the Society of Arts, London 1849 they showed a soup tureen in the Italian Renaissance manner which surpassed all other silver works. However the most notable display was some 83 pieces at the Great Exhibition, London, 1851 which included an ewer in the Sixteenth Century style, a Queen Anne style candlestick and many sculptural groups including one of Queen Victoria's dogs. Sculptural groups were among their most successful exhibits. During the 1850's silver sculpture depicting scenes of Arabs in the desert or out hunting became extremely popular; Garrard contributed four such groups to the Great Exhibition. They also showed a candelabra in the Moorish style which was awarded a first prize; it was designed by Edmund Cotterill (1795-1860) who in 1833 became Garrard's head designer.


Cotterill was responsible for the firm's more important presentation pieces which had reached their height of popularity during the 1840's, 50's and 60's R. and S. Garrard, with Hunt and Roskell as rivals were the leading makers of such pieces -sculptural groups, centre pieces and sporting cups, the most important of which are the prize racing coups for Ascot, Goodwood and Doncaster. Cotterill designed the Ascot cup of 1842, depiciting an incident from the Battle of Crecy, combining richness and variety with realism. He also designed the Queen's coup at Ascot, 1848 and 1849.His Goodwood cup, 1854 depicts a realistic group of Arab horsemen drinking beside an oassis; during the early 1850's Cotterlill had visited the Middle East and combined his experience with imagination and adept design. Cotterill was a distinctive figure in the firm's history; other designers and modellers included Edward L. Percy, Harrison Weir and William F. Spencer who succeeded Cotterill as head designer. Of the managers-Robert Garrard was succeeded in 1881 by his nephew, James M. Garrard (1834-1900) on whose death the firm was run by his son, Sebastian H. Garrard (1868-1946). In 1956 the firm was sold to Mappin and Webb Ltd. And while no longer a family business, Garrard has retained its name and continues to produce fine quality silverware.


Copyright by Richard Redding Ltd.