English Nouveau

English Arts & Crafts Brass Tray (LEO Design)

The English Arts & Crafts Movement (like other Nouveau Movements around the world) utilized botanical elements, sometimes in highly-stylized new ways.  This round brass tray, made by Joseph Sankey & Sons, is embellished with grape clusters and leaves, entwined with their “whiplash-form” vines.  It sits on three ball feet.  It is perfect for serving tea for two or wine for six.

Joseph Sankey was born in 1826.  As a young man, he worked stamping tin “blanks” in one of the many British Midlands metalware shops.  “Blanks” were unfinished metal household objects—trays, jugs, canisters—which were then sold to other companies who would finish them with their choice of metal , patina or even enameling.  In the 1850’s, Sankey set-out with two fellow workers and began his own blankshop,  In time, the partners were bought-out and the company was renamed Joseph Sankey & Sons.  The company grew—fueled by middle class growth and the British Industrial Revolution—making trays, jugs, canisters, cachepots, crumbers, coal scuttles, photo frames, fireplace fenders, desk accessories and many other domestic household goods.  The company branched-out to other markets, making steel office furniture and vending machines.  By the time Joseph Sankey died in 1886 (when his son, John William took-over the company), Joseph Sankey & Sons was well on its way to becoming an English metal craft giant.  The company’s zenith, in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries, coincided with the popularity of Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau design.

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