Since 1824
Heritage
Heritage
Heritage
Heritage
Elkington & Co. was founded in 1824 by brothers George and Henry Elkington and is famous the world over as the leading manufacturer of English silverware. Established at the start of the Industrial Revolution, the Elkington brothers like many of their piers revolutionised their craft through new technology. Amongst their most illustrious achievements the patenting and perfecting of the electroplating process in 1838, an innovation which was to transform the potential of their manufacture and the industry at large. Patented in 1840, the electroplating technique heralded a sea change in the craft of silverware, and by the 1860’s the company employed over 1000 people, making Elkington & Co. the worlds leading silverware brand. The success of Elkington and Co. was testament to the exceptional quality of their wares, leading to a trove of commissions, awards and accolades, most notably Royal Warrants from Queen Victoria, and a host of continental royalty, a commission for the ladies single trophy at The Wimbledon and the design and manufacture of all luxury flatware and tableware onboard the Titanic. Throughout the 19th Century Elkington & Co. exhibited their wares to great acclaim, both as examples of skilled craftsmanship and technological innovation. At the Great Exhibition, Crystal Palace Hyde Park, Elkington & Co. were awarded the Gold Medal of excellence receiving critical acclaim for their artistic expression and sensational design. A slew of awards from the world’s foremost exhibitions in Paris, Philadelphia and Vienna followed throughout the latter 19th century. Since his visit to the workshops of Elkington & Co. in 1843 Prince Albert became an ardent patron, a tradition which endures at the Victoria and Albert museum where the world’s largest collection of Elkington & Co. masterpieces are prominently displayed in the Silver Galleries. Further examples of our wares can be found in the permanent collections of the worlds leading Museum’s.
Royal Warrants and Commissions

1868

Throughout our history Elkington & Co. have proudly held numerous Royal warrants and appointments.

In 1868, Queen Victoria permitted much of the royal plate to be crafted by Elkington & Co. Thereafter a convention began, with several continental royal families commissioning Elkington & Co. to create national objet d’art.

Overall, Elkington & Co. were honoured with Royal Warrants to their late Majesties Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, Queen Alexandra, King George V, Queen Mary and King George VI, as well as the Duke of Windsor (formerly King Edward VIII) and H.R.H. the late Princess Christian and their late majesties the King of Spain and King of Italy.

With a long tradition of supply to the world’s foremost yachts and ships, Elkington & Co. were commissioned to design and manufacture all the luxury flatware and tableware onboard the Titanic, further prominent commissions included flatware onboard the royal yacht Britannia and the White Star fleet of liners.

Our sporting heritage is evident in our very special commission for Wimbledon, namely the Stirling Silver partially gilded Venus Rosewater trophy presented annually to the ladies singles champion at Wimbledon, and the Royal Victoria Yacht Club International Gold Challenge Cup of 1890, made in 9ct Gold.

John Clume, in the Directory of Gold and Silversmiths, said that “Elkington Electroplate was soon accepted as the standard” with the result that the firm allowed a number of manufacturers to use the technique under licence. Amongst the earliest granted were those of Christofle & Cie of France.

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LA LéGION D’HONNEuR

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KING OF ITALY

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KING OF SPAIN

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EMPEROR OF AuSTRIA

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Exhibitions and Awards
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1851

The Great Exhibition, London

In 1851 Elkington & Co exhibited to great acclaim at the Great Exhibition in the Crystal Palace held at Hyde Park, London, organised by Prince Albert and Henry Cole as an international showcase for modern technology and industrial achievement.

The most remarkable piece of craftsmanship exhibited by Elkington & Co. was a table in gold and silver. The top of which was an electrotype plate created for the exhibitors by Cevalier de Schlick; subjects within the bas-relief included Minerva, Astroloia, Geometrica, Arithmetica, Musica, Rhetorica, Italectica and Grammatica. The piece was designed by George Stanton, a student of the Birmingham School of design, and received the highest possible award for its excellence in artistic quality and fine design.

Throughout the latter part of the 19th Century Elkington & Co. presented their creations at the world’s foremost fairs and exhibitions; and at these events they were presented with awards of excellence in recognition for their exceptional design and considered manufacture.

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1855

Exposition Universelle De Paris

Elkington & Co. exhibited the Warwick Race Plate ( 1855 ) in the silver category.

Awarded the Legion d’Honneur of the French Republic for excellence in artistic quality and fine design.

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1867

Exposition Universelle De Paris

Elkington & Co. presented the Minerva Shield. by French designer Leonard Morel-Ladeuil.

Awarded a Gold medal for skill and quality. The Art Journal declared, ‘There is a general impression that the work...is the best...exhibited during the memorable year of 1867’.

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1876

Philadelphia Exhibition

A Group of Elkington & Co.’s fine cloisonné porcelain was exhibited at the Philadelphia Exhibition.

Five medals and a diploma were awarded being the largest award made to any firm.

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1873

Vienna Exhibition

Elkington & Co. presented a series of electrotype, champlevé and cloisonné enamels.

The company was and awarded the only Grand Diploma of Honour for English Silverware.

MUSEUM COLLECTIONS

VICTORIA & ALBERT

Prince Albert believed that the role of the Society of Arts was to ‘wed high art with mechanical skill’ and to bring examples of good taste applied to everyday objects to the masses.

On 29 November 1843 Prince Albert made his first extensive visit to the Elkington & Co. premises on New Hall Street. As The Times noted, the Prince spent over an hour examining all the processes that took place in the factory. Afterwards, Prince Albert enjoyed a close relationship with Elkington & Co., a company who's products fulfilled all three requirements of Albert’s taste – personal appeal, moderate price and wide availability to the public.

In 1857 the Victoria and Albert Museum partnered with Elkington & Co., using their new technique of electroplating, historic silver pieces were reproduced as copies of rare specimens. However the relationship with Elkington & Co. was not simply a working one, the Victoria and Albert museum became an avid patron of Elkington & Co.’s finest works, investing a then huge sum of £2000 in the Milton shield after the Vienna Exhibition.

Left: Jerningham wine cooler 1884, electrotype copy by Elkington & Co.

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London

National Portrait Gallery

Mary, Queen of Scots, cast design by Domenico Brucciani (1870)

Elkington & Co. made numerous electrotype reproductions for the National Portrait Gallery between 1869 and 1881.

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Paris

Musee d’Orsay

Pot à crème, service à thé “Archaic” (1885-1886)

Hammered silver, engraved, partially gilded.

Design - Frederick Elkington

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New York

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Cup with cover, 1883.

Metropolitan Museum is the only American museum today with an extensive collection that was acquired in the 19th century.

The records show 184 objects designed and made by Elkington & Co.

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London

The British Museum

Milk Jug (1885)

Silver; from a tea-set; the body is based on spherical drum shape; the spout is engraved with a sun-ray motif; the interior is gilded.

Design - Christopher Dresser.

HALLMARKS
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1859

A hallmark is an official mark or series of marks struck on items made of precious metals - platinum, gold, silver and in some nations, palladium. In a more general sense, the term hallmark can also be used to refer to any distinguishing characteristic.

Elkington & Co. registered several marks at Sheffield Assay Office; the first of these in 1859 and subsequent marks as Elkington & Co. were registered in 1870, 1891, and 1906. A further mark in 1902. F.E Elkington registered 14th June 1902, Gothic Works, 28 Cambridge Street, Sheffield - FEE in an elongated oval.

The images presented below document many differences compared to the reference literature, demonstrating that Elkington never adopted a rigorous system of marks and the use of exceptions or discontinuous marks was a common practice for its production.

1840

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1840 - 1861

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1865 - 1898

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1899 - 1986

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