|A William Cripps silver tea caddy, 1750, from the permanent collections at the V & A.|
This is January's illustration from our 2013 desk calendar, painted in watercolor.
Each year, our bindery produces a desk calendar celebrating beautiful antique objets d'art from around the world. January's illustration, which I've painted in watercolor, features a sterling silver tea caddy by the English silversmith William Cripps. Born sometime in the early eighteenth century, he was apprenticed to David Willaume for seven years between 1731 and 1738. Willaume was the son of a master goldsmith, and enjoyed the patronage of the wealthiest clients in England from the latter part of the reign of William III to the end of George I's reign. With such an illustrious apprenticeship, Cripps became an accomplished master metalsmith himself, working in the Rococo style for his appreciative and widespread clientele. William Cripps died in 1767, leaving behind a treasury of stunningly crafted silver pieces.
|A silver epergne by William Cripps, 1754, from the Rienzi collection|
True to its Rococo nature, the tea caddy I chose for our 2013 calendar is a tangle of disparate design motifs. At the foot is a fabulously cast dragon or dolphin engulfed in ocean waves. The tea caddy's equator is encircled by deeply chased cartouches featuring bunches of fruit and vines, and the beautifully formed lid, shown below but not included in my painting, is topped by a delicate butterfly.
|A closer view of William Cripps' tea caddy from 1750.|
For the Parvum Opus calendar, I always choose motifs that I imagine would sit beautifully on an elegant desk, either in reality or, as is the case here, on a dream desk. Painting these exquisite objects allows me the great pleasure of a good long meditation, careful study, and deep admiration for the maker's art. To compliment the masterful Late Baroque silverwork in Cripps' caddy, I've conjured a simple posy of begonias and creeping vines from my garden. I wonder if Mr. Cripps would approve?!
|Our 2013 desk calendar in situ. The Stafforshire milk jug was featured in last year's calendar |
and is a favorite piece of mine... More images are available at www.parvumopus.com