The Artists Rifles - Silver Dish by Omar Ramsden, 1918
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Diameter: 10.3cm (4in)
Hammered silver. Executed in the anti-industrial Arts & Crafts style developed by Omar Ramsden and Alwyn Carr, the present dish is centred on the regimental Mars and Minerva badge, symbolizing the conjunction of the War and Wisdom. Maker’s mark of Omar Ramsden. Hallmarked London 1919.
The Artists Rifles was raised in 1859 as part of the Volunteer Movement against the threat of French invasion. Painters, sculptors, actors and musicians filled its ranks. The President of the Royal Academy Frederick, Lord Leighton was an early commanding officer of the regiment that included eminent pre-Raphaelite artists such as Millais, Holman-Hunt, Burne-Jones, Rossetti and William Morris. Later members include the the war poet Edward Thomas, the Nash brothers, the sculptors William McMillan and C.S. Jagger, and the inventor Sir Barnes Wallis. The unit's badge was designed by J.W. Wyon. During the World Wars it served as an officer training unit before being disbanded in 1945. It was re-raised as a special forces unit of the Army reserve in 1947.
Omar Ramsden (1873–1939) was born at Sheffield and studied at Sheffield School of Art where he met Alwyn Charles Ellison Carr (1872-1940). They were both disciples of the Arts and Crafts movement and devout Catholics. They won Sheffield Corporation Scholarships in 1893 and 1894 respectively, and moved to London to attend the Royal College of Art. Having won a prestigious commission to design and make the City of Sheffield ceremonial mace in 1897, they established a London studio in 1898. It is largely assumed that Ramsden was the entrepreneur in the business and Carr the designer. They registered a mark in February 1898 and worked initially at the Stamford Bridge Studios in Chelsea, moving to the Albert Studios in Battersea in 1901, and then to St Dunstan's Studios, Fulham in 1905. In 1914 and despite his age Carr volunteered while Ramsden stayed at home to continue the business, causing, it is said, a rift between the two men. Carr underwent officer selection with 28th Bn. London Regiment (Artists Rifles) and was duly commissioned, serving as a Captain in the RASC on the Western Front from which he was invalided in 1918. The Ramsden and Carr partnership was dissolved in 1919, after which Ramsden focused on liturgical work and the design of several war memorials.