A.E. Jones born Albert Edward Jones in 1878 was one of the most notable silversmiths of the 19th century, with his work being synonymous with the Arts and Crafts movement. He was born into a family of craftsmen and studied at the Birmingham wing of the Central School of Arts and Crafts.
He was also a member of the Birmingham Guild of Handicraft. It was in this era that he would study and work alongside a number of key figures such as Arthur Dixon and Edward Taylor. Consequently building up a stellar reputation as one of the most promising craftsmen around. He set up his own premises at Holloway Head in Birmingham in 1902, when he also acquired the Jesson and Birkett firm. This attracted various talented prodigies and making his own tools. His firm, A.E. Jones Limited continued operating until long after his death in 1954. It was finally being bought up by C J Vander. The company had been taken over by his son, Kenneth Crisp Jones in 1958.
Silver, Copper, Bronze and Brass
A.E. Jones Ltd was famed for its hallmarked silver as well as various other items produced from copper, bronze and brass. However, some of these goods were not hallmarked, yet they remain traceable back to the firm. This is due to distinctive craftsmanship and design work evident in them. A number of the firm’s most notable pieces were crafted by Anne Stubbs, and are noted for their neo-classical features. Various early pieces were made using Ruskin pottery. A.E. Jones was a close friend of the E.R. and Howson Taylor, the owners of the Ruskin firm. He was highly influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement aside from being a strong influence himself.
Shrewd Acquisitions A.E. Jones
A.E. Jones acquisition of various designs and work from Jesson, Birkett and Co. included the famous St Dunstan trademark of a monk hand raising a bowl. This originally belong to Llewylln Rathbone before that company was acquired by Faulker Bronze. The company that would become Jesson, Birkett and Co. Jones also bought the copper colouring process which had been worked up by F.W Salthouse. This ensured that various unique shades could be achieved in the manufacturing process’ Consequently enabling A.E Jones Ltd to make their work even more distinctive. After the war, the company would attract orders from several big name clients such as The Birmingham Guild Ltd, with various bespoke designs being produced.
A Highly Distinctive Style
Various features are also distinctive due to their ecclesiastical features, something that is said to stem from A.E. Jones apprenticeships with Woodward’s and Hardman Powell, specialists in this style. Due to the lack of literature available about A.E. Jones , a handful of experts have chosen to curate numerous examples of literature on the figure. Understandably identifying various misattributions that have been made to the firm due to the lack of hallmark. Consequently various items made by, or thought to have been made by A.E. Jones change hands for three or four figure sums even today.
Other Great Silversmiths H G Murphy