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Title: Chats on Old Copper and Brass
Author: Burgess, Fred. W. (Frederick William)
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                             CHATS ON OLD
                           COPPER AND BRASS



                        BOOKS FOR COLLECTORS
           _With Frontispieces and many Illustrations._

    CHATS ON ENGLISH CHINA.
    By Arthur Hayden.

    CHATS ON OLD FURNITURE.
    By Arthur Hayden.

    CHATS ON OLD PRINTS.
    (How to collect and value Old Engravings.)
    By Arthur Hayden.

    CHATS ON COSTUME.
    By G. Woolliscroft Rhead.

    CHATS ON OLD LACE AND NEEDLEWORK.
    By E. L. Lowes.

    CHATS ON ORIENTAL CHINA.
    By J. F. Blacker.

    CHATS ON OLD MINIATURES.
    By J. J. Foster, F.S.A.

    CHATS ON ENGLISH EARTHENWARE.
    (Companion volume to "Chats on English China.")
    By Arthur Hayden.

    CHATS ON AUTOGRAPHS.
    By A. M. Broadley.

    CHATS ON PEWTER.
    By H. J. L. I. Massé, M.A.

    CHATS ON POSTAGE STAMPS.
    By Fred. J. Melville.

    CHATS ON OLD JEWELLERY AND TRINKETS.
    By MacIver Percival.

    CHATS ON COTTAGE AND FARMHOUSE FURNITURE.
    (Companion volume to "Chats on Old Furniture.")
    By Arthur Hayden.

    CHATS ON OLD COINS.
    By Fred. W. Burgess.

    CHATS ON OLD COPPER AND BRASS.
    By Fred. W. Burgess.

    CHATS ON HOUSEHOLD CURIOS.
    By Fred. W. Burgess.

    CHATS ON OLD SILVER.
    By Arthur Hayden.

    CHATS ON JAPANESE PRINTS.
    By Arthur Davison Ficke.

    CHATS ON MILITARY CURIOS.
    By Stanley C. Johnson.

    CHATS ON OLD CLOCKS AND WATCHES.
    By Arthur Hayden.

    CHATS ON ROYAL COPENHAGEN PORCELAIN.
    By Arthur Hayden.

    CHATS ON OLD SHEFFIELD PLATE.
    (Companion volume to "Chats on Old Silver.")
    By Arthur Hayden.

    CHATS ON OLD ENGLISH DRAWINGS.
    By Randall Davies.

    CHATS ON WEDGWOOD WARE.
    By Harry Barnard.

    BYE PATHS OF CURIO COLLECTING.
    By Arthur Hayden.
    With Frontispiece and 72 Full page Illustrations.

    LONDON: T. FISHER UNWIN, LTD.
    NEW YORK: F. A. STOKES COMPANY.

[Illustration: FIG. 1.--FINE COPPER EWER.

(_In the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington._)]



                           CHATS ON OLD
                         COPPER AND BRASS

                                  BY
                           FRED. W. BURGESS
                 AUTHOR OF "CHATS ON OLD COINS," ETC.


               WITH FRONTISPIECE AND ILLUSTRATIONS FROM
                     PHOTOGRAPHS AND WASH DRAWINGS


                          T. FISHER UNWIN LTD
                        LONDON: ADELPHI TERRACE


                      _First Published     1914_
                      _Second Impression   1925_


                        (_All rights reserved_)



PREFACE


The collection of old metal may at first sight appear a somewhat
unattractive hobby; a moment's reflection, however, brings to mind the
wonderful art treasures of metal in our museums, gathered together from
many parts of the world; not necessarily of the precious metals, for
many of the most cunningly contrived objects of antiquarian research
are of copper in one or more of its numerous forms of alloy.

Copper is the basis of so many alloys of which metallic curios are
formed, that in its combination with other metals it gives the
collector an almost inexhaustible field of research. It was the metal
of the ancients, which in combination with tin gave them that useful
metal with which to fashion weapons of offence and defence, and later,
as the Bronze Age advanced, utilitarian objects of household economy.

Collectors find the Age of Metals unfolding as they arrange their
collections with orderly sequence, and thereby trace the progress of
artificers throughout the periods which have intervened since the first
bronze celt was moulded to the present day. Although this is the Age
of Iron and the numerous materials which metallurgical research and
scientific skill have produced, copper, and brass in its varied forms,
are still prominent, and the almost inexhaustible supply of copper with
which Nature has provided us is still being drawn from.

In this work the curios and artistic objects of use and ornament which
have come down to us, contributed by craftsmen of many ages and of many
countries, are passed in review. The object of so doing has been to
awaken still greater interest--if that is possible--in the collection
of copper and brass, and to preserve to futurity metal objects from
which the utilitarian purpose of their manufacture is fast waning--if
not already gone.

Although the rarest and most costly objects are to be found in museums
and the galleries of the wealthy, there are many still in the homes of
the people, and there are many who seek and obtain pleasure and delight
from the collection of the curious and the beautiful who cannot afford
the unique specimens which are so costly. To such this book should
appeal, for the descriptions and the illustrations have been drawn from
many sources, and their selection has by no means been confined to the
rarer types.

The illustrations are reproductions of photographs which have been
willingly furnished by owners of collections and museum authorities.
A large number, too, have been specially drawn for this work by my
daughter, Miss Ethel Burgess.

I gratefully acknowledge the kindness of those who have allowed me
to make use of objects in their collections. I would especially bear
testimony to the courtesy of the Directors of the British Museum who
have authorized their printers, The University Press, Oxford, to
furnish blocks of some of the most interesting metal objects in the
Galleries. The Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum has granted
facilities for the reproduction of some of the beautiful metal-work at
South Kensington.

My thanks are especially due to Mr. Guy Laking, M.V.O., F.S.A.,
who, although in the midst of the removal of the London Museum from
Kensington Palace to its new home at Stafford House, has kindly
supplied several photographs of scarce metal objects. Special drawings
have been made of several representative objects in the Guildhall
Museum, through the courtesy of the Curator.

Permission has been granted to reproduce photographs and illustrations
of objects in several of the more important provincial Museums, and in
several instances some very interesting information has been given by
the Curators. Among others I should like to give the names of Mr. F. R.
Rowley, Curator of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum at Exeter; Mr. T.
Sheppard, F.G.S., F.S.A.Scot., Curator of the Municipal Museum, Hull;
Dr. Hoyle, Director of the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff; Mr. J.
A. Charlton Deas, F.R.Hist.S., Director of the Museum and Art Gallery,
Sunderland; Mr. Thos. Midgley, F.R.Met.S., Chadwick Museum, Bolton; Mr.
R. Rathbun, Assistant Secretary of the United States National Museum,
Washington; and the Town Clerk of Winchester.

I am further indebted to Messrs. Glendining & Co., Ltd., who have given
me permission to reproduce some beautiful Oriental metal-work which
has recently passed under the hammer in their London Galleries; also
to Messrs. Herbert Benham & Co., for a drawing of the copper ball and
cross of St. Paul's; and to Mr. Amor, of St. James's, S.W., The Edward
Gallery, of King Street, S.W., and Mr. Chas. Wayte, of Edenbridge, who
have given me photographs of rare pieces of art metal-work.

I have endeavoured to refrain from technicalities or dry descriptions;
but some of the chapters have necessarily a touch of the workshop and
the foundry about them. I can assure my readers, however, that the
"metallic ring" is inseparable from copper and brass, and that the
pleasures of possession will be added to by the better understanding it
will impart to those who collect and admire similar objects to those
referred to in this work.

                                  FRED. W. BURGESS.
  LONDON, 1914.



CONTENTS


                                                                  PAGE
  PREFACE                                                            7

  GLOSSARY                                                          23


                                 CHAPTER I

  THE METAL AND ITS ALLOYS                                          35
    Ancient bronze--The bronzes of Greece, Rome, and Eastern
    nations--Copper for enamels--The brass of commerce--Bell
    metal--The sources of copper--The making of brass--Copper
    as an alloy--The characteristics of metal.


                                CHAPTER II

  THE HUNTING GROUND                                                51
    In buried cities--Turned up by the plough--Among Saxon
    and Norman remains--In hidden chambers--In local
    museums--Dealers' shops--The engraver's art.


                                CHAPTER III

  PREHISTORIC BRONZES.                                              63
    The dawn of progress--London relics--The beauty of
    ancient art--The useful bronzes, the prototypes of later
    brasses--The forger at work.

                                CHAPTER IV

  GREEK AND ROMAN CURIOS                                            77
    Grecian bronzes--Relics of Roman occupation--Interesting
    toilet requisites--Artificial lighting--Statues and
    monuments--Romano-British art--A well-staged exhibit.


                                 CHAPTER V
  MEDIÆVAL ANTIQUITIES                                              93
    Domestic brasswork--Metal signs and badges--Ornamental
    trinkets--Arms and armour.


                                CHAPTER VI

  LATER METAL-WORK                                                 111
    The influence of the Guilds--Architectural metal-work--The
    door knocker--Interior metal-work.


                                CHAPTER VII

  CHURCH BRASSWORK                                                 133
    Candlesticks--Altar brasses--Metal architectural
    ornament--Memorial brasses.


                               CHAPTER VIII

  DOMESTIC UTENSILS                                                153
    The kitchen--The houseplace--Chimney and other
    ornaments--Classified arrangement.


                                CHAPTER IX

  CANDLESTICKS AND LAMPS                                           193
    Fire-making apparatus--Candles and candlesticks--Oil
    lamps and lanterns.


                                 CHAPTER X

  BELLS AND BELL-METAL CASTINGS                                    215
    The founders' secrets--Great bells of historic fame--The
    uses of bells--Old mortars.


                                CHAPTER XI

  CIVIC EMBLEMS AND WEIGHTS AND MEASURES                           229
    The ancient horn--The badge of office--Weighing
    instruments--Measures in Exeter Museum--Our standards.


                                CHAPTER XII

  BRONZES AND THEIR REPLICAS                                       247
    Early figure modelling--Statues in public places--Replicas
    in miniature.


                               CHAPTER XIII

  ORIENTAL BRONZES AND BRASSES                                     261
    Countries of origin--How some Oriental curios are derived--A
    wealth of metal on view--Various Indian wares--Chinese
    and Japanese art.


                                CHAPTER XIV
  IDOLS AND TEMPLE RELICS                                          289
    Varied shrines and many idols--Indian idols--Temple
    vases and ornaments.


                                CHAPTER XV
  NATIVE METAL-WORK                                                303
    Outside influences--Benin bronzes--Other African curios.


                                CHAPTER XVI

  CONTINENTAL COPPER AND BRASS                                     313
    Italian bronzes--French art--Dutch brasswork--German
    metal-work.


                               CHAPTER XVII

  SUNDIALS, CLOCKS, AND BRASS INSTRUMENTS                          327
    The mystery of dialling--Some old dials--Antique clocks--Old
    watches--The weather--Scientific instruments.


                               CHAPTER XVIII

  ENAMELS ON COPPER                                                347
    Processes of enamelling--Chinese and Japanese enamels--British
    enamels.


                                CHAPTER XIX

  MISCELLANEOUS METAL CURIOS                                       361
    Tobacco-boxes and pipe-stoppers--Snuff-boxes--Handles
    and handle-plates--Horse-trappings--War relics--Tiny
    curios--Replicas.


                                CHAPTER XX

  WRINKLES FOR COLLECTORS                                          385
    Cleaning copper and brass--Lacquering metal--Polishing
    brass--Restoring antique finishes--Using the burnisher--Brass
    rubbings.


  INDEX                                                            395



                             ILLUSTRATIONS


  FIG.
  1. FINE COPPER EWER                                   _Frontispiece_

                                                                  PAGE
  2. (1) BRONZE BUCKLER FROM THE THAMES VALLEY                      39

  3. (2) ANOTHER BUCKLER FROM ABERYSTWYTH                           39

  4. PART OF THE HOARD OF IMPLEMENTS OF THE
     LATE BRONZE AGE, FOUND IN KING'S CO., IRELAND                  55

  5. (1) BRONZE CALDRON                                             67

  6. (2) URN OF THE LATER BRONZE AGE                                67

  7. BRONZE SAUCEPAN WITH FOLIATED HANDLE                           85

  8. EWER OF HAMMERED COPPER                                        85

  9. LAMP OF CAST BRONZE                                            85

  10. LAMP OF BRASS INLAID WITH COPPER                              85

  11. BRASS AQUAMANILE (SEVENTEENTH CENTURY)                        99

  12. BRASS _COUVRE DE FEU_, A RARE EARLY PIECE                    113

  13. COPPER VANE ON BILLINGSGATE FISH MARKET                      119

  14. THE CITY DRAGON AS A WEATHER-VANE                            119

  15. COPPER COCK VANE, ONE OF FOUR ON SMITHFIELD MARKET           119

  16. BRONZE KNOCKER OF THE ARMORIAL TYPE                          129

  17. BRASS DROP KNOCKER IN THE FORM OF A DOLPHIN                  129

  18. BRASS WELL BUCKET                                            129

  19. CURIOUS DOUBLE CANDLESTICK                                   135

  20. VENETIAN CANDELABRUM (ONE OF A PAIR)                         141

  21. BRONZE INCENSE BURNER AND INCENSE BOAT                       145

  22. THE COPPER-GILT CROSS ON ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL                149

  23. SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY ROOM IN THE LONDON MUSEUM                157

  24. BRONZE CALDRON IN TRINITY HOSPITAL, LEICESTER                161

  25. SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY BRASS PAN                                165

  26. BRASS TRIPOD POT                                             165

  27. CALDRON OF CAST BRASS                                        165

  28. BRASS COOKING VESSEL WITH CURVED HANDLE                      165

  29. SKILLET (BRASS), THE HANDLE OF WHICH IS
      ENGRAVED WITH THE MOTTO "PITTY THE PORE"                     169

  30 AND 31. BRONZE COOKING VESSELS, ATTRIBUTED TO
      THE BEGINNING OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY                     169

  32 AND 33. COPPER WATER JUG AND WATER POT                        173

  34. COPPER WATER JUG AND COVER                                   173

  35. BRASS TWO-HANDLED WATER VESSEL                               173

  36. A FINELY-PIERCED BRASS TRIVET, DATED 1668                    177

  37. BRASS-TOPPED TRIVET, WITH ADDITIONAL LEG STAY                177

  38. BRASS-TOPPED TRIVET, WITH TURNED WOOD HANDLE                 177

  39. COPPER HELMET-SHAPED COAL-BOX                                181

  40. BRASS FOOT-WARMER WITH BAIL HANDLE                           185

  41 AND 42. EARLY BRASS OR BRONZE HAND-WARMER,
     SHOWN OPEN AND CLOSED                                         185

  43 AND 44. BRASS CHIMNEY ORNAMENTS (ONE EACH OF PAIRS)           189

  45. BRASS HORSE, A CHIMNEY OR HOB-GRATE ORNAMENT                 189

  46. A TWO-TUBE CANDLE MOULD                                      197

  47. TWO TYPES OF EARLY PRICKET CANDLESTICKS                      197

  48. PAIR OF CANDELABRUM OF EARLY TYPE (CENTRAL
      FIGURE) AND TWO OLD OIL LAMPS                                201

  49. GROUP OF RARE CANDLESTICKS, ALMS-DISH, AND EWERS             205

  50. EARLY BRONZE LAMP                                            209

  51. OLD BRASS LANTERN                                            213

  52. BELL CAST BY JOHN PENNINGTON AT EXETER IN 1670               223

  53. GROUP OF BELL-METAL MORTARS                                  223

  54. AN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY FLAGSTAFF HEAD OF
      BRASS, ORIGINALLY GILT                                       233

  55. THE WINCHESTER MOOT HORN                                     233

  56. THE WINCHESTER BUSHEL (STANDARD MEASURE)                     237

  57. OLD MEASURES BASED ON THE WINCHESTER STANDARD                237

  58. A PINT MEASURE OF THE REIGN OF ELIZABETH                     243

  59. A WINCHESTER PINT OF THE DAYS OF QUEEN ANNE                  243

  60. OLD FRENCH WEIGHTS                                           243

  61. BRONZE TIGER, BY ANTOINE LOUIS BARYE                         251

  62. BRONZE LION, BY BARYE                                        255

  63. BRONZE STAG, BY BARYE                                        259

  64. COFFEE-POT OF HAMMERED COPPER FROM SYRIA                     265

  65. SARACENIC DECORATED BRASS BASIN                              269

  66. JAPANESE KETTLE (_YUWAKASHI_)                                275

  67. PAIR OF VASES OF RED-BROWN COPPER, RELIEVED
      WITH BLACK LAC, FROM MORADABAD                               275

  68. BRONZE FIGURE (ONE OF A PAIR) INLAID WITH
      SILVER AND GOLD                                              285

  69. AMIDA (INDIAN IDOL)                                          291

  70. A "BLUE" TARA (INDIAN IDOL)                                  291

  71. AMITAYUS (INDIAN IDOL)                                       291

  72. VAJRA DHARMA (INDIAN IDOL)                                   291

  73. AMITAYUS (INDIAN IDOL)                                       291

  74. JAPANESE PRICKET CANDLESTICK IN THE FORM
      OF CRANE AND TORTOISE                                        295

  75. JAPANESE RITUAL VASE                                         299

  76. SMALL TWO-HANDLED RITUAL VASE                                299

  77. CIRCULAR VASE ON STAND                                       299

  78. BRONZE OVIFORM EWER                                          315

  79. BRASS EWER WITH ARTISTIC HANDLE                              315

  80. DUTCH ORNAMENTAL BRASS CISTERN                               323

  81. FRENCH EWER OR TANKARD WITH FANCY HANDLE                     323

  82. FRENCH EWER WITH GROTESQUE MOUTH (SIXTEENTH CENTURY)         323

  83. EARLY DIALS--ON THE LEFT AN ARMILLARY DIAL;
      IN THE CENTRE PILLAR DIAL; AND ON THE
      RIGHT A RING DIAL                                            331

  84. CURIOUS OLD MICROSCOPE, MADE IN 1780                         331

  85. ENGRAVED POCKET CLOCK                                        337

  86. A HANDSOME BRONZE BAROMETER                                  343

  87. BOWL OF THE MING PERIOD                                      353

  88. BOX OF PEKIN ENAMEL                                          353

  89. MING BOWL                                                    353

  90. FINE ALTAR SET OF CLOISONNÉ ENAMELS (CH'IEN LUNG PERIOD)     359

  91. COLLECTION OF BRASS AMULETS (HARNESS BRASSES)                371



GLOSSARY



GLOSSARY


=Astrolabe.=--The astrolabe is an instrument which was largely used in
taking the altitude of the sun or stars at sea. It was well known to
the Greeks, and takes its names from two Greek words, meaning _a star_
and _to take_. Perfected by the Arabs, the instrument was introduced
into Europe about the tenth century. It is said that the most famous
examples are to be seen in the museums at Madrid and Florence. There is
one in the British Museum, which was made for Henry, Prince of Wales,
in 1574.

=Barrow.=--Mounds in which bronze celts, knives, spear-heads, and food
receptacles are found along with the remains of chieftains and others
of the prehistoric peoples once inhabiting this country. The term
"barrow" originally denoted a "little hill." Round barrows are the
most common form, although some are oval and some of the "long barrow"
type. The methods of burial differed, but in most instances implements
of stone or bronze as well as vessels of pottery and some trinkets
belonging to the dead were usually placed near to the body.

=Betel-Nut Boxes.=--The beautifully ornate boxes, chiefly found in
India, made for holding the betel-nut and the shell lime used by the
natives who chew the leaves and nut of the areca palm.

=Bidri Metal.=--The metal objects known as bidri are made of an alloy
of copper-zinc and lead, damascened with silver, showing a peculiarly
striking contrast in black and white. The villages round Lucknow are
famous for this curious and effective inlaid metal work.

=Brass.=--An alloy of copper and zinc. Early brass was copper mixed
with calamine melted in a crucible. The ancient form of alloyed metal
employed by the Romans was copper and tin, which, although frequently
termed "brass" is more correctly defined as bronze (see Bronze). The
greater the proportion of zinc the lighter the colour; but the addition
of an extra quantity of zinc reduced the tenacity and ductility of the
metal.

=Brasses.=--The term brasses is applied (in antiquarian and curio
metallurgy) to the monumental brasses which as early as the first half
of the thirteenth century replaced the older effigies, such as those
of the Crusaders, which may be seen in the Temple Church, in London.
The brasses, of which many rubbings have been taken, include the large
brasses, covering nearly the whole of their tomb flag, and the small
brasses on which were engraved emblems, escutcheons, and inscriptions,
inset into large slabs of marble or stone, ornamenting rather than
constituting the covering of tombs.

=Brazier.=--Primarily a pan for holding burning coals. The brazier was
in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries a domestic appliance for
keeping hot dishes for the table, some very interesting examples of an
ornamental character, doubtless used for that purpose, being referred
to in Chapter VIII. The brazier, so called to-day, is a tripod open
fire chiefly used out of doors in some open space.

=Bronze.=--The bronze of the ancients consisted chiefly of pure copper
and an alloy of tin. In those very early days the compounding and
mixing of the metals must have been done largely by experience and
"rule of thumb." It was before the days of metallurgical research and
before the chemistry of metals was understood. As yet there was no
formula. Curiously enough the proper nomenclature of metals has never
been formulated, and "bronze" is the term still applied in a very
haphazard way to various alloys.

Quite recently a very able lecture was delivered by Dr. Rosenhain,
of the National Physical Laboratory, on the "Nomenclature of Alloys"
at a meeting of the Birmingham Section of the Institute of Metals.
Every one, he told us, described metals "at his own sweet will," and
for the most part by misleading terms. He suggested in reference to
copper-bronze alloys that "copper-zinc" might denote an alloy with more
copper than zinc in it, and "zinc-copper" when the former metal was
present in a greater degree. He thought "tin-copper" would serve as a
fairly wide definition of modern bronze. In such bronzes aluminium is
now generally added. Other scientists have suggested the definition of
bronze by chemical numerals, thereby indicating their contents with
more exactitude. At present, however, the term bronze is very elastic.

=Buckler.=--The old English name _bocler_ denoted a shield with a boss.
It was worn on the left arm; used in the Middle Ages to parry blows
rather than intended to act as a cover for the body like the larger and
more cumbrous shields.

=Chattie or Chatty.=--A porous earthenware vessel used in India for
cooling water and other purposes.

=Chaufferette.=--A spherical metal vessel in the interior of which was
a small chain, from which was suspended a cup in which could be placed
a piece of red-hot metal or charcoal. It was usually a hand-warmer;
some chaufferettes, however, were larger, almost like small stoves.
The name is derived from a table stove or small furnace, literally
a cylindrical box of sheet-iron, the word coming from the French
_chauffer_, to heat.

=Circe-Perdu Process.=--The Japanese have been wonderfully clever in
their manipulation of metals, especially considering the very primitive
appliances they used in the early days. Some of their most remarkably
intricate bronzes were fashioned and modelled in wax, delicately
tooled, hardened a little, and then covered over with layers of fine
clay until the mould became strong enough. The clay mould when dried
was heated until the wax ran out, leaving a smooth and beautifully
finished mould in which the bronze metal could be poured, the clay
being broken away when it was cold. Great skill and at the same time
much patience were needed to produce such charming effects. The bronzes
of old Japan were frequently inlaid with fine and delicate tracery in
silver and gold. Up to comparatively recent times beautifully modelled
ornaments were fashioned by such laborious processes, and even now by
more modern methods much labour is expended on their production.

=Counters.=--Counters have been used in card games from quite early
times. They were frequently of engraved metal. In the reign of James
I., we are told by Horace Walpole, one Nicholas Hilliard was licensed
for twelve years to engrave card counters on which was the Royal
portrait. In later reigns similar counters were so engraved. Those
of the time of Queen Anne bore a great resemblance to the obverse of
the then current coins. Sets of counters were frequently supplied in
metal boxes, the exteriors of which were often decorated by engravings.
It should be clearly understood that metal card-counters--old and
modern--are quite distinct from commercial counters or jettons.

=Couvre de Feu.=--The French term, literally, cover of the fire, became
the name of the metal shield or cover with which the fire was shut down
in the days of the Norman kings. From the same root term the English
curfew is derived. It was the curfew bell that sounded the signal
for the _couvre de feu_ to be brought out and lights and fires to be
extinguished. These metal plates, so frequently engraved all over, are
among the rarities of domestic curios (see p. 113).

=Damascene.=--The process of inlaying steel or other metal work with
silver or gold beaten into the incised metal. To damascene (also
spelled damasken) was a process first emanating from Damascus--hence
its name.

=Dialling.=--A dial plate is made by fixing to a flat surface a stile
or gnomon, which forms with the horizon an angle equal to the latitude
of the place in which it is to be used. When the gnomon is in position
a line is drawn upon the surface of the plate so that the shadow of the
stile falls exactly upon it at noonday, the plane through the stile
and the sun coinciding with the meridian. It cannot be too clearly
understood by users of old sundials that dial plates used in any other
latitude than that for which they were constructed must necessarily be
inaccurate.

=Ember Tongs.=--These little tongs were formerly used to take up the
hot embers from among the ashes of a dying fire. They were constantly
in use in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, many being
decorative, the handles often being fashioned to serve the purpose of a
pipe stopper.

=Enamels.=--The enamels applied to copper or brass are glass coloured
with oxides of metals, producing blue, green, violet, red, and other
shades. These when fused adhere to the metal surface and are very
lasting. Various processes have been adopted, especially in the fine
arts. The principal older processes are champlevé, cloisonné, and
Limoges. In the first named the spaces to be filled in with enamels are
cut into the metal foundation; then, when the enamels have been fired,
they are rubbed down and polished. The cloisonné process, chiefly
practised in the East, consists of small cells or cloisons formed of
wire filled with the requisite colours. Limoges enamels, the finest
period of which is placed in the sixteenth century, were formed by a
ground of enamel painted over, chiefly with classical subjects.

Opaque enamels on, usually, a convex copper disc or plate, were the
work of later craftsmen. At Battersea and Bilston in England, towards
the close of the eighteenth century, many small boxes and trinkets
(see p. 356) were produced. The enamels of recent date applied to
utilitarian objects and cooking vessels are seldom fixed upon a
ground-work of copper--iron or steel being the usual base. In jewelry
and small trinkets enamelling on copper is still practised, many such
objects being of Oriental origin.

=Fibula.=--A small brooch or buckle. Many of the beautifully fashioned
fibulæ have been found among the remains of Roman London, a large
number being on view in the Guildhall Museum.

=Gipciere.=--A kind of pouch formerly worn at the girdle, an early type
of purse. The name is sometimes spelled _gipser_.

=Hookah.=--The name given to the bottle through which tobacco smoke is
passed. In smoking with a hookah the smoke is cooled by being made to
pass through water.

=Latten.=--The name is primarily derived from the nature of the
material--thin sheets. The brass or latten brass was formerly used
chiefly for making church utensils. Black latten consists of milled
sheets of brass, composed of copper and zinc; roll latten, of metal
polished on both sides; and white latten of brass and tin.

=Meander.=--A term applied to the decorations on Japanese and other
bronzes. To wind, to twist, meandering like the winding river Maeander,
in Phrygia, from which the proverbial term is derived.

=Mirrors of Bronze.=--The bronze mirrors of the Romans were given their
reflective power by using an alloy of antimony and lead, a combined
metal which took a highly reflective polish; the backs, handles, and
frames were of bronze.

=Mortars.=--Mortars such as those referred to on p. 226 with
accompanying pestles, were commonly in domestic use from the sixteenth
to the eighteenth centuries. In later years they were employed
chiefly in the preparation of drugs, but more recently they have been
superseded by the modern way of preparing spices and other compounds by
machinery. The form of the vessel may be described as an inverted bell,
the substances therein being pounded or rubbed with the pestle.

=Patina.=--A term expressive of the colour or encrustation which is
imparted to works of art by age. It is used chiefly in reference to the
beautiful green formation which covers ancient bronzes, shading from
light green to deep brown. This crustation consists of basic copper
carbonate, the result of exposure to the air. It is chiefly found on
bronzes, the alloy of which is mostly of tin and very little zinc. The
patina or patine is also the name given by the Romans to a shallow
basin used for domestic purposes.

=Pilgrims' Signs.=--The symbols or signs worn by pilgrims when visiting
one or other of the famous shrines in this country in mediæval days
were distinct from the crests or badges of wealthy patrons which were
at one time worn pretty generally as indicating on whose service the
journey they were making was being performed. Pilgrims' signs were worn
on the outward journey chiefly as protective amulets; on the return
journey mostly as proof of the pilgrimage, such signs being purchased
at or near the shrines to which homage had been paid. The chief shrines
in this country were those of St. Thomas à Becket at Canterbury, and
Walsingham Priory in Norfolk, where Our Lady of Walsingham was held in
high repute.

=Weather-Vane.=--The vane denotes any flat surface attached to an axis
and moved by the wind, usually applied to some elevated object for the
purpose of telling which way the wind blows. A strip of metal cut to
some fanciful form and placed upon a perpendicular axis around which it
moves easily.



I

THE
METAL
AND ITS
ALLOYS



CHAPTER I

THE METAL AND ITS ALLOYS

      Ancient bronze--The bronzes of Greece, Rome, and Eastern
      nations--Copper for enamels--The brass of commerce--Bell
      metal--The sources of copper--The making of brass--Copper as an
      alloy--The characteristics of metals.


The coppersmith has taken a prominent place among the craftsmen of
all nations, and at all periods, and in not a few instances he has
been acknowledged as an artist of no mean order. The material upon
which he has worked has been copper and its alloys and compounds.
From this metal have been produced many valuable antiques, and among
the work of the coppersmith of more recent days there are objects of
intense interest and of great beauty. In this work many collectable
objects have been classified, and in the different groups of metal-work
referred to attention is drawn to these beautiful and sometimes quaint
reminders of past generations, and also to some of the most notable
non-collectable metal-work which may be seen and admired in museums and
art galleries, and to a few of the copper monuments, memorials, and
historic relics which are gazed at by the curious, oftentimes without
thought of the materials of which they are composed.


Ancient Bronze.

The raw material, copper, smelted and beaten or poured from a
crucible into moulds, was in more ancient times used in its unalloyed
purity--and it is still used in that state. It was, however, soon
discovered that copper might be improved for many purposes by mixing
with it other metals possessing different properties. The prehistoric
peoples who lived in Britain, and in other countries within reach, soon
added tin, which was found in Cornwall quite near to the surface, and
was from early times sold to Phoenician traders, thereby producing
bronze. It is of this metal that most of the much valued curios of
the so-called Bronze Age are made. Those who fashioned them were
clever manipulators of the alloyed metal, and by processes now little
understood were able to temper tools and weapons and to give them
keen-cutting edges. Our museums are full of spear-heads, celts, axes,
and palstaves of bronze, which were cast in moulds of stone cut to the
required shapes by those primitive workers in metal, who used simple
crucibles in which it was melted.

[Illustration: FIG. 2 (1).--BRONZE BUCKLER FROM THE THAMES VALLEY.

FIG. 3 (2).--ANOTHER BUCKLER FROM ABERYSTWYTH.

(_In the British Museum._)]

The prehistoric bronzes, some examples of which are referred to in
another chapter, are the earliest collectable curios formed of metal.
They include implements of war and of the chase and some domestic
utensils and cooking vessels. To these useful objects must be added
ornaments and trinkets of bronze, so many of which have been found
in the barrows and burying-places of prehistoric races.

The knowledge of bronze appears to have been widespread. It was
understood by those who dwelt in this country, by the inhabitants of
European countries, by Eastern nations, and by the Egyptians, who left
such wonderful monuments behind them, giving evidence that they knew
how to impart a knife-like edge to their tools of bronze.


Bronzes of Greece and Rome and Eastern Nations.

The ancient bronze of prehistoric days must not be confused with the
metals or compounds of copper and its alloys which enabled the Greeks
to produce such wonderful statues. They learned to impart hardness
to copper, and wrought much delicate handiwork, much of which has
perished; but enough has been spared to confirm classic history and to
enable us to realize something of their conceptions of the old gods
and personified hopes and aspirations. In like manner the wonderful
bronzes of China and Old Japan were wrought; the metal-worker's art in
those countries goes back many centuries. Some of the more delicately
chiselled figures and groups were first modelled in wax upon an iron
core, the mould being then formed of soft clay. When the clay was
baked the wax melted, and running away through prepared outlets, left
a smooth cavity into which the bronze was afterwards poured. When the
metal was cold the clay would easily be broken away, and the object, at
the moulding of which we often marvel, made perfect. In course of time
such bronzes have been coated over with a beautiful patina of green,
that natural finish which age can alone impart. It is in that state so
many of the bronzes of Grecian sculptors are found, and it is covered
with patina of many delightful shades that we buy the metallic curios
from China and Japan.


Copper for Enamels.

In the days when so many beautiful ecclesiastical ornaments were
fashioned, copper was the foundation used by mediæval artists as
the base of their exquisite enamels. These beautiful objects are
especially referred to in Chapter XVIII, where reference is also made
to the enamels of Eastern countries, in the making of which brass was
frequently used as the foundation. Copper has been found suitable as
the groundwork upon which super-finishes have given that superiority
and attractiveness associated with many of the fine arts. It was
suitable for gilding over and for decorating with precious stones.
Copper was also frequently used by painters, its smooth surface being
regarded as an excellent material on which to work. As an example,
some of the religious pictures, especially miniatures, were painted on
copper, instead of on wood panels.


The Brass of Commerce.

Many speak of brass as a metal apart from copper, yet the brass of
commerce, worked up in many forms, is only a composite metal of which
copper is the basis. The popularity of pure copper as the material
from which household utensils and many constructional objects of
use and ornament were made in the past continued unabated until
metallurgical chemists discovered how, by using an alloy of zinc, the
metal we call brass could be cast, rolled, and otherwise manipulated.
Among the advantages claimed for brass is that it has a harder surface
and is more resisting than copper. From the days of Queen Elizabeth
onward it was much favoured for domestic vessels, and even at the
present time it is used to some extent; there has, however, always been
a concurrent use of copper.


Bell Metal and Other Alloys.

There is yet another important alloy, which from its chief use takes
the name of bell-metal; its companion alloy is gun-metal. In the mixing
of these metals special alloys are aimed at according to the object in
view, that is to say, the ingredients vary, but, broadly defined, the
copper and its alloy tin used in bell-metal are in the proportion of
three to one. The metal was in the past used for those much employed
articles of commercial and domestic use, mortars, in addition to the
founding of bells. Bell-metal was also the material of which weights
and measures (especially the standards kept in many of the old cities)
were chiefly made (see illustrations and references thereto in Chapters
X and XI).


The Sources from which Copper is Derived.

Copper seems to have been very widely distributed all over the world,
a fact that has contributed to its general use. At one time a local
metal employed in a pure state and in conjunction with alloys, chiefly
where it was mined, it is now brought to the metal-founder from other
parts of the world. Although vast quantities of copper are now imported
into England, it was from British mines that the supply was drawn in
days gone by. The Britons understood its use, no doubt finding it out
by accident, just as the natives of many other countries have done.
Copper, as evidenced by the marvellous Benin bronzes, was known in
Central Africa long ago. The mines at Mansfield, in Germany, are the
oldest in Europe, and there workers have been digging up copper for
seven centuries.

The collector of old metal objects naturally takes the greater
interest in well authenticated specimens known to have been fashioned
in districts once famous for their copper mines. Unfortunately, the
Cornish mines produce little ore now. When the Romans worked them they
obtained copper quite near to the surface; but such easily mined ores
have long been cleared.

Copper smelting was carried on in Cumberland and Northumberland in
days gone by. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries copper was
smelted in Yorkshire and Lancashire. Then we read of the reopening of
old Cornish mines and of furnaces being erected in Bristol. The mines
of Anglesea are less known, although they were once very active. South
Wales has for many years past been closely identified with copper
smelting, and rolling mills were established in Swansea as early as
1720; and although the better knowledge of metallic chemistry enables
manufacturers to produce copper more economically than in days gone by,
the old principle of crushing, calcining, roasting, and washing the
ore, although improved by modern machinery, is still adhered to.

As with many other industries, the invention of the steam-engine was
a boon to the owners of copper mines in Cornwall, many being flooded
towards the end of the eighteenth century. With the steam-engine to
work them, pumps were put in operation, mines were cleared, and for
a time at any rate ore was procured and renewed activity was visible
in many British centres. In those days many of the things we now
regard as curios were being made. As with many other raw materials
the value of copper steadily advanced, for as trade and commerce
grew, immense quantities were used up for sheathing ships' bottoms,
roofing buildings, for engravers' plates, and for the rolls used in
the printing of calicoes. Other sources of supply have been found, for
the chain extending from Land's End to Dartmoor no longer serves. The
famous Parys Mines are no more, and it is from foreign countries the
supply comes. Some of our Colonies have proved rich in ores, such,
for instance, as South Australia, where it is said an early settler
examining the burrow of a wombat found the green mineral, that incident
leading to the opening of mines yielding vast quantities of copper ore.


The Making of Brass.

The brass of commerce, rolled in sheets, drawn in rods and wire,
and cast in ingots ready for the founder, is, as it has been stated,
a composite metal, very well suited to many purposes. During the
sixteenth century much progress was made in metal-founding. The
Worshipful Company of Founders was busy. Many "battery" works were set
up in England, and there brass was hammered or battered into shape.
Thus brass-workers were engaged in making useful pots and pans, now
in their much worn state eagerly sought after by the collector. Some
worked with the ladle and crucible, others with the hammer and anvil or
wood block.

The earlier brass was composed of copper mixed with calamine melted in
a crucible, a process which continued until the more modern form of
melting metallic zinc with copper was understood. Champion's process,
by which this newer method was carried out, was kept secret for some
time, but about the middle of the eighteenth century it was generally
understood and the process of stamping brass became a common one in the
Birmingham district.


Copper as an Alloy.

Copper, the base of so many alloys, has itself been found a useful
alloy of most workable metals, not only in modern times but in years
gone by. It is one of the best hardening agents in aluminium, the
newer metal which is to some extent displacing copper and brass
cooking pots and much ornamental metal-work. According to an expert,
aluminium is tasteless, and possesses all the advantages of copper
without its drawbacks. That being so, perhaps even vessels of brass,
such as may still be seen in kitchens, may soon become obsolete and
pass shortly into the rôle of the museum curio. Incidentally it may
be mentioned that aluminium is not altogether a new metal, neither
is its use confined to civilized countries, where metallurgists have
proved its advantages; for the natives of the Philippines, Borneo,
and other islands in the Pacific have long used it as an independent
metal, and also for the purposes of ornamenting other materials. Many
of the copper and brass curios brought into this country, the products
of native smiths, working far from civilized lands, are partly made of
aluminium, alloyed chiefly with native copper. The natives of Borneo
melt it in fireclay crucibles over a coke fire, and are very clever at
producing some remarkably fine pieces of metal-work, using different
metals for the same object; thus some of their daggers have brass
hilts and aluminium blades. The metal-worker has frequently introduced
aluminium in the decoration of copper and brass gongs, some of the
older examples from Japan being extremely decorative.


The Characteristics of the Metals.

Some collectors very wisely follow up their researches after new
treasures by investigating the methods of their production, and they
even visit modern works where similar methods, although more advanced,
are going on. Very interesting indeed is it to watch the molten metal
as it is mixed and poured into moulds and made into pigs. To see the
great rolling mills through which the bars are passed, and to watch
the hammering and drawing by the steam-hammer and powerful machinery,
is an education which enhances the interest there is in the possession
of finished goods--old and new.

It is said the brassfounder's requirements to-day are much the same as
they have always been, although perhaps there are more iron moulds used
and greater care is taken in their preparation. The mould must have a
good surface and be composed of the right kind of iron. The best metal
for the purpose appears to be one high in silica and low in combined
carbon, thus securing a soft iron which will not crack when the molten
metal strikes it. The science of metals is constantly being added to,
and the research of chemists of recent years has done much towards
improving the skill of present-day artists, most of whom, however,
readily give praise to the almost intuitive skill of the artists of
olden time.

The fashioning of copper and brass follows the preparation of the
metal; there are many reasons why copper and its compounds and alloys
have been so generally employed, one of the principal being that the
ductility of copper has made it welcome wherever the hammer has been
brought into play. The possibility of hammering out brass and copper,
and especially the latter, is seen in the extreme fineness to which
copper wire can be drawn. Hood uses the similitude when speaking of
how travel improves the mind, and tells of the gradual narrowing of
copper and brass as they become finer and finer, likening those who
have not travelled to the narrowed metal. Collectors of curios show
characteristic traits, twofold in application. There are some who
get more broad-minded the farther they travel, the more museums they
inspect, and the wider their knowledge of the antiquities they admire.
Others, specialists for the most part, get into very narrow grooves,
confining their hobbies to some one class of goods, not always the
most interesting in public estimation; then they wonder how it is that
their hobbies are not appreciated by their friends! Surely the greatest
delight is in a representative collection, such as the hobby under
review, which shows all the possibilities of copper and brass in their
varied treatment. In the examples which have come down to us from the
Ancients, in those schemes of decoration which mark clearly the work
of the artists of some one country or period, and in those general
collectable objects which have been brought together from everywhere,
there is a liberal education:

    "Some minds improve by travel; others, rather,
    Resemble copper wire, or brass,
    Which gets the narrower by going farther."



II

THE
HUNTING
GROUND



CHAPTER II

THE HUNTING GROUND

      In buried cities--Turned up by the plough--Among Saxon and
      Norman remains--In hidden chambers--In local museums--Dealers'
      shops--The engraver's art.


The multiplicity of collectable objects needed to supply collectors
makes the uninitiated wonder where all these antiques come from.
Countless numbers of beautiful objects have found their way into the
melting-pot in the past, and what once was old has in some new form
become once more a useful article, in its turn to be discarded and
perhaps melted up and recast.


In Buried Cities.

The curios which have been preserved for centuries beneath the soil
are often of priceless value, telling of the habits of peoples of
whom history has told us little. Celts, knives, spear-heads, and food
receptacles are discovered on the sites of prehistoric camping-grounds.
The delicately tooled bronzes from buried cities like Pompeii and
Herculaneum come to us with almost a living force in this twentieth
century. As we gaze at the wonderful beauty of their forms and the
charming patina of green with which they are covered, we can almost
imagine what they looked like in the hands of patrons of art in the
far-off times when they were first fashioned. Our own country is full
of ruins of ancient cities far below the present roadways. When the
Romans built Bath it was in a hollow much deeper than the level of the
modern city, and it is in these lower levels that relics of Roman Bath
are found.

There is a ring of sadness in the desolation of such ancient cities as
Verulamium, Cirencester, Kenchester, and similarly deserted locations
where modern excavations have been going on recently. It seems curious
how the very sites of such once famous places have been lost, but not
strange when we remember that more recently occupied towns are but
grass mounds--to-day explorers are cutting into the turf-covered mounds
of Old Sarum to ascertain where its chief buildings stood. The finds on
these ancient sites are varied; many of them are metallic, and although
of trifling intrinsic value are prized as being authentic curios.

[Illustration: FIG. 4.--PART OF THE HOARD OF IMPLEMENTS OF THE LATE
BRONZE AGE, FOUND IN KING'S CO., IRELAND.

(_In the British Museum._)]


Turned up by the Plough.

The plough has played an important part in history, and collectors
owe much to that useful implement. It has been the means of bringing
to light many vessels which have been buried for centuries, for
although land has been ploughed many seasons, a deeper ploughshare
or more frequent ploughing on the same spot has brought nearer to
the surface a copper vessel or an earthen jar, full of antiquarian
interest. The field and the forest, and even the deserted mines, have
brought to collectors of old metal many interesting relics. Until quite
recently there was an old bronze caldron on view in the window of a
dealer in antiques in Chester. It was the prototype of many similar
vessels that have been made in later days in different parts of the
country, the model on which the more modern pots or camp-kettles of the
gipsies and the three-legged pots commonly suspended over the cottage
hearth, until comparatively modern times, have been fashioned. It is
worthy of note that the principle adopted by those early metal-workers
is still observed in the more scientific construction of cooking
vessels to-day. The form of the caldron was such that by applying heat
under the centre the flames spread and leapt up the sides, curling as
they travelled, following the lines fashioned by the coppersmiths, and
heating the contents of the vessel equally. Such ancient caldrons,
sometimes much worn and at others in fairly good condition, have been
preserved by Mother Earth until discovered in modern times.


Among Saxon and Norman Remains.

The Saxons and Normans used metal, and the brawny arms of the smiths,
and later the founders, fashioned the cooking-pots made in their day.
Many metal curios, much battered by fallen masonry, have been found
among the ruins of Norman castles and in some cases of the still
earlier Saxon dwellings. The discoveries of curios of those periods
are by no means frequent, and it would appear as if we must now be
content with storing carefully those relics already discovered. Modern
restorations and excavations have brought many valuable antiquities
to light, and authorities have been very careful to preserve them in
county or local museums.


In Hidden Chambers.

The splendour of mediæval days when feasting in the great hall of the
baron or overlord has been revealed by many noted finds. The great
kitchens of those mansions were full of copper and brass, and it is
from such supplies that many of the best authenticated specimens have
come. Some are historical; even bronze caldrons and more modest-looking
saucepans have been made to the order of some mediæval chieftain or
baron.

The life of the common people of this country varied little between
the days of the Norman Conquest and those of the Tudor sovereigns who
held court in the houses of the nobility. The dress, costume, and rough
splendour of the Elizabethan age had its effect, however, on the homes
of courtiers and eventually of the common people. When the stormy times
of the Civil War came there was a rude breaking up of the old order
of things, and in Cromwellian days some preparation for the new which
was to come. After the battlefield came the destruction of stronghold
and mansion by order of the Parliament. Some escaped, and within the
last century not a few domestic curios have been found during the
restoration and rebuilding of old houses dating from the time of the
Commonwealth. Priests' cells and secret chambers, sliding panels and
concealed cupboards, and other hidden places were the rule rather
than the exception at the time of the Civil War. In some of these
long-forgotten places of concealment some very interesting domestic
objects in copper and brass have been found during rebuilding and
restoration.


In Local Museums.

It is a moot point whether the frequent change in the ownership of
curios which goes on every day, as evidenced by the auction sales,
stirs up the curiosity of the collector and awakens his interest in
his hobby to a greater extent than when such curios are placed on view
in local museums. The fact remains that, notwithstanding the constant
circulation of curios, many find a permanent home in museums. Not only
do the national collections in the British Museum, and the Victoria
and Albert Museum at South Kensington grow rapidly, but in almost
every town of note there are local and great district museums. This
latter class is instanced in the Welsh National Museum at Cardiff.
There are two typical local museums in London--the Guildhall Museum and
the London Museum, which has just found a new home at Stafford House.
These museums stimulate local collectors, but they do not contribute
to their collections. As places of reference they are invaluable, for
the wider spread knowledge of antiques secured by the objects shown
prevents amateurs from falling into traps and consequently becoming
disheartened.


Dealers' Shops.

The shops of dealers supplement the auction-rooms. They are partly
fed from them and partly by the persistent search ever going on for
objects in which their owners have little interest and are willing to
part with for a consideration--not always the "top price." The greater
popularity of curio-hunting has caused a vigorous search of attic and
cellar at the instance of dealers as well as collectors. Even the
palaces of kings and queens and the houses of the nobility have been
ransacked, and treasures from an artistic point of view, as well as
from a utilitarian, have been brought to light and the dust of many
years wiped away.

Many delightful examples of the coppersmith's art were until recently
condemned by the travelling tinker as being no longer repairable,
with the natural consequence that, their value as antiques being
unknown, they were eventually sold for an "old song." Those pioneers of
collecting who had time on their hands and foresaw an accruing value
of even old metal went about from town to town examining the marine
stores and visiting villages and farmhouses in search of anything old
and curious. To-day there are few genuine antiques without some one to
value them. Nearly every collection belongs to an appreciative owner,
and when curios change hands it is generally at a premium instead of at
"a bargain price."

Hitherto reference has been made chiefly to metal curios of British
make, and to those objects with which Englishmen have become familiar.
The collector, however, is cosmopolitan in his aims, and cheerfully
searches the world over for objects of interest. His curios come from
the Far East, from Central Africa, and from all parts of Europe, and to
some extent from the American continents. There have been many methods
of producing metal-work, yet native workers in all countries have had
but two processes upon which they have based their plans, and it is
from the smiths who hammered copper and brass into shape, and in later
days stamped it, and the founder who cast the metal in moulds, that all
our curios come.


The Engraver's Art.

This outline of the hunting-ground of the collector would be incomplete
without some mention of the products of the graver's tool which has
produced so many works of art. The much prized mezzotints, stipples,
and line engravings are pictures for the most part printed from copper
plates. The metal rolled in sheets and planished becomes a work of
art in itself when covered with those beautiful pictures so cleverly
wrought upon the metal by the light touch of the graver.

Perhaps one of the most interesting uses to which copper has been put
is that of executing beautiful miniatures--tiny pictures, portraits,
and emblematic designs such as were used by traders on their stationery
in years gone by. The copper-plate engraver has left his mark, too, in
the beautifully quaint and very valued early issues of postage-stamps,
some of which were printed from copper plates. Just as copper plays an
important part in the production of postage-stamps and pictures, so
copper in conjunction with its alloys is the common metal of currency.
Some of the most valuable metallic curios are the ancient coins which
have been dug up from where they have been buried for centuries, or
discovered in some hidden chamber. Such little objects of copper or
bronze have an antiquarian value far beyond either their artistic
beauty or their age warrants being associated with them. Collectors of
metals know the value of some of the historic commemorative medallions
in bronze, and heroes and warriors show their appreciation of one of
the commoner metals in the value they set upon the simple Maltese cross
inscribed "For Valour," for the Victoria Cross is more coveted than any
naval or military award the Sovereign of these realms can bestow. Its
owners regard it as a precious relic, and the reluctance of those left
behind to part with it is seen in the large sum which has to be paid
for one of these simple bronze crosses when it comes in the market.



III

PREHISTORIC
BRONZES



CHAPTER III

PREHISTORIC BRONZES

      The dawn of progress--London relics--The beauty of ancient
      art--The useful bronzes, the prototypes of later brasses--The
      forger at work.


As it has already been intimated, our older metal curios come to
us from the Bronze Age. In the relics of that period, in which the
British Museum is so rich, we are able to mark the great difference
that must have existed between the people who lived the "simple life"
in the Stone Age, and those who understood how to make and how to use
implements of bronze. Metal must have revolutionized the habits of the
people, fostered development, and marked progress as the Age advanced;
for with metal appliances there were greater possibilities, and from
the fact that while some used bronze others were content with flint,
it would appear that then, perhaps, more than at any other time, the
more advanced were sharply separated from those who, possessing lesser
intelligence and possibly fewer opportunities, stayed behind.


The Dawn of Progress.

The more advanced Britons and the men of the later Bronze Age in other
countries improved the patterns of their tools, the basis of which was
found in flint implements, which in the later Neolithic period had
become more varied. Even then they had hammer, saw, chisel, borer,
spear or javelin, and arrow-point. They had also a variety of knives;
some of curious sickle-like forms. There are weapons of war and weapons
of defence, and some obviously used for the more peaceful arts and
domestic purposes. As the collector secures specimens of the rarer
types of bronze and metal objects coming to us from those far-off days,
we read the story of the evolution of the race, and can picture in our
minds the onward march.

[Illustration: FIG. 5 (1).--BRONZE CALDRON; AND FIG. 6 (2).--URN OF THE
LATER BRONZE AGE.

(_In the British Museum._)]

The Romans did not find the ancient Britons quite savages, and we
sigh with regret when we think of the numberless relics of priceless
value--of bronze and of even more precious metals--which existed then,
but which have perished long ago. The melting-pot has been a terribly
fierce enemy to the collector of copper and brass, and it is really
wonderful how many rare objects of the Bronze Age remain--prehistoric
only in that we have no authentic records of the happenings of that
period. We have, however, abundant evidence of the importance of that
Age in the bronzes preserved to us for so long by Mother Earth, and now
carefully tended by museum curators and private collectors. Among the
fine examples we possess in our national collections are the ornamental
bucklers of which some have been found in Wales and other places.
That represented in Fig. 2 (1) came from the Thames Valley, and Fig.
3 (2) from the peat bogs near Aberystwyth; both may be seen in the
British Museum.

Some exceptional hoards have been found in Ireland, notably the bronzes
which were discovered in 1825 in a part of Whigsborough, called
Derreens, in King's Co. It is surmised that although the land is now
boggy the soil was at one time under cultivation, and from indications
it would appear as if the bronzefounder had worked on the spot. In Fig.
4 several representative implements found in that hoard are pictured;
their descriptions are as follows: Fig. 4 (1 and 3), palstaves; (5, 6,
and 7), daggers; (2) a pear-shaped bell; (4 and 8) curved trumpets, all
specimens of the latter part of the Bronze Age or of the beginning of
the Iron Age. Many fine bronze vessels, chiefly without feet, have been
found in Ireland. The two examples shown in Figs. 5 and 6 represent
the way in which they were made, especially Fig. 5 (1), in which the
riveting of the plates will be observed. Fig. 6 (2) has been designated
an urn. Both of these late bronzes are in the British Museum, along
with other Irish finds. In the same collection there is a trumpet of
horn with rings or bands of studs, the mouthpiece being at the side.
It is a curious relic of an Irish musician, found some years ago at
Drimoleague, Co. Cork.


London Relics.

London has been the site of an important camp, town, or city ever since
man lived in the marshes and upon the banks of Old Father Thames, and
among the finds in the neighbourhood have been relics of every period
of British civilization; and as a natural consequence London possesses
representative collections of the Bronze Age, as well as of later
periods. Collectors have many opportunities of buying, as well as of
inspecting prehistoric bronzes in museums and in less important private
collections. Some of these antiquities are of good form and possess a
beauty of their own. The vivid green, relieved with deeper shades, with
which age has painted these ancient relics gives them a peculiar charm,
and it would be vandalism indeed to attempt to "clean" the celts and
knives which antiquaries handle with such veneration and care.


The Beauty of Ancient Art.

During the last few years more attention has been given to the beauty
of the workmanship of the early objects of brass and copper relics
of prehistoric peoples, especially of the people who inhabited
this country in pre-Roman days. The London museums contain very
representative examples. To many the Guildhall Museum is of special
interest, in that every object there has been found within the
confines of the City of London. There are implements of the chase
and of war and peace. For instance, in the cases containing weapons
which may have been used for defence against wild animals, as well
as for aggressive campaigns, there are bronze celts, some socketed
with loops, side by side with a very fine tool and two small lumps of
copper, which were discovered near the celt. These latter represent
the unfinished material ready for the crucible and for the alloy which
was to turn them into a bronze of special hardness. In the same case
there are leaf-shaped swords and daggers of rapier form. There are also
spear-heads of slender shapes with sockets extending near to the point
of the weapon; and spear shaft-sockets of bronze, some of which were
found in Fetter Lane.

Of the late Celtic period there are examples of personal objects,
and it may be noted that duplicates of similar antiquities to those
deposited in the Museum are on sale in a great number of shops in
London, and now and then quite important parcels of these interesting
metallic mementoes of peoples unknown come under the hammer. Such
trinkets include bronze fibulæ, some enamelled, others of plain metal.
A very beautiful specimen terminating with a roughly formed snake's
head was found on the Thames bank near Hammersmith, on the site of
reputed pile dwellings, some little time ago. In the same locality a
bronze bowl and a mount were found soon afterwards. From the river near
Battersea came a bronze shield, specially interesting in that it was
decorated with enamelled ornaments. Horse-bits with enamelled rosettes
have also been found in London. Perhaps one of the most interesting
relics of that early age was a British helmet of copper, also decorated
with enamels, found near Waterloo Bridge. In the Guildhall Museum there
is a brooch made with a bow and pin in one piece, and quite a number of
other styles of bronze fibulæ. There are bronze hairpins, too, some
of the heads being decorated. There are Celtic tweezers, armlets of
bronze, and many rings.

To the inquisitive who like to inquire into the processes of making
things and to their sources, the remains of ancient workshops
represented by lumps of copper, strips of bronze, and objects partly
formed, are of special interest. There are bows, showing another
advance in civilization. There are spoons, too, of circular form,
hammered into shape. It has been said that bowls and spoons are the
earliest signs of domesticity and civilization. Our ancestors, who
lived on the seashore, made use of large shells, which gave them the
cue to the fashioning of a shallow dish, which eventually became a
bowl. The wings of the valves of the oyster and the pecten may have
given the suggestion of a handle to a primitive spoon. Ethnologists
have said that the broken cocoanut in the South Seas was the bowl of
the primitive tribes, and from it vessels in clay were moulded.


The Useful Bronzes, the Prototypes of Later Brasses.

The beautiful bronzes of the later part of the Bronze Age include
objects showing the gradual development and progress of the race. Not
only are the weapons those likely to be used in defence against attacks
from wild animals rather than for aggressive purposes, and the domestic
bronzes of more civilized forms, but there are in addition implements
of husbandry. In Ireland some very pronounced sickles and reaping-hooks
have been found. There are also musical instruments and sounding
horns, among them curved trumpets of bronze.

Many interesting although isolated finds have been made, such as a
curious bronze or brass bucket with corrugated flutes, which was found
at Weybridge, in Surrey, experts placing it among the relics of the
early Iron Age. From Faversham, in Kent, many bronze mirrors have been
secured, some of them being very ornamental, the backs being engraved
all over. In the North of England several interesting finds have been
made, too. Some of especial value were discovered in Heathery Burn
Cave, Co. Durham; they consisted of domestic utensils which were
probably used at the extreme end of the Bronze Age.

Among frequent finds is the patera or drinking-bowl, which must, of
course, be distinguished from the patine, which was a flat dish with a
raised rim, used for serving up meat or fish. Indeed, it would appear
that some of the peoples who dwelt in those far-off ages of which
we have no written history were more advanced in civilization and
in the arts and crafts than we usually realize. Modern research has
revealed much that was hitherto unknown, and scientists, explorers,
and antiquaries now hold the ancients in much greater respect than
formerly--they no longer regard them as "savages," although they may
class them with the "barbarians" of more modern Europe.

Professor Petrie, the famous Egyptologist, when speaking on his
wonderful researches some little time ago, said mankind had had a
long past. That past leads to the present, and without a knowledge
of the present and to some extent of the intermediate ages we cannot
fully understand the past. It is the curios of antiquity which help
us, and lead up by slow degrees to the present; this is understood by
the curio-hunter, and realized more and more as he goes further into
the past of nations. The curios of the Bronze Age are not limited
in locality. They are found in continents far removed from Western
civilization, for in the remains of ancient Peruvians there are tools
of bronze belonging to their far-off past. The Incas were not only
adepts at working the precious metals with tools of bronze, but they
were clever workers of other raw materials. They possessed beautiful
textiles of cotton and wool and were noted agriculturists, having
implements of tillage made of bronze.


The Forger at Work.

A warning note is often sounded by those who have paid dearly for
their experience. It is needed, for there are many pitfalls for the
unwary, especially in his researches among the relics of the Bronze
Age and periods which have been much copied by the makers of modern
antiques. It is worthy of note that in the middle of the nineteenth
century several Birmingham firms in making bronzed inkstands, bracket
lights, candelabra, and figures supporting lamps, copied the antique
very closely, one noted firm announcing on their trade circulars that
their designs were "according to Greek, Roman, and Gothic ornaments."
Examples of such comparatively modern work, when discovered tarnished
and neglected, may sometimes have a close resemblance to real antiques,
and even the curios of still greater antiquity--especially Egyptian
curiosities--have been much forged. The forger--or, as he would prefer
to be called, the maker of replicas--is still at work.



IV

GREEK
AND
ROMAN
CURIOS



CHAPTER IV

GREEK AND ROMAN CURIOS

      Grecian bronzes--Relics of Roman occupation--Interesting
      toilet requisites--Artificial lighting--Statues and
      monuments--Romano-British art--A well staged exhibit.


It is from the curios in metal and the antiquities in stone which have
been discovered, chiefly in comparatively recent years, that we are
able to read with understanding the allusions made by classic writers
to domestic life as it was in ancient Greece and Rome. The records
of the art of Greece become more real when we have gazed upon the
beautiful and graceful statues and the furniture of the palace and
domain for which the artists and metal-workers of those days were so
justly celebrated.

Even the public school boy takes a greater interest in his studies when
he recognizes in the furnishings of his home antiquities from Greece or
those lands in which that once powerful nation founded colonies.


Grecian Bronzes.

In the modern replicas of antiques, and in the fashioning of the
common household bronzes of the present day, the craftsman, perhaps
unconsciously, gains inspiration from the older race of artists in
metals. Indeed, the nearer the workman adheres to the form of the
statues and domestic decorative metal-work of the ancients, the more
likely he is to succeed in imparting refinement to the modern home.
Ancient Greece was the nursery of art and the training ground of the
athlete and of the model who served as the type of the goddesses whose
perfect forms and attributes were regarded as worthy of the divinities
her sons and daughters worshipped. Most of the metal objects coming
to us from classic days are of bronze, toned and patinated. Images of
the gods and goddesses worshipped by the ancient Greeks were to be
found in every house. Wealthy patrons employed the artist in metal to
produce idols and appointments for the numerous temples they built.
It was the worship of many pagan deities that found work for many
craftsmen. The very multiplicity of the gods served the purposes of
trade, hence the supporters of pagan practices and worship found in
the metal-workers and artists who wrought such things powerful allies.
We read in Biblical accounts of that day that the introduction of
Christianity caused no small stir amongst them, and incited Demetrius,
the silversmith, and others to rise up against the "new religion,"
which gave no immediate promises of employment of metal-workers to
compensate them for the loss of trade in idols. It was thus that so
much that is beautiful when regarded as merely artistic bronze figures
was made. Among the favourite deities whose emblematic bronzes have
been preserved to us are Diana, Venus, Mercury, and Hercules. They rank
with the gods of brass of the heathen, and according to their classic
beauty are admired with the idols of metal from India and Africa (see
Chapter XIV).

In all these treasures from the old world, little known or understood
now, there is a blend of the decorative and artistic and the more
utilitarian objects of the household. The slaves of the old families
often lived luxurious lives, although the goodwill of their patrons and
owners might be fickle. They had their duties, and the metal objects
they handled and often skilfully manipulated are still preserved in our
museums. These were often fashioned with the same grace as the statues
which adorned porticoes and halls.

The ornamental objects of Greek workmanship include useful braziers or
bronze tripods which gave heat and also served as purifiers; for into
their round brass dishes were thrown perfumes to correct the smell of
the coals and charcoal, which were then held to be injurious. Such
braziers were also used by the Romans, and even in the Middle Ages were
not uncommon, pepper and cloves being then burned for fragrance.


Relics of Roman Occupation.

Although many beautiful objects have been imported into this country
by collectors and dealers bought in Rome itself, and in Italian and
other continental cities where Roman remains have been found, it is the
relics of the Roman occupation in Britain which take first place in
our estimation among the valued curios of that great nation. These have
been found in many places, often quite unexpectedly.

Modern London, like modern Rome, stands in part on ruins of an older
city. Hence it is that when foundations are being dug and excavations
to some 15 to 20 feet are made, relics of Roman London and of Saxon
and early Norman buildings which were built in subsequent ages upon
the older ruins come to light. It is amidst these ruins and the debris
of old architecture that metal curiosities are often found. Copper and
brass have not perished to the same extent as iron and more corrosive
metals. In London, Bath, Chester, and cities which were famous many
centuries ago, the earliest metal curiosities are unearthed. But many
of the most valued have been found where least expected, for it must be
remembered that even the sites of many old cities have been lost, and
green fields now cover the old foundations.

It is a little disappointing at first, when a collection of Roman
antiquities is under examination, to find that they bear a striking
resemblance to modern appliances--especially is that so in the cooking
utensils. Most of these early vessels are of bronze; some, however, are
of pure copper, mostly covered over with green patina. The useful seems
to have predominated over the ornamental; possibly it is that the more
substantial cooking-pots and pans have remained, although lighter and
more ornamental objects have perished.

The pots and saucepans are indeed remarkably like those which are now
used for similar purposes. This has been remarked by many who have had
to do with the uncovering of long buried ruins. A writer describing
a Roman kitchen attached to the villa of a patrician family of note
in the Republican era before Augustus assumed the purple, which had
been uncovered in Rome, said, "The culinary utensils found there are
much like our own, made of brass, some of them dipped or plated over
with silver." They consisted of kettles with feet, with a dome-shaped
opening under them, a hollow cylinder which entered into the kettle
base so that the fire could penetrate it.

Many of these utensils, whilst possessing great strength and lasting
qualities, were not altogether plain, for they were covered with
foliated ornament like the saucepan illustrated in Fig. 7. The
saucepans without handles were something like a caldron on feet; many,
however, were fitted with bail handles, by which they could be hung
over the fire by the aid of a tripod. The metal of which these early
vessels were made varied, for although some were of bronze, some were
made of a yellowish brass, like one found in London near Ludgate. The
Guildhall Museum is the best place to find a thoroughly representative
collection of Roman metal-work. In the cases there are curious
saucer-like bowls with and without handles, many spoons of bronze, and
a variety of ladles, some of which have long and narrow bowls; and
there are some culinary strainers, not unlike the modern colander.

There are many ewers and some bowls or basins of bronze. In Fig. 8 is
shown a ewer of hammered copper, the handle having at the time it was
made, or at some later period, been strengthened with brass wire, which
is in part flattened and stamped with medallions giving the vessel an
exceedingly ornamental appearance. This curious piece is to be seen in
the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Among the more important kitchen accessories which have been discovered
on the sites of Roman towns are bronze scales not unlike miniatures of
the steelyards once common in England, and still used by butchers. Then
there are brass gridirons, dripping-pans, and cups of bronze. There
are also copper pails for cooling wine, and in a few instances bronze
stands for the wine amphoræ. It is almost impossible to point out the
sites which are likely to yield the explorer the best results, neither
is it possible to locate the town where metal-work has been found
to the greatest extent, for all old camping-grounds and towns once
occupied by Roman troops or residential cities during Roman occupation
contain what has been thrown away as useless or has been buried
accidentally.

The collector is delighted with the many little objects which can be
bought, trifling matters when seen separately, but very interesting
when collectively displayed.

[Illustration: FIG. 7.--BRONZE SAUCEPAN WITH FOLIATED HANDLE.]

[Illustration: FIG. 8.--EWER OF HAMMERED COPPER.]

[Illustration: FIG. 9.--LAMP OF CAST BRONZE.]

[Illustration: FIG. 10.--LAMP OF BRASS INLAID WITH COPPER.]


Interesting Toilet Requisites.

During excavations on the site of the National Safe Deposit Company's
premises in Walbrook quite a number of beautifully formed small
objects were found. Indeed, such curios (by no means uncommonly met
with on sale in curio shops) are very numerous, and include toilet
implements, armlets of twisted copper wire, finger rings of bronze,
dress fasteners, pins, fibulæ, tweezers, key rings, bodkins, and
needles.

The looking-glass is of course a modern invention, but Greek and Roman
maidens learned the art of finishing their toilet in the reflective
"glass" of the shining pool, and later by the aid of mirrors of highly
polished metal made by the craftsmen of Rome; some of which have been
preserved. The surface to which this reflective polish was given was
of copper alloyed with antimony and lead. Such mirrors were sometimes
hung to the girdle, a custom not unknown to Shakespeare, who frequently
makes mention of it.


Artificial Lighting.

Artificial light has been a necessity to man ever since primeval days.
The whole story of the discovery of fire-making and the light it gave
is an enchanting romance. The contrivances for procuring and lighting
a fire and for the betterment of artificial light have been many,
and throughout the ages they have received perhaps greater attention
by the inventor than any other requirement of the race. Of all the
curios of the period under review none have been more prolific than
those associated with artificial light. The lamps of ancient Rome, of
beautiful bronze and brass, contrasted with the clay or terra-cotta
lamps of cruder forms which have been found in such quantities. Their
chased patterns were often modelled on the earlier Greek vases, so many
of which are to be seen in the British Museum among the rarities of the
metal collector. No collection of copper and brass would be complete
without examples of the arts and crafts of Rome, so beautifully
exemplified in the charming lamps to be carried in the hand, to stand
on pedestals, and for suspension from the ceiling. There was something
in their ornamentation which carried them beyond the works of the
utilitarian maker. A celebrated historian, referring to the lights
of ancient Rome, speaks of their matchless grace and simplicity, and
says, "They afford traces of decoration showing an elevation in the
ornamentation of common articles of every-day use." The Roman lamp of
bronze was carried everywhere the conquering armies went, and in Roman
settlements in France, Italy, and in Northern Africa, as well as in
Britain, the native artificers in copper and bronze saw in them designs
to be imitated; and after the Empire of Rome had fallen, the models
which emanated from the Imperial city served as the designs for lamps
in many countries centuries afterwards. The illustrations shown in
Figs. 9 and 10 represent bronze lamps--the former, Fig. 9, is cast, and
is an early example; Fig. 10, however, is of a later period, and it is
made of brass inlaid with copper. The examples found in this and other
countries may be divided into two groups, those distinctly Roman and
of early date and those of the days when the Christian religion was
recognized by the Emperors and the State. These latter are known by the
decorations upon them.


Statues and Monuments.

Reference has already been made to the beautiful statuettes of Greece.
There are others, to many grand in their conceptions, the work of Roman
modellers, many representing Apollo, Hercules, Mars, and Mercury having
been found. In the British Museum there are some wonderfully striking
heads of several of the Emperors, and other men whose portraits
have been handed on to us in monuments of stone, and upon coins and
medallions, the die-sinkers of which so faithfully portrayed the men
they pictured. The names of many of the most famous artists are known,
and collectors rejoice over fresh examples of their handiwork. It is,
however, the general characteristics of the Roman worker in metal
as a whole that connoisseurs recognize and appreciate, and the true
connoisseur is always searching for some greater artist's work than he
has hitherto been familiar with. He is on the look-out for the very
best among art treasures.

An amusing story has been told of a modern manufacturer who was very
fond of inserting in his advertisements paragraphs calling attention
to his modern works of art, which he said were "acknowledged by
connoisseurs to be the best." "Father," said his little boy one day,
"what do you mean by a connoisseur?" "A connoisseur, my boy," answered
the manufacturer of copper goods, "is an eminent authority--an
authority, in short, who admits that _our_ goods are the best."

We are apt to look upon the beautiful brass grilles and copper
lock-plates of mediæval days as the earliest examples of these metals
in lock-making, the earliest locks found on old doors and muniment
chests being chiefly of iron. But when we go back to still earlier
times and examine the relics of Roman London, we find key-rings and
keys of bronze, some very ornamental, too. One beautiful little key
found near All Hallows Church has a bow terminating in a small spur.
Another bronze key found near St. Swithin's, in Cannon Street, has a
ridged annular bow, with a short square stem. Other keys are equally
decorative; the locks, too, are in many instances ornamental, although
in design and workmanship they fall short of the pinnacle of fame
reached by the lockmakers in later Gothic times.


Romano-British Art.

Many readers in searching for curios of the Romano-British period
in this country will recall the fact that the ancient Britons
possessed bronze; and doubtless we should be doing an injustice to
the more enlightened dwellers in Britain before Roman occupation, and
contemporary with it, if we did not admit that possibly some of the
relics of that period now dubbed Roman belonged to those more entitled
to our regard, for Albion was their native land.

On the Thames Embankment, facing the Houses of Parliament, there is
that famous bronze group perpetuating the memory of the British Queen
Boadicea in her war chariot. The Romans made their famous paved roads
as they pushed their outposts and line of camps farther north and west.
The wheels of many British war chariots were made of, or hooped with,
brass, and possibly the brass or bronze wheels, such as are represented
in that group on the Embankment once covered by the flowing river, may
have rattled over the roads made by the conquerors; such chariots, with
their appointments of bronze and ornamental horse trappings, showed
much skill in their fashioning. A poet gives voice to their use in the
following lines:

    "On the bright axle turns the bidden wheel
    Of sounding brass, the polish'd axle steel."


A Well Staged Exhibit.

It is scarcely necessary to remind readers that there is a peculiar
attraction in a well staged exhibit--public or private. A case of Roman
and still earlier bronzes may be made attractive by an arrangement
giving a gradation of subject and inclusive of the plainer types with
the more delicately formed ornamental trinkets. A very fine example
of how to arrange such a collection is seen in one of the rooms
in Stafford House, the new home of the London Museum. The entire
collection, representative of various periods of the Roman occupation
of Britain, so carefully mounted, is worthy of close inspection. It
includes many rare pieces, one being an early Roman lamp, which was
found in Greenwich and is said to be unique among London curios.
Indeed, it is probable that none so fine, nor of exactly the same
design, has been found in England. This we are able to reproduce (see
Fig. 50). The newly arranged London Museum is likely to be a rendezvous
of Londoners and their friends from the country, for not only are there
early antiquities in copper and brass, but many fascinating curios
arranged in historical sequence, showing the development in metal-work
as it was fashioned by London smiths and founders, and the progress
made by other craftsmen as kings and queens came and went and the
London as we know it to-day was being evolved.



V

MEDIÆVAL
ANTIQUITIES



CHAPTER V

MEDIÆVAL ANTIQUITIES

      Domestic brasswork--Metal signs and badges--Ornamental
      trinkets--Arms and armour.


As the collector of copper and brass assembles his treasures and
arranges them according to the different periods in which they were
made, it is always the household utensils which predominate. As
time goes on their number increases and the ornamental blends with
the useful; but the increase in the variety is only in proportion
to the gradual extension of the number of other household curios of
contemporary dates.

The period under review, for convenience termed mediæval, extends in
actual fact from the rougher days of the Norman sovereigns to those
when bluff King Hal held court and Elizabeth made so many "grand tours"
among the country seats of her people. At the beginning of this period
the furniture of even the nobility and wealthy ecclesiastics was very
scanty, and when the proud barons moved from one castle to another they
carried with them all their household furnishings, even their more
treasured culinary utensils of copper and brass. They stowed them away
along with their jewels and their other belongings in oak coffers,
which in the earliest days were made so that they could be carried on
poles by retainers.

    "In oaken coffers I have stuffed my crowns,
    In cypress chests my arras counterpoints,
    Pewter and brass, and all things that belong
    To house or housekeeping."

                          _The Taming of the Shrew._


Domestic Brasswork.

In mediæval days the metal-work was "home made," that is to say, it
was the work of retainers and those who were employed upon an estate.
The old smiths not only worked in iron but wrought copper and brass,
and the founders were building up a reputation; and their chief men
were laying down rules for the guidance of the craftsmen. The influence
exerted upon the metal-work of this country by the trade guilds of
London is referred to in Chapter VI. In their prosperity no doubt the
kitchens of the once powerful guilds were filled with cooking vessels
indicative of the feasts held by the freemen of the different crafts.
Some may say there are still evidences of such feasts; but most of the
cooking vessels of early days perished in the Great Fire, although
doubtless there are relics of a later period to be found in the
kitchens and cellars of the Guildhall and some of the lesser halls.

Some of the companies, if they have lost their treasures, still possess
records which are helpful to the antiquary, and we naturally turn
to the parchments and books of the Worshipful Company of Founders,
and there, appropriately enough, it is written that at one time they
had jurisdiction over the manufacture of candlesticks, buckles,
spurs, stirrups, straps, lavers, pots, ewers, and basins of brass and
latten. The mark of the mystery was early made a ewer, a ewer and two
candlesticks being given to the Founders in 1590, when they obtained a
grant of arms; the motto they adopted was: "God is the only Founder."

The foundries of the craftsmen, workers, and casters of brass, latten,
and kindred alloys in London were chiefly in and near Lothbury, among
their most noted products being candlesticks and spice mortars--two
staples which have become nearly obsolete, although none would say that
the founding of metal is as yet an obsolete craft. Thus it is change
and development are seen everywhere in production. The chief privileges
of the Founders have gone, although they still take some little part
in the stamping of weights and measures; but that, too, has become a
Government duty. The Founders have some interesting pieces of plate,
but not much copper. Their best example of their own craft is the
ancient poor-box of copper which was presented to the Company by Mr.
Stephen Pilchard in 1653, the year in which he was Upper Warden.

The feeding of man has always been the first duty of those who took
charge of domestic arrangements, and we can readily understand that
the caldron or cooking-pot was the earliest vessel. Its use may be
regarded as universal, for it is found to have existed everywhere
(see Chapter VIII). In mediæval England the feasting of the poor and
the feeding of scores of retainers in the baronial halls and in the
great ecclesiastical buildings, where hospitality and charity were
rife, necessitated immense boiling-pots. Some of those referred to
under "Domestic Utensils" (Chapter VIII) seem to some too large for
practical purposes. It may, however, be pointed out that there are
many large cooking-pots in use even at the present time; and copper
caldrons of large size are used in hospitals and infirmaries. Quite
recently there appeared in the public Press photographs of a well-known
Countess making an Irish stew at Liberty Hall, Dublin, stirring round
the contents with a wooden stirrer and lading out bowlfuls of soup with
a metal scoop; it was food for the sufferers through the strike at that
time going on in Dublin. It is thus that the poor of all ages have been
fed. As kitchen operations were confined to lesser areas and smaller
vessels were needed by individual families when patriarchal systems
were broken up, they were but replicas in miniature of the larger
caldrons and vessels which had become too large.

[Illustration: FIG. 11.--BRASS AQUAMANILE (SEVENTEENTH CENTURY).

(_In the British Museum._)]

It is wisely said, "Fingers were made before spoons," a fact true
enough, but as time went on and the habits and customs of men and women
became less rough, although as yet hardly refined, a need sprang up for
utensils for personal use. Hitherto cooking forks and spoons were used
in the kitchen, but the hunting-knife mostly served at table. It is
true spoons were in use in very early times and even by the common
people. At first of iron or wood, afterwards made of brass and latten,
they are found wherever there are remains of mediæval dwellings. A
Scotchman is said to have declared that "the discovery of hot broth was
an epoch in the evolution of man, and that as the ladle is to the pot
so is the spoon to the bowl."

Such brass ewers and basins, known as aquamaniles, mostly of bronze
(one of Continental make is illustrated in Fig. 11) were used for the
purpose of washing the hands, over which the water was poured. They
were used in connection with bowls. Another type of laving ewer is
that of the gemellions, made in pairs, one portion being held under
a person's hands while water was poured out of the spouted bowl.
Gemellions seem to have been the somewhat clumsy prototypes of the more
convenient jug and bowl of later days. The use of ewers and basin was
very necessary both before and after meals when knives and spoons were
little used and it was no uncommon thing for two persons to eat out of
one dish.

In mediæval days even domestic articles were frequently decorated, for
English and European metal-workers had caught the figure work of the
Oriental school. Their ornament took the form of hunting and battle
scenes. Sometimes patrons were eulogized, and flattering inscriptions
covered the objects wrought for them by their servile dependents. In
Fig. 18 there is shown a bucket or bath vessel now in the Victoria
and Albert Museum, rather an unusual piece of early metal-work and an
interesting mediæval curio. Not long ago a similar bucket was dug up
in the neighbourhood of Weybridge.

We are apt to regard with disdain what we term the grandmotherly
legislation which tampers with the liberty of the subject. The present
day, however, is not alone remarkable for regulations by which the home
life of the nation is controlled. The Norman law which ordered "lights
out" when curfew rang cut short the "overtime" of the worker of that
day. So stringent was the enforcement of that law that not a glimmer of
light must be seen after the appointed time. To darken or extinguish
the dying fire on the hearth the _couvre de feu_ became a feature. Such
covers of well authenticated antiquity are rare; the one illustrated in
Fig. 12 is a well-preserved example now in the Bolton Museum.


Metal Signs and Badges.

In the early days when serfdom had not long ceased and the retainers of
the nobles had not won their full freedom or independence, signs and
symbols of their allegiance to some chief or overlord were plentiful.
The Crusaders brought back with them signs, amulets, and various
objects which they wore with more or less superstitious belief. The
pilgrims to the most noted shrines in this country followed suit, and
all these various purposes and mediæval customs have furnished the
curio-hunter with many delightful reminders of the "good old days"
when superstition and almost idolatry were rife. Old Father Thames has
preserved many of them for centuries, and twentieth-century collectors
are richer thereby.

In the Guildhall Museum in London there is a very complete and
representative collection of pilgrims' signs. Although many of them
are made of a soft metal, there are others of good copper and brass.
At one time they must have been very plentiful, for very prolific
have the finds been in the neighbourhood of London Bridge and in and
around Southwark. These signs or badges were secured and worn by the
pilgrims who set out to the chief shrines, notably that of St. Thomas
à Becket at Canterbury. Chaucer in his _Canterbury Tales_ has told
that there were many traders in pilgrim signs in Canterbury city, so
that all were enabled to possess themselves of such symbols, many of
which they threw upon the shrine, and others retained them as talismans
against danger on the return journey. The pilgrims wore a variety of
emblems--the more devout, it is said, preferred the cross; others
carried with them on their journey little metal figures of St. George,
St. Katherine, St. Christopher, or other saint with his or her symbol.
St. Agnes was represented by a lamb, St. John by an eagle, and St.
Dorothy by a basket of fruit. Perhaps the most favoured sign purchased
in Canterbury was an equestrian figure of St. Thomas à Becket. Some
of the emblems were worn as protectors against evil, and such signs
were almost invariably on horse trappings; indeed, such amulets have
been perpetuated almost up to the present day. There are several
circular discs in the museum referred to, said to date from the
twelfth century, upon these are embossed two horned animals; another
badge of a little later date, in copper, has upon it a shield of arms
surrounded by three mythical dragons; it was found in Ludgate Hill. Yet
another on which is a shield charged with seven stars, said to be of
fourteenth-century workmanship, was found some time ago on the site of
the old General Post Office in St Martin's-le-Grand.

The retainers of noblemen wore private badges by which they were known;
these were mostly of brass or bronze, and sometimes they were gilded.
They were frequently worn when on a journey as a passport. Such badges
in the form of circles and lozenges were usually furnished with a loop
for suspension, and became well known. They served a similar purpose to
the distinctive livery of later days.


Ornamental Trinkets.

The household ornaments, trinkets, and little articles of personal
adornment which have been preserved tell not only of female vanity but
of masculine love of ornament. It would appear that the use of bronze
lingered on for centuries after it had nominally been displaced by
brass; especially was that the case in decorative objects and metal
ornament. The metals known as bronze, copper, and brass are, however,
much intermixed in their use.

The objects which can be collected include brooches, rings, pins,
needles, bodkins, and thimbles of brass. Buckles are very numerous,
and varied in form; some are heart-shaped, others have ends cut out to
form a trefoil and are decorated with a pierced fleur-de-lis. The story
of the pin, the smallest and yet the most used metal object preserved,
is very interesting. At one time it was made by hand from brass wire,
the head being twisted round and round until it had the appearance of
a solid knob. The Pinners were in years gone by an important guild,
and in 1376 returned two men to the Common Council of London. In the
reign of Henry VII an Act of Parliament was passed compelling the
Pinners to solder fast to the shank the head of the pin, and directing
that the pin itself should be "smooth, rounded, filed, and sharpened."
Very laborious indeed must have been the making of pins in those days.
There were pins, however, of an earlier date, for it is recorded that
on one occasion when the men of Athens had gone out to battle only one
returned. He was met by an infuriated mob of women, who were so enraged
at the loss of their husbands that Herodotus tells us they pulled the
pins out from their garments and stabbed him to death. There were
bronze pins in Rome, too, and we are told that even the safety-pin of
to-day is by no means new, for among the collectable objects in brass
are prehistoric safety-pins.

Half a century ago, when little girls went to school they carried with
them the inevitable pin poppet, some of which receptacles for pins and
other similar sundries were of wood, but many were brass; some met
with among old metal curios are quite handsomely decorated. Another
indispensable object is the button, so many of which are of metal, many
decorative, some inscribed, and others ornamented with portraits. There
are little brass sleeve-links, worn in Tudor days, to be met with, and
some curious brass studs which were worn by men in the shirt fronts
of the early Georgian period. There are clasps of purses and books
and casket mounts of brass, some of which date back to the fifteenth
century. The older mounts of purses, so-called, would be more correctly
described as the mounts of gipcieres; the gipciere was a kind of pouch
formerly worn at the girdle; the name is also spelled _gipser_:

                "A _gipser_ all of silk
    Hung at his girdle white as morné silk."

                                    Chaucer.

Sometimes the mounts were inscribed with mottoes; one found in Brooks'
Wharf, London, believed to be of fourteenth-century workmanship, is
inscribed "CREATOREM CELI ET TERRE ET IN IESVM." Other objects in brass
are girdle ends, some of which are shaped like acorns and others are
of ivy-leaf design. Among ornamental bronzes which can be worn, and
in larger sizes hung upon the wall, there are plaques, many of the
earliest being copied from antique gems. Plaquettes in bronze were
common in the sixteenth century.


Arms and Armour.

A volume might well be taken up with describing mediæval arms and
armour. It is true iron and steel are the chief metals in the making
of weapons, but brass and bronze are closely allied with some of the
armaments of war. Many of the small mediæval cannon were of brass, and
not a few of the guns, or "hand cannon," were of that metal.

In the days of Elizabeth the musketeer carried, in addition to an
unwieldy weapon, his flask of powder, touch-box, and burning match. The
match-box was a tube of copper pierced with small holes, and in it the
lighted match could be conveyed safely. The powder-horn was at first
of real horn, but in time it became a copper flask. Many of the old
flasks were exceedingly ornate, and were often ornamented with hunting
scenes worked up in repoussé on the copper sides. The spur-makers
were important craftsmen in early days, and under the name of the
Guild of Loriners ranked with the City companies. It is true that
the spur rowels of six, eight, or even twelve points were generally
of iron, but the collector of metal finds many interesting specimens
made entirely of brass. One pair of spurs in the reign of Henry VIII
consist of fourteen brass points, the neck of the rowel being shaped
like a peacock and embossed with brass rosettes. Our finest collection
of armour and of ceremonial metal-work--that splendid collection which
dates from quite early times, finding its greatest strength and massive
grandeur in late mediæval days and its artistic ornament in the richly
damascened armour of lesser weight of the Stuarts--is rightly housed in
that greatest of English strongholds, the Tower of London. It is there
that the antiquary and the archæologist love to wander, and in the
vast recesses of those dungeons and prison-like towers read history.
There is an abundance of metal everywhere. Guns and cannon and mortars
of historic fame lie about in the open. The Bloody Tower, nearly
opposite the Traitors' Gate, the Middle Tower, the Byward Tower, and
many others of equal interest may be seen. To some the Regalia with its
crowns, swords, and sceptres of state, ampulla, spoon, salt-cellars,
maces, and orders of merit, are the greatest attraction. The curio
collector, however, finds his way to the museum and admires and perhaps
envies the quaint and curious guns, powder-horns, and trophies of war.
He is in the midst of the England of the Middle Ages, with its jousts
and tournaments, shut out by the thick walls of the White Tower from
the hurry and bustle of the traffic and commerce of the twentieth
century.

The magnificent armour in Hertford House--the Wallace collection--is a
delight to those who love to see in arms and armour the perfection of
beauty of ornament and decoration. There are splendid suits which look
as bright as the day when they were new. The half-suit of armour of
Italian workmanship made for Alfonso II, Duke of Ferrara, inlaid and
damascened with gold and silver, is said to be the finest in Europe.
The staging of this splendid collection was carried out by Mr. Guy
Laking, the Keeper of the King's Armour and Custodian of the London
Museum.

A fitting conclusion to this chapter is, surely, a tribute to the
armourers and founders and smiths of the Middle Ages, who worked so
conscientiously and made their work lasting. It has retained its beauty
and much of its ancient finish, notwithstanding atmospheric influences;
indeed, some of it gained added beauty by oxidation.



VI

LATER
METAL-WORK

[Illustration: FIG. 12.--BRASS _COUVRE DE FEU_, A RARE EARLY PIECE.]

(_In the Chadwick Museum, Bolton._)



CHAPTER VI

LATER METAL-WORK

      The influence of the Guilds--Architectural metal-work--The door
      knocker--Interior metal-work.


In all branches of art there seems to be a break between the earlier
mediæval and the later art which was the outcome to some extent of the
great Renaissance or revival which swept over the Continent of Europe
and brought with it such a change in everything appertaining to the
beautiful. Whilst mediæval metal-workers produced grand examples full
of design and ornament, influenced by the touch with Eastern nations
which the Crusaders gave them, the later smiths and founders gradually
evolved styles of their own, more English to our ideas. The Renaissance
with its wealth of ornament did not so much apply to copper and brass
as it did to the metal-work of the smith who forged that which was
beautiful and ornate in iron on his anvil. Yet some of those florid
designs were reproduced by the brassfounder.

After the Restoration the art treasures which had been destroyed
during the Commonwealth were replaced, as evidenced by the Regalia in
the Tower, where there is so much silver-gilt and gold plate which
represents the more decorative art of that period. In that famous
collection of national Regalia, symbols of office, and vessels used on
rare occasions, there is the alms-dish used for the distribution of the
King's doles on Maundy Thursday. It bears the Royal cipher of William
and Mary, and contrasts with the other plate in that it is remarkably
plain, typical in its decoration with the earlier metal-work of the
days of Queen Anne and those years which immediately followed her
reign. When we walk through some of the once select, although now not
much used, thoroughfares in London and admire the stately old houses
which may be seen still in some of the Metropolitan squares, especially
in the open thoroughfare known as Queen Anne's Gate, we are inclined
to wonder whether after all "Queen Anne is dead." That hackneyed
expression used in a humorous sense at times is certainly not true in
so far as the remarkable developments in building operations and the
characteristic decorations of Queen Anne's day live still not only in
the old houses which are still undisturbed, but in the designs and
characteristic patterns which were then adopted by metal-workers and
others, their beauty and grace being recognized to such an extent that
they are to-day among the much copied antiques.


The Influence of the Guilds.

It may be convenient here to refer to the influence of the old City
guilds, which for so long a time acted beneficially, keeping the
craftsmen of their day up to the mark, maintaining the purity of metal
and other materials used, and encouraging and fostering the attainment
of the highest skill in artistic workmanship.

The City Companies have long ceased to exercise active control over
individual craftsmen; some would say that trade unions have taken their
place, and others would point to the altered conditions of manufacture
and of trade which exist now. None can deny, however, that the
influence of those early pioneers is still felt, and the basis which
they laid down as the art of the later period of English craftsmanship,
amongst which we find the greater number of our collectable curios,
remains to-day the foundation on which modern developments are built
up. The Braziers' Company was once an important guild in connection
with metal. Many years ago the Braziers joined the Armourers, claiming,
however, a monopoly of all copper and brasswork. By an Authority
received from James II the members of the Braziers' Company were
granted the right to search and prove all copper and brasswork wrought
with a hammer within the City of London. It is said that their Charter
is still in force, although their rights and privileges are now
sinecures. Few members of the old City companies have now any direct
connection with the crafts with which their names are associated. They
exist, however, and use some of the funds at their disposal for the
encouragement and development of the modern crafts which have evolved
from the older foundations with which they were associated. Now and
then important exhibitions are held at which examples of the old and
the new are shown, not always redounding to the credit of the antique.
Some few years ago a very interesting competitive exhibition was held
at Ironmongers' Hall at the instigation of the Worshipful Company of
Founders, by whom prizes were given for artistic metal-work made by
living craftsmen who had studied antique metal-work and had caught
somewhat of the spirit of the old artists in copper and brass. The
competition was keen and many of the exhibits very beautiful. The
winner of the first prize had modelled a goat from life. The second
prize went to the modeller of a calf which was cast in bronze; the
third prize being awarded for a splendidly modelled lioness. In another
division prizes were given for bells; the first prize was awarded to
the founder of a church bell cast in loam, and the second prize to the
designer and founder of a bell on which were exceedingly well-modelled
representations of the Resurrection. In all these examples the
influence of the antique was very conspicuous.

[Illustration: FIG. 13.--COPPER VANE ON BILLINGSGATE FISH MARKET.]

[Illustration: FIG. 14.--THE CITY DRAGON AS A WEATHER-VANE.]

[Illustration: FIG. 15.--COPPER COCK VANE, ONE OF FOUR ON SMITHFIELD
MARKET.]

The impetus which has been given to modern copper smithing by the Arts
and Crafts Society through its exhibitions has given quite a different
conception of the art from that which was formerly held. Instead of
being a common craft, working in copper and brass has become one of
the fine arts, a hobby much practised, and the results appreciated.
The late William Morris, at one time President of the Society, and
Walter Crane, artists of no mean order, exerted a great influence on
the work of exhibitors. They have raised the tone of the work done
by amateurs and have been the means of guiding modern workers in these
metals in their efforts to reproduce the antique. Curios and antiques
have served a double purpose associated with crafts such as those under
review, as they give the present-day artist the foundations upon which
to work. They give them evidence of styles and designs which have
prevailed in the past and models upon which to build the art of the
future. Briefly, among the best works of to-day fashioned on the arts
and crafts of the coppersmiths of old are the beautiful metal dogs and
fire-hearth appointments. There are the copper grilles, exquisite in
design and useful for many purposes; copper lanterns and brass lamps
of great variety; copper candlesticks, as well as the beaten metal
candelabra and electroliers, also overmantel panels and beaten copper
roundels, all worthy objects for the craftsmen of the present day to
follow. Perhaps the most elaborate productions based on the antique are
the ecclesiastical brasses of which there is ample choice in the old
brasswork in so many cathedrals and parish churches.


Architectural Metal-Work.

Many years ago architects not only designed the main fabric and
supervised the building of houses, such as those incidentally referred
to being erected in the days of Queen Anne, but they were deeply
interested in the metal-work which acted as exterior ornamentation,
and to a large extent contributed to the beauty of their architectural
designs. After the Great Fire of London swept away so much of the
ancient residential portion of the old city, and took with it the
Gothic and early mediæval churches, there was a great revival in
building operations. Sir Christopher Wren and his fellow-workers put
up more than sixty new churches within the City, and although to some
extent the contour of the old streets was observed, the newer buildings
must have presented an astonishing transformation scene, for from the
few old relics left of London before the Fire we can form some slight
idea of what the City must have looked like then.

The collector of copper and brass takes an interest in metal-work other
than that which he can collect, and admires works of art with which
the architects of olden times enriched their chief buildings. It is
true a considerable portion of the exterior metal-work attached to the
freehold, and of the gates and palasades surrounding the more important
erections, are of iron. There are enough examples of copper-work,
however, to show us the skill of the old craftsmen who worked on years
after the Charter granted by James II to the Braziers' Company had
become a dead letter. One of the most conspicuous and at the same time
decorative examples of copper-work on the loftier buildings is found in
the weather-vanes, which were sometimes gilt, at others painted. In the
earlier days the emblems selected had some bearing on the ownership of
the building or the purposes for which it was to be used. There were
well-known rules, too, governing the type of weather-vane. These are
recognizable in the older examples. They have been neglected, however,
in later years, and the nondescript designs chosen by builders and
modelled according to the whim of the designer at the present day show
little regard for the principles laid down by those early builders and
metal-workers. The etiquette of the weather-vane was simple enough to
observe. On towers, castles, and secular buildings a banner was the
correct device, whereas on ecclesiastical edifices it was the barn-door
fowl. It is said by an old authority that the cock was the emblem of
clerical vigilance, not unassociated with the Biblical story of St.
Peter; others more sceptical as to the origin tell us that the large
tail of the barn-door fowl was well suited to turn truly to the wind.
From these simple principles evolved established rules which ordered
that the coat-of-arms or crest of the owner of a building should be
incorporated in the design of the weather-vane, and on ecclesiastical
buildings the symbol of the patron saint was to take the place of the
weather-cock. As typical examples to be seen in London streets the
weather-vanes on the four turrets of the White Tower of the Tower fly
the Royal Arms in the form of miniature Royal Standards. In Tudor days
the emblem was usually represented sitting on a slender pedestal,
carrying an upright rod on which the flag or decorated plate of metal
which acted as the weather-vane was attached. In the accompanying
illustrations three types of symbolical weather-vanes are shown. Fig.
13 represents one of the copper vanes on Billingsgate Fish Market,
symbolical of the occupation of those who frequent that famous mart. In
Fig. 14 is seen the fabled dragon of the City of London, and in Fig.
15 the copper cock vane, one of the four fixed over Smithfield Market.

There are many ecclesiastical emblems visible during a morning stroll
through the streets of London. Among those readily seen are the key
vane on St. Peter's, Cornhill, and the emblematic gridiron on St.
Lawrence's Church. On St. Michael's Church, Queenhithe, there is a
copper ship, the hull of which holds just one bushel of grain. This
vane is interesting in that the emblem has reference to Queenhithe,
once a famous wharf, rather than to the patron saint. The Hithe is
interesting in its old associations, in that the tolls of that wharf
were given to Queen Eleanor by Henry II as pin money, subsequent
queens of England collecting the revenue for their personal use. The
grasshopper on the Royal Exchange is the same vane that surmounted
the more ancient building which preceded the one now standing. The
grasshopper was the crest of Sir Thomas Gresham, by whom the first
Exchange was built in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. This vane, also
of copper, is fully 11 ft. in length, and in miniature was reproduced
as the sign of the banking house in Lombard Street kept by Sir Thomas
Gresham.


The Door Knocker.

The common door knocker, essentially a piece of metal associated to-day
with utilitarian purposes, is not without romantic associations. It has
been a much collected object; easily detached, too, for it is said
that many of the old knockers, or rappers as they were formerly called,
which a few years ago could be bought quite cheaply from the marine
store dealers, had been surreptitiously purloined by thieves, who for
the sake of a few coppers had taken some risk even on a dark night.
Some old houses are still rich in antiquarian door knockers, before
the days of front door bells and electric pushes more a necessity than
they are now. Their use was by no means confined to private houses,
on which they figured in a variety of forms, but among the earlier
examples are ponderous knockers of copper and brass, once regarded
as an essential feature on the great oaken doors of cathedrals and
churches and other important buildings. In the days when the precincts
of certain ecclesiastical edifices were sanctuary, the knocker was
the goal sought by the criminal offender who rushed to obtain the
protection of sanctuary. One of the most famous historical knockers
which has been copied by modern founders, and is seen in collections
of so-called antiques and in use as a modern replica on room doors in
twentieth-century houses, is the famous knocker which did service for
so many years on the Sanctuary door of Durham Cathedral. It is a relic
of great antiquity, having been placed on the door prior to the reign
of King Stephen. Detailing its use as sanctuary a contemporary monk
wrote: "Hereupon their leader violently and repeatedly struck the brass
rings which hang outside the door." According to the "rights" of Durham
all the churchyard and all the circuit thereof was sanctuary for all
manner of men whatever their offences had been. It will be remembered
that in olden time, still perpetuated by its name, there was sanctuary
just outside the Abbey of Westminster, the right being retained even
after the dissolution of the monasteries in 1540. There were similar
places of refuge for criminals at the Minories, Whitefriars, and the
old Mint in Southwark. The Durham knocker, around which some interest
centres, was in the form of an animal's head, in which are now two
empty eye-sockets, behind which it is said lights were placed, although
it is probable that they may have been filled with crystal balls.

The brass lion knocker of Brazenose College, Oxford, has won some
notoriety, and has been much copied. The legends regarding its ancient
association with the College, and the migration of the students to
Stamford in 1334, and the subsequent return of the knocker to Oxford
after it had been in other hands for many years, vary, and are not
altogether borne out by proven facts. The brass-nosed knocker does not
appear to have given the name to the College, notwithstanding the very
generally accepted belief. Indeed, according to several authorities
the name originated in the words _bracinum_, malt, and _house_, a
brew-house having been incorporated in the older buildings. The old
knocker, however, is still regarded as historic.

Few collectors of old copper and brass can hope to possess such
historical relics, nor yet are they likely to secure any of the massive
knockers, some of which are to be seen in the Victoria and Albert
Museum at South Kensington. They can, however, readily obtain brass
knockers dating from the reign of Queen Anne, and especially the ornate
knockers of Georgian times, many of them bearing traces of the Adams'
style and of Chippendale influence. Some knockers are peculiar in that
the design is not always apparent. In Fig. 16 is shown a fine knocker
of the much favoured armorial style, and in Fig. 17 is given a drop
knocker in the form of a dolphin. Some of the knockers, repeated in
great numbers in certain districts, are essentially local, such as a
hook and worm pattern, which took its origin in a Sussex village. It
was the invention of a local smith, an admirer of Izaac Walton, who
it is said frequently passed his smithy door on his way to a fishing
stream. Technically described by a fisherman, this knocker is said to
be "a lobworm of buxom proportions dangling from a hook." There are
others, equally interesting examples, to be met with in out-of-the-way
places. One of the advantages of collecting these common objects in
brass and other metals is that they can still be made to serve a useful
purpose on room doors, although the rat-tat of the larger specimens is
sometimes startling.

    "Shut, shut the door, good John! fatigued, I said;
    Tie up the _knocker_; say I'm sick, I'm dead."

                                                    Pope.


Interior Metal-Work.

The collectable brasses (other than domestic kitchen brass and
copper-work which is dealt with in Chapter VIII) belonging to the later
period of art, and chiefly associated with the builder's furnishing
and cabinetmaker's craft, include quite a variety of interesting
objects. In the days before Victorian times, when art almost died
out, the coppersmith and the brazier produced some beautiful objects
for the ornamentation and furnishing of the home, many of which have
been handed down to us, and form valuable additions to a collection of
metal. This period, as it has been already intimated, has been very
much copied, especially just before the artists of the later Edwardian
days struck out new lines and founded a school which has been called
that of the "nouvre art." Now and then there have been attempts to
blend the old with the new, and the collector of the genuine antique
desiring purity of style in his specimens should not neglect any
opportunities he may have of examining and comparing the various
styles. The arrangements for lighting and heating houses were until
quite recently inefficient. There was, however, still greater neglect
in providing for the comfort of the attenders at churches, which were
frequently cold and chilly. Attempts were made by individuals to
remedy this, and among the curios associated with heating purposes are
hand-warmers and foot-warmers. The earlier types of hand-warmers, or
chaufferettes, were spherical metal boxes or balls, in the interior of
which, by an arrangement of chains or rings, a cup containing a red-hot
ball of metal or a piece of charcoal could be retained in an upright
position. These portable warming stoves were also used in many houses
and on many occasions. Reference is made to such warmers in Chapter
XV, where a Dutch foot-warmer is illustrated. It is said that it
was a common practice years ago for a servant man or maid to follow
a lady when attending church, carrying a charcoal burner and placing
it upon the floor at the lady's feet, then gracefully retiring into
some less conspicuous part of the building until the service was over.
In the days when streets were badly lighted lanterns were commonly
hung outside houses and in entrance halls, some reference to the more
portable types being given in Chapter IX.

[Illustration: FIG. 16.--BRONZE KNOCKER OF THE ARMORIAL TYPE.]

[Illustration: FIG. 17.--BRASS DROP KNOCKER IN THE FORM OF A DOLPHIN.]

[Illustration: FIG. 18.--BRASS WELL BUCKET.]

The metal-work of the interior, such as lock plates, hinges, and door
knobs, was frequently of brass, and very ornate some of these quaint
old fittings are. Perhaps the most interesting are those which were
much used on the more portable sideboards, corner cupboards, and
chests. It would appear that the extravagance in design reached its
height when Chippendale's influence extended to the metal ornaments
on the furniture, as well as to the scrollwork and carving of the
woodwork. Some of this metal-work gives evidence of Chinese influence,
or as it was then called, Chinese taste, shown in the introduction
of the mandarin and the fakir, Oriental landscapes, palanquins, and
Chinese trees and flowers, even in English metal-work. The collector
of such things finds a wealth of brass in even escutcheons and handle
plates (see Chapter XIX).

There is some very rich brasswork in the frames of the old banner
screens, made of beautiful needlework panels, over which so much time
must have been spent. A remarkably fine banner holder in the Victoria
and Albert Museum is typical of many others. We have only to look round
the house and imagine how it looked a century ago to discover that the
collectable objects of copper and brass, even when domestic utensils
and curios have been removed, included many other objects besides those
referred to which may be secured by careful and persistent search among
the old shops and builders' odds and ends.



VII

CHURCH
BRASSWORK

[Illustration: FIG. 19.--CURIOUS DOUBLE CANDLESTICK.

(_In the Victoria and Albert Museum._)]



CHAPTER VII

CHURCH BRASSWORK

      Candlesticks--Altar brasses--Metal architectural
      ornament--Memorial brasses.


The admirer of metal-work finds examples of the early brassworker's
art in ecclesiastical edifices. Although in years gone by there
has been spoiliation in many churches, and some of the most valued
objects in sacred buildings have been taken for secular uses, there
are still many treasured relics which are almost unique specimens of
the metal-worker's art. It is a wonder so much has been preserved,
for too enthusiastic authorities have often displaced the old and
substituted newer objects of no antiquarian value. In the past in
restoration work much that would have now been venerated as antique
has been destroyed. The collector cannot be advised to bring pressure
to bear on the ecclesiastical authorities in order that he may obtain
such curios for his museum. Oftentimes the brasses in themselves would
present no special interest. It is rather in their associations that
the antiquary sees much to admire, and to strip brasses from the wall
or memorial tablets from tombs is vandalism and sacrilege which cannot
be encouraged. There is, however, a peculiar beauty in the metal-work
which may be seen and admired in old churches, and the massive grandeur
of grilles, railings, and gallery fronts add to the beauty of such
buildings as a whole. In addition to these architectural brasses there
are many portable antiques, ornate and historical.

Ecclesiastical brasses may be divided into two groups. First, there
are those which have been consecrated to religious purposes, including
the sacred vessels of the altar and the metal symbols used in Divine
worship, and then there are the metal objects which serve the purpose
of ornament and to some extent utility. Among the more decorative
pieces of the first group are processional crosses, many of which are
very beautiful, in some cases being ornamented with precious stones
and enamels. Then there are the crosses on the altar, if anything
still more decorative, for in fashioning them, especially for use in
connection with the old Gothic cathedrals and churches in this country
and on the Continent in mediæval days, the artists concentrated their
best endeavours to produce metal-work worthy of the sacred purpose for
which it was to be used. Some of the bishops' and archbishops' crooks
in the earlier days were made of ivory; then metal-work, richly chased
and jewelled, came into vogue, and latterly some of the crooks are fine
examples of the metal-workers' art.


Candlesticks.

The ornaments of the altar in Christian churches are for the most part
simple in design. There are, however, many varieties of candlesticks,
varying in size and degree from the larger ones which hold the
Communion candles to the decorative seven-branched candelabra of
light and tasteful design. The more important specimens are the
massive candlesticks which are used in the chancel and in some of the
larger cathedrals in other parts of the building. Such ecclesiastical
bronzes are seldom obtainable, although there are some fine examples
in the Victoria and Albert Museum in this country, and in the chief
Continental museums. The donors of such objects spared no expense, and
the modellers and founders treated such work very elaborately. Flemish
and Spanish churches are especially rich in large candlesticks, and
many of the Continental cathedrals possess wonderful examples. The
prominence which has been given to candlesticks in public worship
dates back to a period long before the foundation of the Christian
Church, for the seven-branched candlestick was an important feature in
the Jewish ceremonial. When the Roman conquerors took possession of
Jerusalem, among the treasures taken from the Temple on the sack of
the city, they carried away the golden candlesticks from the altar.
So important was this sacred trophy that it was represented on the
triumphal arch of Titus, preserving to the artists of the future its
general characteristics of design.

The great bronze candlesticks in St Paul's Cathedral and in other
English churches are to be admired but not collected; nevertheless
there are some fine candlesticks in bronze and of polished brass
offered for sale in the curio shops, and from time to time brought
under the hammer in the London auction rooms. The illustration given in
Fig. 19 is a remarkable example which may be seen in the Victoria and
Albert Museum. A fine Venetian bronze candelabrum (one of a pair), now
in a private collection, is shown in Fig. 20.


Altar Brasses.

Most of the church plate so-called was of pewter and silver in early
times; in more modern days of silver, and sometimes of metal plated
with silver. There are, however, examples of metal chalices of
bronze, some of which have been found in Ireland. The altar brasses
in pre-Reformation days included brass censers and incense vessels,
very interesting examples of which are now in the Victoria and Albert
Museum, being illustrated in Fig. 21. Of vases and other decorative
altar brasses there are many. Some, probably, took their origin in
older customs and were symbolical; the vases nowadays are for the most
part used as receptacles for flowers.

[Illustration: FIG. 20.--VENETIAN CANDELABRUM (ONE OF A PAIR).]

Bordering on the secular vessels, yet associated with the altar, there
are the alms-dishes, of which there are a great number in private
collections of metal. They are mostly of brass, some quite plain,
others engraved and highly ornamental. Some little time ago there was a
special display of alms-dishes, two-score or more in number, exhibited
at the Kelvingrove Exhibition at Glasgow. Some were covered over
with scriptural pictorial designs, among the favourite being those
illustrating the old story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden;
the episode of Samson and the lion; and the visit of the two spies
to the Promised Land, returning carrying a large bunch of grapes.
Such alms-dishes vary in size, seldom less than 12 in. in diameter,
but ranging up to 20 in. Sometimes the collector is puzzled to find
what he may regard as inappropriate mottoes on church vessels. On the
other hand, it is not an uncommon thing to meet with religious devices
or pious mottoes on platters and bowls which were obviously used as
domestic vessels. This fact is explained in that at one time there was
but little difference between secular and ecclesiastical plate, and the
vessels were often used indiscriminately for church purposes and for
the use of the household.


Metal Architectural Ornament.

The lectern is frequently of bronze or brass. The eagle with spread
wings or other designs adopted by the metal-workers gave the artist
plenty of scope. The altar rail and in a few instances the metal
screen and grille are composed of elaborately chased brass or
copper-work, sometimes cast, at others hammered. Perhaps one of the
greatest achievements of the coppersmith in connection with church
metal-work is the ball and cross of St. Paul's, surmounting the great
dome. It was made in the year 1821 by Benham and Froud, an old firm
of coppersmiths. An illustration of this gigantic piece of work is
given in Fig. 22. When viewed from beneath few would imagine that the
cross, although so high up, is 30 ft. in height, and that its weight is
upwards of one and a half tons. The occasional gilding of this triumph
of the coppersmith's art is in itself a costly procedure.


Memorial Brasses.

The visitor to the country church, as well as the larger cathedral,
finds much antiquarian interest in the tombs and monuments, and in the
memorial tablets of the illustrious dead the history of their lives may
often be read. In the older tombs the work of the sculptors in marble
is frequently enriched by the addition of appropriate tablets of brass,
sometimes inlaid with enamels. One of the most noted tombs is that in
the centre of the chapel of Henry VII. in Westminster Abbey, the tomb
itself being closely guarded by the massive railings, which are of
brass. The visitor to that chapel notes with interest the brass stall
plates so rich in enamels, on which are the arms and crests of the
knights who in times past occupied those stalls and hung their banners
over them.

[Illustration: FIG. 21.--BRONZE INCENSE BURNER AND INCENSE BOAT.

(_In the Victoria and Albert Museum._)]

It may be contended that tombs and monuments cannot be collected, but
those who visit such places may fill their notebooks with interesting
data, and they may carry away with them accurate records and
rubbings of the monumental tablets and the brasses on the tombs (for
instructions how to take rubbings, see Wrinkles, p. 393). Such rubbings
of old brasses can be kept in a portfolio or mounted and hung upon
walls. They form a record, too, of the engraver's art, which was
modified and altered to suit the change which went on in architectural
design and to some extent in social and religious customs. The variety
of brasses is seen when a good collection of rubbings is classified and
arranged according to style, period, or locality. Some districts yield
prolific returns. Throughout the counties of Gloucester, Somerset, and
Norfolk many may be obtained, the more interesting specimens being
secured from tombs dating from the thirteenth to the seventeenth
century. From such a series armorial representation as it became
less real and of smaller importance can be traced. The costumes of
the period, too, are very clearly shown, for in such a collection of
brasses the value of armour in war is seen to change. In the earlier
examples there is the chain mail of the cross-legged knights as seen on
the early brasses of the Crusaders, the mediæval armour of the Middle
Ages when it had reached its strength, and the brasses of the Stuart
days when the ornamental armour of that period had to a large extent
lost its utility.

The ecclesiastical brasses on the tombs of bishops and other church
dignitaries show the change which took place very gradually in the
vestments worn, and indicate the alteration in ecclesiastical ritual
in the cathedrals and churches at the time of the Reformation. The
dissolution of the monasteries and the sacrilege which took place in
the dismantled churches and religious houses caused valuable relics
to be sold for old metal, and it was then that many old monuments and
tombs lost their brasses. The influence of book knowledge and the
change which came about in the style of script after the introduction
of the printing-press is seen in the evolution of the lettering on
church brasses. Indeed, in some of the older ones the form of the
letters is the only indication left of the date of their engraving.

[Illustration: FIG. 22.--THE COPPER-GILT CROSS ON ST. PAUL'S CATHEDRAL.]

The engraver's art progressed with the art of the period in which he
lived, and in a collection of rubbings may be seen the gradual training
of the eye and hand until from meaningless pictures without background
or perspective the artist was able to engrave on metal a beautifully
realistic picture of the subject he had chosen. As a guide to a few
indications of the period to which brasses belong, it may be mentioned
that the decorative canopies on monumental brasses belong chiefly to
the ornate period of art. The embattled canopies and the change to the
decorative Gothic tell of the progress in ecclesiastical architecture
until it reached its height between the fourteenth and fifteenth
centuries, later brasses telling of its gradual decadence. Of the
variety of subject it would be impossible to refer, for at all ages
there have been many who would fit into niches between the extremes
of the early fighting men amidst the nobles and knights who fell in
battle, and those who apparently lived all their lives in the peaceful
rural surroundings of some quiet English village, dying within sight
of the old church where they had worshipped, and where they were
eventually buried.

    "When some proud son of man returns to earth,
    Unknown to glory, but upheld by birth,
    The sculptor's art exhausts the pomp of woe,
    And storied urns record who rests below;
    When all is done, upon the tomb is seen,
    Not what he was, but what he should have been."

                                                 Byron.



VIII

DOMESTIC
UTENSILS



CHAPTER VIII

DOMESTIC UTENSILS

      The kitchen--The houseplace--Chimney and other
      ornaments--Classified arrangement.


A collection of metal-work representative of domestic utensils as they
were fashioned in very early times, and as they were made in days so
far forgotten as to render the common objects of daily use curios, is
regarded, probably, as the most important branch of copper and brass,
from a collector's standpoint. The collector may be content with
gathering together a few examples of old domestic metal-work and using
them as ornamental reminders of olden time, decorating his entrance
hall or rooms furnished after the antique with the objects he gathers
together, or he may arrange them as in a museum gallery. The display
of curios is at all times a matter of taste, but it is one of some
importance, especially in a branch of collecting so conspicuous as
copper and brass. We can scarcely conceive of any real pleasure being
derived from such a hobby, or of such specimens being appreciated by
one's friends, when specimens so obviously out of place are shown in a
modern dining-room or drawing-room furnished in nouvre art. The Keeper
of the London Museum, now transferred to Stafford House from Kensington
Palace, has very appropriately arranged the antiquities of London in
their proper historical and chronological sequence, and has grouped
them so that the reference they bear to contemporary surroundings can
be understood by those who see them for the first time. The photograph
which we reproduce in Fig. 23 represents a corner in a well made up
seventeenth-century room, in which has been gathered together some
beautiful old oak furniture of that period. It is panelled with
oak which has been procured from old London houses of contemporary
date; the doorway is a genuine antique from Bromley-by-Bow, adding
to the appearance of the room, for its hinges and lock furniture are
splendid examples of the brasswork of that period. Some pieces of
Cromwellian armour, prominent among which are variously ornamented
helmets and breastplates, are arranged round the upper portion of the
room. Over an old oak chest is a beautiful brass skimmer, and on the
wall a seventeenth-century brass bed-warmer, with engraved cover. On
the sideboard is a huge key and a brass mortar. The lock furniture
and the drop handle on the sideboard, which are of brass, are worthy
of note. On the other side of the room there is a fine brass trivet
standing in front of the hearth, on which are andirons, and logs ready
for the firing; close by is a quaint old candlestick. Undoubtedly
curios displayed in such a way interest and instruct those who see
them, and a room so furnished enthuses collectors with the desire to
secure other objects of an appropriate character; this in itself is
an advantage in that a representative collection is of more general
interest than one containing many objects of a similar character.

[Illustration: FIG. 23.--SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY ROOM IN THE LONDON MUSEUM.]


The Kitchen.

Kitchen utensils and domestic appliances which the housewife of olden
time deemed necessary are of peculiar interest in that they help us to
recall the habits and customs of former generations. It is not always
easy to arrange a model kitchen in that there are many old utensils
of copper and brass which must have been used side by side as periods
overlapped, although some have a much older origin than others. It is
said that the kitchens of well-stocked old family mansions still yield
some curios when thoroughly examined, and that it is not at all an
uncommon thing to find there utensils the object of which has almost
been forgotten. They are relics of an older day, and utensils which a
modern cook would not deign to use. Such discoveries, however, are few
and far between, for the melting-pot and the cupidity of those anxious
to clear unnecessary encumbrances and perhaps make a little towards
refurnishing, has left but few objects of interest in the kitchen.
It is, however, there and in the old houseplace that we may look for
something of interest. Some will go on using old vessels long after
newer utensils have taken their place in the more advanced households,
and there are some cooks who use successfully saucepans and kettles
of almost antique pattern which the student of the cook's art in the
modern schools of cookery would find difficult to manipulate. They
have been taught how to make tasty dishes with aluminium vessels and
enamelled pans, whereas heavy and clumsy brass and copper utensils
served their grandparents. The cook's art is appreciated to-day as it
was in the past, and at all periods the domestic workshop has been
surrounded with a halo of romance. Shakespeare has rendered the caldron
of olden time memorable in "Macbeth." Of the caldron boiling in the
dark cave he makes the witches cry:

    "Double, double toil and trouble,
    Fire, burn; and caldron bubble."

[Illustration: FIG. 24.--BRONZE CALDRON.

(_In Trinity Hospital, Leicester._)]

The cooking-pot is the sustainer of life, in that it gives strength to
the weary and to the starving. To the poor dumb creatures, however,
it is the end of life, and in savagery human life has been sacrificed
to the gluttony of fellow-men. Wonderful stories are at times told of
great feasts and of the magnificence of the kitchens of olden time,
where the vessels and the cooking-pots were of extravagant size,
making up, perhaps, for the fewer culinary utensils, for in early days
the furnishings of the kitchen were few in number although massive
and strong. Many of the baronial halls of the Middle Ages, and the
homes of wealthy landowners in more recent days, have been the scene
of great feasts. Merrie England rejoiced on such occasions when the
roasting-jack and the spit contributed to the success of the feast,
and the caldron or cooking-pot boiled upon the open hearth. In some old
kitchens there are preserved ponderous bronze and copper pots, some so
large that we can scarcely imagine that they were made for actual use.
In the hall of Trinity Hospital at Leicester there is preserved a large
caldron of bell metal, holding upwards of sixty gallons, which has been
used as the cooking-pot of the institution from its foundation until
quite recent times. This quaint old relic, now venerated as a curio,
is locally called the Duke of Lancaster's porridge-pot, for it is said
that it was made to the order of Henry, Duke of Lancaster, in 1331 (see
Fig. 24). Not far removed from the corner where the old metal pot is
shown to visitors there is a massive nutmeg-grater, a kitchen relic of
olden time, which on the occasion of one of her visits to Leicester
Queen Elizabeth presented to the hospital. Many old castles have relics
of the feast to show visitors, and others no doubt could produce
equally interesting examples of the coppersmiths' or the founders' art
were they to search the vaults and cellars where disused metal-work was
in years gone by stowed away. Visitors to Warwick Castle are familiar
with "Guy's punchbowl," the remarkable metal caldron which is nearly
twice the size of that attributed to the Duke of Lancaster, for it
weighs, along with a fork said to have been used to handle the meat,
807 lb.

Most of these old vessels were cast, but some copper-work was hammered
by hand, and those which have been preserved to us testify to the
brawny arm of the smith and the strength of his blow when by hammer
and hand he wrought them. Such copper caldrons were often made in two
or more parts, and having been shaped on the block, were afterwards
riveted together. It is puzzling at times to understand local and
trade terms in that they frequently differ from the commonly accepted
names of cooking vessels. Thus, these wrought caldrons or pots were
frequently designated tripod kettles. A very fine example of such a
wrought copper kettle was recovered a short time ago from Whittlesey
Mere and is now in the Peterborough Museum. A century or more ago the
Mere was famous in Huntingdonshire and many water parties were held
there. The kettle recently found is thought to have been a relic of
those events, and to have been used on the margin of the lake.

The fine caldron of cast brass illustrated in Fig. 27 was found during
excavations in Water Lane, in London. It is peculiar in that it has
two-eared handles and projecting feet. It is very substantial, and may
be regarded as typical of the early metal caldrons, several of which
have been found in London. Another cooking vessel, smaller in size,
having a curved handle and being in good preservation, a domestic
relic of the seventeenth century, which was dug up in Milton Street,
Cripplegate, is illustrated in Fig. 28.

[Illustration: FIG. 25.--SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY BRASS PAN.

FIG. 26.--BRASS TRIPOD POT.]

[Illustration: FIG. 27.--CALDRON OF CAST BRASS.

FIG. 28.--BRASS COOKING VESSEL WITH CURVED HANDLE.]

Reference has been made to the baronial halls, and to the numerous
relics which have been lost to futurity. There are, however, some
well-known castles where, although the kitchens have been replenished
from time to time, the older forms of cooking vessels have been
perpetuated. Until recent days the kitchen arrangements at Windsor
Castle remained much as they had been for many years previous, and even
now copper and brass retain a favoured position and are very much in
evidence. Windsor has been the scene of much feasting, and many great
State events have put a strain even upon the domestic resources of that
famous Royal residence.

The great kitchen of the castle is supplemented by a vegetable kitchen,
a green kitchen, and a scullery, and around these rooms there is a
bright array of copper pans and cooking utensils, mostly bearing the
monogram of George IV, for it was in his reign that many new culinary
appointments were added. These vessels, large and small, were in
constant use during the reign of Queen Victoria. Her late Majesty was
averse to change. In her days oak out of Windsor Forest was burned
in the grate, and the spits and roasting-jacks and other kitchen
accessories were in keeping with the copper and brass pans and kettles.
Great changes have been made since the accession of George V, for Queen
Mary supervises the management of the Royal kitchens, and many modern
cooking vessels have been substituted for older ones.

The collector of copper and brass culinary utensils has seldom an
opportunity of adding the large bronze caldrons and relics of Royal
kitchens to his collection. He has to be content with exploring lesser
domains, and securing wherever possible the smaller cooking vessels
of days gone by. These are frequently quite as interesting as those
of larger size, and there is a wealth of copper still lying dormant
in antique shops, and in some instances in the scrap-heaps of the
old metal dealer. Without going any further back the saucepans of
the seventeenth century well reward the discoverer of such relics.
That century was a time when pious mottoes were carved upon the
lintel beam and when old coffers and other pieces of massive oak were
decorated with such sentiments. The brassfounders followed suit and
ornamented pots and pans, and enriched them with mottoes just as they
cast such inscriptions on bells and mortars. Two very interesting
seventeenth-century vessels are illustrated on p. 165. One of these,
Fig. 25, was discovered some years ago in Fetter Lane, and is now
in the Guildhall Museum. The other, Fig. 26, is a tripod pot, the
handle of which has a loop near the bowl. It is probably of early
seventeenth or late sixteenth-century workmanship. The brass skillet of
seventeenth-century make, illustrated in Fig. 29, may be seen by the
curious in the British Museum. There is no uncertainty about its date,
for it is marked 1684, and along the handle is the quaint motto "Pitty
the Pore." Collectors may be reminded that inscriptions are sometimes
stamped; at others engraved, and they are frequently met with on quite
unimportant vessels. The metal used for such utensils was chiefly of
brass, but often of latten, an alloy in which there was an admixture of
zinc, or of tin in what was known as white latten. As it has been
stated already, brass came into vogue late in the sixteenth century,
and soon became popular for kitchen utensils; latten, however, was a
favourite alloy for spoons and the smaller objects, especially for
porringers for mulling wine. Concurrent with the use of copper and its
modern alloys bronze appears to have been used in this country even as
late as the beginning of the seventeenth century, the cooking vessels
illustrated in Figs. 30 and 31 being bronze of this late type.

[Illustration: FIG. 29.--SKILLET (BRASS), THE HANDLE OF WHICH IS
ENGRAVED WITH THE MOTTO "PITTY THE PORE."]

[Illustration: FIGS. 30 AND 31.--BRONZE COOKING VESSELS, ATTRIBUTED TO
THE BEGINNING OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.

(_In the British Museum._)]

The skillet, which continued a favourite vessel, commonly called a
saucepan, originally had three short-curved feet, and the handle was
curved, too. It was a development of a still earlier cooking vessel;
its prototype of the sixteenth century having a globular body with
short-curved feet, and frequently two handles.

The twentieth-century collector, accustomed as he is to machine-and
factory-made goods of uniform finish and of regular shapes, is apt to
be a little bit disappointed with the copper curios roughly made and
badly formed. It would appear as if most of the collectable copper
goods were made after the days when the old guilds so carefully
controlled the making of copper and latten in Lothbury. When their
power of control waned, craftsmen who had been employed by guild
members worked for themselves, and there was but little supervision
over the metal wares made by the coppersmith, who was often a retailer
of his own wares. When the hardware dealer or copper man became an
established trader in the eighteenth century he would employ a
journeyman coppersmith in his little workshop, who would fashion the
utensils with a hammer on a wooden block, and afterwards planish
them by hand as he thought fit. In the making of such goods there
was great irregularity, and the dealer and his customer, too, were
dependent upon the whim of the craftsman. That was before the days of
machine-made goods. Instead of the brass or copper being pressed and
stamped by machinery and carefully finished the utensils were made in
a rough and ready way on the wooden block, and simply hammered in the
rounded cavities which had been made in it. Saucepans, stewpans, and
jelly moulds were beaten into shape, and then hollowed and dished. It
is said it was a healthful trade, for many of the old coppersmiths
had passed their threescore years and ten shaping kettles and deftly
fashioning from a sheet of brass even quite ornamental domestic
articles of utility; they would decorate by hand a brass chestnut
roaster with no other tools but a small hammer and a punch, and with
the same simple instruments they would work a fancy pattern on the
lid of a warming-pan. Some coppersmiths won fame in the fashioning
of furnace-pans, better known as washing coppers, and others would
undertake the roofing of houses and churches. One notable firm in
London, whose copper saucepans and cooking-pots had been sold for a
hundred years or more, achieved the zenith of their fame when they
produced that enormous piece of copper-work, the ball and cross of
St. Paul's Cathedral, which is referred to and illustrated in another
chapter.

[Illustration: FIGS. 32 AND 33.--COPPER WATER JUG AND WATER POT.]

[Illustration: FIG. 34.--COPPER WATER JUG AND COVER.

FIG. 35.--BRASS TWO-HANDLED WATER VESSEL.]

There is yet another reason given why so many of the old copper pots
and pans are irregular in shape and are often fitted with apparently
unsuitable handles. It is that most of these old vessels at one time
or another have undergone repairs, and were frequently treated by
unskilled workmen. Among the street cries of London one of the oldest
was: "Any pots or pans to mend?" The travelling tinker was a repairing
coppersmith, too, and much of his time was occupied in mending the
copper and brass cooking utensils used at the farmhouses and in the
villages through which he passed. His methods of dealing with the
vessels entrusted to him for repairs were not always the best, as
museum relics testify.

Drinking cups, tankards, and flagons constitute another very important
section of collectable curios. They were, however, chiefly made of
pewter in the days before glass and earthenware became general. Some
were undoubtedly of copper. This metal, however, was chiefly used
for large jugs in which water and other liquids were carried. Water
vessels vary in shape, although certain characteristics are frequently
noticeable. The typical English-made jug and water vessel, such as
those shown in Figs. 32, 33, 34, and 35, are very graceful in shape,
the handles being light and very suitable. They make remarkably welcome
additions to a collection of metal, and are appropriate ornaments on an
old oak sideboard.


The Houseplace.

It is not a far remove from the kitchen to the houseplace, and it is
there that some of the more decorative brasswork of eighteenth-century
workmanship is chiefly to be found. Just as copper and brass formed
a prominent feature in the equipment of the kitchen, so in the old
houseplace they were considered the best for ornamental purposes.
The polishing of the metal-work throughout the house in the good old
days must have been a considerable item in the duties of domestic
servants, but no doubt it well repaid the labour, for from the old
ornaments and usable curios of the houseplace which have come into
the hands of collectors, especially when housed in a reconstructed
eighteenth-century room, the effect is excellent. The metal-work of the
best parlour was not so extensive, although there were many beautifully
polished coal-vases and fender frets. Indeed, in both rooms mentioned
the chief attraction would appear to have centred on the fireplace.

[Illustration: FIG. 36.--A FINELY-PIERCED BRASS TRIVET, DATED 1668.]

[Illustration: FIG. 37.--BRASS-TOPPED TRIVET, WITH ADDITIONAL LEG STAY.

FIG. 38.--BRASS-TOPPED TRIVET, WITH TURNED WOOD HANDLE.]

The story of the evolution of the grate and the hearth and its
appointments is of extreme interest. The grate itself was at times
ornate with polished brass beads and canopies. The older type of
fireplace was mostly fitted with iron appointments, but even when
andirons were upon the hearth and logs of timber crackled as they
blazed up the wide old chimney, the dogs or chief ornaments of the
hearth were often of brass or bronze. When hob-grates and registers
came in fashion, ormolu and brass ornament contrasted with polished
steel. A typical parlour hob-grate of the eighteenth century would be
ornate with brasses on the hobs, a pierced brass fender on the stone
slab, and a polished brass ashes pan in front of the bars to hide
the cinders. The trivet or revolving stool, small or large, was in the
fender or on the hearth, and massive fire brasses (not irons) filled
the empty spaces.

The brass trivet, revived in modern times, was originally a
three-legged stool made of metal, on which a kettle or similar vessel
could be placed near to the fire. The convenience of being able to put
the trivet stool quite close up to the bars suggested to the maker of
such things the addition of hooks by which the trivet could be hung
upon the bar, thereby bringing it nearer to the heat. In later years
the trivet developed a handle for the convenience of moving it about,
and especially of hanging it upon the bars, and in the latest completed
form with turned wood handle, iron legs, and brass fretted top, the
trivet was regarded as an essential accompaniment to the fire-grate.
From the three-legged stool with hooks or handle there came a minor
development in the form of a light portable trivet without legs, which
could only be used when hung on the bars. These varieties presented the
worker in brass with an excellent opportunity of showing his decorative
skill, and brass trivet tops soon became very ornamental. Fig. 36
represents a finely-pierced brass trivet, with tall legs and pointed
feet and a turned wood handle. On the top of a baluster-shaped device,
supported by dolphins, Atlas is represented bearing on his shoulders
the globe. The date of the trivet is 1668, and on the top is also
engraved the owner's monogram. Another very interesting example comes
from Derbyshire, and is shown in Fig. 38. Yet another example is given
in Fig. 37, this being a more elaborate design. In the centre of the
plate an eagle is represented with outstretched wings. The construction
of this trivet is somewhat unusual in that it is strengthened with a
cross-bar; the feet are of spear-head shape. All three examples are to
be seen at South Kensington.

There have been many modern replicas of the beautiful old brass
helmet-shaped coal-boxes so common half a century ago. The earlier
types varied somewhat in shape, but always preserved their helmet-like
form, as illustrated in the example shown in Fig. 39. In the days when
these coal-boxes were fashionable, miniature pipkins were sold for
drawing-room use, and a little later oblong and oval boxes of polished
brass and copper were in common use; in some places the brass log boxes
taking their place, especially where wood was plentiful.

[Illustration: FIG. 39.--COPPER HELMET-SHAPED COAL-BOX.]

It is probable no domestic utensil or appliance has gained greater
notoriety than the copper and brass warming-pan, which so long held an
honoured place in the chimney corner. It was used nightly in winter
for warming beds in the often large and chilly rooms, both in the
homes of the wealthy and of the middle classes. One of these pans is
represented in Fig. 23 on the wall of the seventeenth-century room
already mentioned as being on view in the London Museum. Another very
handsome warming-pan, which is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, is
very exceptional in style. Many of the earlier examples are dated, and
sometimes engraved or embossed with pious or loyal sentiments, as
was the custom of the times. The Royal Albert Memorial Museum at Exeter
contains several interesting warming-pans; one, which is dated on the
lid 1622, is engraved: "I.R. GOD SAVE KING JAMES"; another, with an
iron handle, is of still earlier date, being stamped 1616 on the lid.

Brass foot-warmers were at one time in regular use; a very fine
example, shown in Fig. 40, is of octagonal shape, covered with repoussé
decoration, and fitted with a folding bail handle, facilitating its
removal from place to place. There have been many copper foot-warmers,
carriage warmers, and the like used in days before modern heating
arrangements were known. Some years ago little copper muff-warmers were
sold in the shops; but they were of no great novelty, for as far back
as the seventeenth century what were known as warming boxes were made
for keeping the hands warm on journeys when travelling by the very
cold and draughty stage coaches. These curious little boxes of brass
or copper were heated with a removable mass of iron, which could be
lifted out of the box, which hinged in the centre, by means of an iron
hook; just in the same way the old box irons were operated. In Figs.
41 and 42 one of these early boxes, which may be seen in the Guildhall
Museum, is illustrated. Thus in olden time the comfort of travellers
was attained. The old inns were welcome retreats after a stormy journey
by road, and the older inns of the coaching days often contain many
interesting relics of the days when the copper and brass objects we
now call curious and old were new. Those objects referred to in the
previous paragraphs by no means exhaust the list of houseplace curios
in metal, but they may serve to point out the great interest which
attaches to even common objects of everyday use when a few years have
passed by and changes have been brought about in everyday usages.

[Illustration: FIG. 40.--BRASS FOOT-WARMER WITH BAIL HANDLE.

(_In the Victoria and Albert Museum._)]

[Illustration: FIGS. 41 AND 42.--EARLY BRASS OR BRONZE HAND-WARMER,
SHOWN OPEN AND CLOSED.

(_In the Guildhall Museum._)]


Chimney and other Ornaments.

As it has been intimated already, the fireplace was a centre of
attraction in all old houses. It was customary on a winter's night to
draw up close to the fire, and in so doing it was only natural that
the chimney piece and those objects which rested thereon would be
constantly looked at. This probably gave makers the cue when designing
ornamental brasswork which could be used as household decoration. The
ornaments of those days were substantial, and the chimney ornaments
solid and lasting. It was a common thing to see a row of brass figures
or pairs of brass ornaments on the chimney-piece. Such designs as those
shown in Figs. 43 and 44 were popular. Our illustrations represent
one only of each fashion; the pairs, however, were usually designed
opposite hands, looking to right and left. Such ornaments were seen on
the kitchen mantelpieces of the well-to-do and on the hob-grates of
the houseplaces of the middle classes. This was the prevailing custom
from fifty to seventy years ago, and still earlier similar ornaments,
cruder in design, evidently modelled after the style of the Bow
pottery figures, were in use. In Lancashire and in the manufacturing
districts of the Black Country brass ornaments of similar and more
modern types have always been favoured, and they are still sold as
ornaments to well-to-do artisans and mechanics. The modern castings are
rougher and not so decorative or beautifully designed as the tooled
castings of earlier days. The peacock was a favourite bird and shared
with the pheasant popularity. These designs are easily recognizable
among the genuine antiques. There were larger animals, too, such as
the horse, an example of which is given in Fig. 45. This favourite
beast of burden was oftentimes represented as a dray horse; in more
sporting circles as a hack or a hunter. In agricultural districts the
wagoner, the huntsman, and dogs and hounds were chiefly favoured. They
were generally set on a base or plinth, an exceptionally good country
brass of the earlier type representing a shepherd with his typical
crook. Little statuettes represented politicians and historical and
even allegorical figures. Among the portrait brasses Napoleon was a
favourite subject in the days when his name was familiar in every
household. Izaac Walton, the exponent of the gentle art, was often
modelled in brass, and even Robinson Crusoe and his man Friday formed
the subject of a rare group. The Continents of America, Africa, and
Asia are rare and interesting allegorical groups. Other brasses show
traces of Chippendale influence, especially those in miniature which
represent familiar household objects, among which are wonderful little
models of circular tables and of the oval loo tables, like those then
seen in the best parlour. There are also miniature brass trivets and
stools and models of grandfather chairs.

Brass ornaments such as those described are not altogether confined to
chimney ornaments, for on a larger scale they were frequently used on
the old hob-grates, the polished brass or copper contrasting with the
shining blacklead put on with plenty of elbow grease. They were used,
too, as door porters and also as sideboard ornaments. The ornaments of
the early nineteenth century in metal were, however, almost entirely
associated with utilitarian purposes, the artist decorating the
commoner objects, giving special attention to the repoussé work and
engraving on those portions which would be in view when the dustpan,
warming-pan, hearth brush, or other object was hung up.


Classified Arrangement.

[Illustration: FIGS. 43 AND 44.--BRASS CHIMNEY ORNAMENTS (ONE EACH OF
PAIRS).]

[Illustration: FIG. 45.--BRASS HORSE, A CHIMNEY OR HOB-GRATE ORNAMENT.]

In addition to those articles mentioned in the foregoing paragraphs
there are many domestic utensils highly decorative, such as
candlesticks and lighting apparatus, referred to in other chapters in
this volume. These all come under the special notice of the collector
of copper and brasswork who turns his attention to domestic antiques.
Such collectable objects as already suggested should be arranged in
a room furnished in similar style to that prevailing at a time when
these metal curios were in daily use. If such a room is not available
an alternative method is to arrange the domestic curios so that by
comparison the progress made by makers as each succeeding generation
came and went can be seen and appreciated. Incidentally that method
is very interesting in that it reveals the periods at which art was
uppermost, and indicates those times when the utility of domestic
copper and brass was in the ascendant rather than their ornate
appearance. Popular taste was followed by the maker at all times, and
the more progressive manufacturers were ever on the look-out for some
slight improvement either in design or decoration--seldom, however,
making any radical change--so that the progress in metal-work was one
of development slowly unfolded.



IX

CANDLESTICKS
AND LAMPS



CHAPTER IX

CANDLESTICKS AND LAMPS

      Fire-making apparatus--Candles and candlesticks--Oil lamps and
      lanterns.


Artificial light and heat were among the first scientific discoveries
of primeval man. To harness the forces of Nature was undoubtedly a
great achievement, and at first would be viewed with alarm. The fire
which had been kindled from natural causes would be looked upon with
awe by the cave men or the dwellers in the forest. When they saw it
dying down they would very naturally make some effort to keep the
fire burning by adding fresh fuel. The time would come, however, when
lighting a fire by artificial means would be resorted to; and the
methods adopted in those far-off days involved the use of primitive
contrivances, some of which are described on the next page. The fire
burning under the camp kettle would in course of time suggest a flaming
torch, which could be carried about at will; and from the torch, which
burned all too quickly, came the discovery of oil lamps and the candle.
At first this was only a rushlight, used side by side with the cresset
torch; and then in later days came lamps and lanterns.


Fire-making Apparatus.

The collector of copper and brass looks with regret on the early
fire-making apparatus in that iron was the chief metal employed.
Nevertheless there are some objects associated with fire-making
manufactured in brass. There are some well-known collectors who
have specialized on fire-making appliances and early lamps. Among
fire-making appliances are those of the percussion type, commencing
with iron pyrites, flint, steel, and tinder. Some of the earlier tinder
boxes were made of brass, although the majority were of wood and tin;
many of the pistol-action tinder boxes which immediately followed the
earlier form were furnished with stands and candle-sockets, being
used for the purpose of lighting an early candle. Some of the brass
candle-stands and candle-sockets are beautifully engraved, and many
of the contrivances which were fired by the priming of gunpowder, the
flash igniting the tinder, are highly ornamental. That method, of
course, marked an advance. There are pistol-action tinder boxes from
Japan, highly ornamental, the cases being pierced and in some instances
decorated with raised silver and copper relief. From China and Central
Asia come tinder pouches, many of them having decorative brass mounts,
some being gilt on copper. Tinder was often carried about in tubes of
brass and copper, some of the best examples being very elaborately
engraved. In some small compartments are found; these were intended
for the flint and steel. A later type of mechanical fire-making
appliance, introduced by Richard Lorentz, in 1807, took the form of a
patented compression tube or fire syringe, the piston of which was of
brass. Chemical methods of lighting fires and striking lights have been
tried with more or less success, and among the collectable curios are
relics of these early attempts to produce fire and light by scientific
methods. The collector, while welcoming every curious object, has
generally to rely upon the objects which were in common use and made
in larger quantities. Of these commonly used appliances, however,
there are many varieties, and of the more perfected forms of lighting
requisites there is an abundant choice.

[Illustration: FIG. 46.--A TWO-TUBE CANDLE MOULD.]

[Illustration: FIG. 47.--TWO TYPES OF EARLY PRICKET CANDLESTICKS.]


Candles and Candlesticks.

Many are the legends and stories of the days when the flickering
light of a candle threw shadows across the ceiling and partly lighted
and partly obscured the table and floor. Ghostly, too, they seemed
as the embers of the fire died on the hearth. The provision of
artificial light for use during the long winter evenings has always
been one of the domestic cares, and the women of the household were
in early days mindful of the coming winter during the summer and
autumn months. Among their domestic duties was that of gathering
and drying rushes and dipping them in fat. The primitive rushlights
gave an uncertain glimmer, and the moulding of candles with cotton
wicks would be welcomed as an advance. Candles were home-made until
comparatively modern times, and the candle mould was an essential
in every household. It was frequently of brass, and varied in size
and in the number of moulds, the one shown in Fig. 46 having only two
tubes. While the custom of making candles at home continued long in
country districts, in towns candle-making became a trade, and, as was
the custom in those days, the moulders of candles assembled together
in certain well-known thoroughfares. In London, Candlewick Street, the
name of which has since been corrupted into Cannon Street, was their
rendezvous.

The store of candles for immediate use was kept close at hand in the
candle box, placed against the wall in some convenient position. The
boxes were of wood and japanned tin; others were of brass, some being
very ornamental and covered over with engravings. Such candle boxes are
to be found in the curio shops; several fine examples may frequently be
seen near St. James's Park Station in London, where there are several
curio dealers who specialize on old copper and brass, the neighbourhood
being quite a happy hunting ground for the collector of metal.

[Illustration: FIG. 48.--CANDELABRUM OF EARLY TYPE (CENTRAL FIGURE),
AND TWO OIL LAMPS.

(_In Washington Museum._)]

The evolution of the candlestick was slow at first. The old
rushlight-holders were made by the country smith, and very clumsy they
were on their heavy wooden stands. The first idea seems to have been
to stick the candle on a spike, oftentimes such spikes being placed
conveniently on the wall. Then came the "sticks" on stands which could
be moved about the room, in some cases with a sliding holder, the
height of which could be regulated. Gradually, however, the candlestick
for table use and the candlestick with the dished base, which became
common as the type of the chamber candlestick, came into being. With
the progress made and the general acceptance of the two types, the
pillar candlestick and the chamber candlestick, the artist in metal
began to turn his attention to perfecting their forms and decorating
them.

Many remarkable candlesticks in bronze are met with among
ecclesiastical brasses, some of which are referred to in Chapter VII.
Of the domestic candlesticks there are many early examples, some with
beautifully twisted columns and later fluted examples. The pricket
candlestick--that is, a candlestick with a spike on which a candle was
firmly placed--eventually gave way to the more convenient socket, and
a flange at the top of the column held any candle grease which might
run down the sides of the candle. The pricket candlesticks of early
twelfth-century make illustrated in Fig. 47 may be referred to as
examples of the pricket form, their chief attractions being found in
the richly enamelled decoration. In Fig. 48 we are able to illustrate a
very interesting candelabrum now in the National Museum at Washington
City. It is made up literally of two candlesticks attached to a very
simple pillar bracket on which they slide up and down, the addition of
a metal reflector suggesting later developments in candlesticks and
lamps. In the later days both brass and silver candlesticks, especially
the tall lights used on mantelpiece or on sideboard, were ornamented in
keeping with the plate of the period, and were eventually classed among
the more decorative appointments of the home.

When candles were made of tallow the wicks burned black and charred
and a constant snuffing was necessary. This brought about the use
of snuffers of polished steel and of brass, and a little later of
snuffer trays, the snuffers and their accompanying trays forming a
most interesting addition to the collection of metal. Candlesticks are
still used, but the candles are of superior quality and burn steady
and bright. Some are very decorative, too, especially the painted
candlesticks which with their ornamental shades are attached to pianos,
and are used as wall lights or as additional lights upon the table.
The days of brass candlesticks, snuffers, and trays have, however,
long been numbered, and most of these relics of old-world lights have
passed into the region of curios. Here and there they may be seen in
their once accustomed place, but more as ornament than for actual
use. In a well-known hotel, at one time an old coaching house famous
for its copper and brass wares, the candlesticks in those early days
a necessity are now placed in pairs on the bedroom mantelpieces as
mementoes of the past. They are not intended for use, for the electric
switch is at hand, and the newer light has taken the place of the wax
candle (see Fig. 49).

[Illustration: FIG. 49.--GROUP OF RARE CANDLESTICKS, ALMS-DISH, AND
EWERS.

(_In the Victoria and Albert Museum._)]

The lines which some years ago were printed in connection with a
concert given in aid of the Glasgow Candlemakers and Tallow workers are
appropriate:

    "The light of other days is faded,
      The reign of tallow's past;
    Magnesium and the limelight
      Have vanquished 'dips' at last.

    And the old lamplighter, too,
      Must shortly disappear,
    Making way for electric light,
      With its garish flash so 'queer.'"


Oil Lamps and Lanterns.

Much might be written of oil lamps and lanterns, of which there are
many interesting curios. They are varied, too, for they cover a large
field reaching from almost prehistoric times to the present day. Many
lamps of metal and bronze have survived and are found in our museums
side by side with the still earlier examples of terra-cotta and crude
pottery. There is a very interesting collection of early lamps in the
Guildhall Museum, one of the most attractive examples being a Roman
lamp of bronze, a portion of the central oil space being covered. The
bronze lamp illustrated in Fig. 50 which may be seen in the London
Museum, is claimed by the authorities to be unique in London finds,
and is probably the finest example of a Roman lamp discovered in
England. The collector finds his most interesting examples in lamps
which have been made in this country the outcome of the candle and
of the candle lamp which was gradually evolved. Many of these early
candle lamps were adaptations of old candlesticks; it would appear
that the idea of enclosing a candle in a horn lantern and thereby
securing greater steadiness on account of its being protected from the
wind and draughts, which had already been adopted, suggested a glass
cup or protection to the candle on the table. It is quite likely that
the first experiments were made with a broken cup of porcelain with
the bottom knocked out, for the earliest examples seem to have taken
that form, the cup-like vessels being gradually confined more and more
at the top and the bottom. The idea of a candle-clock occurred to
seventeenth-century candlestick makers, who marked the edges of the
lamp on the framework so that as the candles burned low they marked the
hours. The burning would be more or less irregular, but the marks on
the candle-clocks would be some guide, and served their purpose in days
when the time of day was of less moment than it is now.

Oil, which had early been the chief lighting medium, was once more in
the ascendant when in the eighteenth century oil lamps gradually took
the place of candles. Fig. 48 represents a handsome pair of old oil
lamps, their beautifully shaped vase containers being reminiscent of
the urns and vases at that time ornamenting the mahogany sideboard.
It is said that many such lamps were made in England and sent over to
America before the War of Independence, and that in the homesteads of
the old plantations such relics have been treasured. The examples shown
in the accompanying illustrations are now in the United States National
Museum at Washington.

In the days when the watchman called the time of the night
street-lighting was unknown. Lanterns were carried in the hand and the
links-boys were in attendance.

[Illustration: FIG. 50.--EARLY BRONZE LAMP.

(_The London Museum, Stafford House._)]

In Fig 51 is shown a brass lantern (open and closed) which is now the
property of the Sunderland Public Libraries and Art Gallery Committee,
a very interesting specimen of an eighteenth-century collapsible
lantern of brass and horn. It measures 6-1/4 in. high and is 3-3/8
in. square. Such lanterns were very common in the eighteenth century,
and indeed in still more recent times in country places where they
were very necessary before country roads were improved and rural
thoroughfares lighted.

We must, however, fain pass over street-lighting for the lanterns
which have been copied so many times in more recent days. _Apropos_
of lanterns of copper carried by the wary traveller and of the copper
lightning conductor on the church steeple, an indispensable feature
still, the following lines are quoted:

    "In the olden time, along the street,
    A glimmering lantern led the feet
      When on a midnight stroll;
    But now we catch, when night is night,
    A piece of lightning from the sky
      And stick it on a pole."

[Illustration: FIG. 51.--OLD BRASS LANTERN.

(_In the Sunderland Museum._)]



X

BELLS AND
BELL-METAL
CASTINGS



CHAPTER X

BELLS AND BELL-METAL CASTINGS

      The founders' secrets--Great bells of historic fame--The uses of
      bells--Old mortars.


The metal of which bells are made differs only from that used for other
copper wares in its alloy. The ancients, however, made many mysteries
about the constituents of the metal by which they were able to produce
such beautiful notes and musical sounds. The modern bellfounder uses
about 75 parts of copper and 25 parts of tin, varying it sometimes by
a mixture of zinc and lead, and in that he differs little from the
bellfounder of old, except that the older craftsman made a secret of
his alloy and sometimes added a small quantity of other metals. The
theory is that a large percentage of copper gives a deep tone, whereas
the greater addition of zinc and tin gives a sharper ring.


The Founders' Secrets.

A knowledge of metals and of their qualities is a desirable
accomplishment which all metal-workers and founders should possess, and
it was doubtless because some of the early bellfounders intuitively,
or as the result of accidental experiment, discovered the true
properties of the alloys they used that they were able to excel in the
craft. There are secrets associated with the mixing of the metal, too,
especially that of heating the molten metal to the correct temperature
at the most critical moment of running it into the mould. Much depends
also upon tuning the bells by turning and reducing their thicknesses
at the right place in the bell's cone. The accuracy of such details
is essential, otherwise those mellow sounds for which many of the old
bells are noted would be absent. It is true that the rich mellowness
and musical notes so noticeable in some peals are due to some extent
to age, the exact influence of which is not fully understood. The
bellfounder has always regarded his work from a lofty standard, and has
recorded the accomplishment of any great work by the inscriptions he
has caused to be cast upon the surface of the bell. Such data is often
accompanied by the name and trademark of the founder, the Bellfounders'
arms being frequently added. Sometimes such inscriptions are dated; at
others the lettering is sufficient to denote the date of the work.

The making of great bells was always regarded as an event of some
importance. Most of those which have obtained historic fame have
either been associated with some public use or have been cast for
ecclesiastical purposes. Such events were often attended by kings
and queens and great ecclesiastics, who threw into the melting-pot
contributions of silver and gold, inscriptions upon the bells
themselves often recording the special object of their manufacture.

The difficulties in the way of casting bells a distance away from the
tower where they were to be hung often induced the founders to cast
them on the spot; indeed, as late as 1762 the clock bell of Canterbury
was recast in the Cathedral yard.


Great Bells of Historic Fame.

There are many great bells of historic fame, and others which have
gained notoriety from their great size. The claim to the possession
of the largest bell was formerly made by the Chinese, but the palm is
usually accorded to the Great Bell of Moscow, which measures 19 ft. in
height and 64 ft. in circumference. In our own country there are the
Great Bell of St. Paul's, weighing five tons; "Great Tom" of Lincoln,
of similar weight; "Peter" of York, weighing ten tons; and "Big Ben" of
Westminster, scaling fourteen tons.

Some old churches and cathedrals are noted more for their beautiful
chimes than for the size and weight of their larger bells. At Mechlin
there are forty-four bells in the carillon, and in Antwerp Cathedral
the chimes are played on sixty-five bells, the oldest in the set, named
"Horrida," being dated 1316, but the bell which is said to be the best
loved of all by the ringers is stamped "Carolas," having been given by
Charles V.

There are bells of lesser size which have gained popularity, some from
their former associations; others perhaps, more so because of their
present location or ownership. Sometimes bells have been removed
from old churches and after having changed hands several times have
found a resting-place in the possession of laymen; often in museums,
it is true, but not always so: as an instance there is the fine old
bell in the possession of the Grocers' Company, cast in 1463 for the
Church of All Hallows, Staining, where it hung for many years. The bell
illustrated in Fig. 52, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, is of
more recent date, having been cast in Exeter in 1670 by John Pennington.

Bells have frequently been brought to this country as trophies of war.
At the Tower there are several fine examples of Eastern workmanship,
and there are others now in the United Service Museum at Whitehall.


The Uses of Bells.

The older bells have seen varied service; they have been hung in church
towers and in public places; they have sounded the note of alarm,
and given the signal for historic assemblies; they have rung the
death-knell of illustrious persons, and in rural England have summoned
many generations of worshippers to Divine Service.

The bells, the loud clanging of which can be heard afar, are, however,
the outcome of a gradual process of development. The evolution from the
handbell to the turret bell was doubtless slow.

The simple handbell in its early stages was only a slight advance
beyond the bells hung round the necks of the leaders of the flock,
which were made by the village smith. Such primitive, and not always
musical, bells were used from the earliest times to summon servants and
workers in the field and tenderers of the flock. The practice dates
from Biblical days, for it was an early Eastern custom for sheiks and
patriarchs from their tent doors to summon their followers, or give the
danger signal, by means of a bell.

Bible records tell of bells of gold suspended from the robes of
priests, and of their use in temple worship. From that time onward
they have been associated with religious ceremonials. In later
times the early Christians employed bells of copper and brass and
consecrated them to their use. Thus musical peals, rung collectively or
individually, have sounded for all kinds of sacred rites. The bell--a
mere handbell--was soon fixed over a doorway, or in some convenient
place where it could with greater ease be rung by a cord. Then came the
suggestion of larger bells, afterwards covered over, and finally hung
in steeple or tower, like the campanile (a tower separated from the
church) so often met with in Italy.

The church bell is said to have been introduced here by Paulinus, the
Bishop of Mona, in A.D. 400. The next record of importance is the
historical account of the Venerable Bede, who describes bells hung
in towers--that was in A.D. 670. Some two hundred years after Bede's
days a peal was rung for the first time in England, in the Abbey of
Crowland. The pioneers of bell-ringing upon bells tuned in harmony were
the ringers who produced such charming results with the bells of King's
College, Cambridge.

The bells of churches were rung for ecclesiastical and for national
and parochial purposes. There was the vesper bell for evensong, and
there was the curfew bell which rang in obedience to the "lights out"
enactments of Norman days (see _Couvre de feu_, p. 113).

Of the minor uses of bells there are many. In Tudor days small bells
were familiar objects in hunting. They formed part of the equipment of
the hawk or falcon. Of these we read in Shakespeare's works--of the
"'larum bell and of sweet bells jangled out of tune." In _Othello_
there is a record of the "snorting citizen with his bell."

[Illustration: FIG. 52.--BELL CAST BY JOHN PENNINGTON AT EXETER IN
1670.]

[Illustration: FIG. 53.--GROUP OF BELL-METAL MORTARS.

(_In the British Museum._)]

Bellmen were the heralds of news in country towns, and the importance
of their office was made clear by the "Oyez! Oyez!" by which they
prefixed their tale. The ancient watchman clanged his bell and the
light in the lantern slung at his waist flickered as he sounded the
call. This is mentioned in an old ballad, the first verse of which
reads:

    "Time, master, calls your bellman to his task,
    To see your doors and windows are all fast."

Numerous examples of curious bells are to be seen in our museums.
In the Welsh Museum at Cardiff there is an old Celtic bell from
Llangwynodl, shown side by side with an electrotype of the famous bell
of St. Patrick. There is rather a sad note in the story of the fate of
the old division bell of the Irish House of Commons, which, when the
Parliament was abolished, was sold for use in a Dublin theatre as a
call bell, eventually to be resold as old metal. That curio would at
this juncture have been regarded as an historical relic of some value.

The restoration of bells sometimes leads to mistakes when it is found
that the inscriptions upon them appear to indicate an older date
than would be judged to be correct from their appearance. Of such
restoration work an instance may be given of the peal of twelve bells
recently placed in the tower of St. Mary's Church, which has become the
cathedral of the new diocese of Chelmsford. The bells were dedicated in
the presence of ringers from a large number of towns and villages in
Essex, a county noted for its bell-towers and bells. The peal of ten
replaces one cast in 1777, and the old inscriptions have been placed on
the new bells. One reads:

    "Tho' much against us may be said,
    To speak for ourselves we are not afraid."

Perhaps one of the most pleasing thoughts associated with bells is that
their earliest use has been perpetuated throughout the ages. The sheep
bell hung round the neck of the bellwether in Eastern lands sounding so
sweetly in the days of the Psalmist of old, finds its replica on the
downlands of the Southern counties and on Salisbury Plain to-day, for
there and in many other parts of rural England the tinkling jingle of
the sheep bells may be heard.

Bells are not without their rivals, for gongs have been used in Eastern
countries for years, and now they are popular elsewhere. They were
originally a disc of beaten metal with upturned rim, although in some
countries they took the place of drums in warfare, as well as playing
a part in religious services. The circular gong is associated with
China, Japan, and Java. The Burmese gong is of triangular form, and
by way of contrast is made of polished metal, whereas those of the
first-mentioned countries usually show hammer marks. Many of the old
gongs were exceedingly musical, and when struck with a leather-covered
wooden mallet were capable of producing a variety of sounds. Gongs old
and new vary in size and, consequently, in depth of tone and volume
of sound. Among the Eastern curios there are some highly decorative
examples, especially among the smaller table gongs, the stands of which
were often enriched by decorative ornament with inlays and enamels.


Old Mortars.

On account of being made of the same kind of alloy, bronze mortars are
referred to in this chapter. They were usually cast by the bellfounders
from the metal they used for bells, and many of them when struck give
forth sonorous and deep-toned sounds. These mortars were moulded and
often decorated with fanciful designs, frequently with the arms or
initials of the prospective owners, others being dated. Those shown in
Fig. 53 are representative types.

Many of the early mortars appear to have been imported into this
country. The Dutch founders made many in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, some being especially handsome and of large size. Others
still more ornate were of Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish origin.

In course of time the use of bell-metal was discarded, and brass
mortars, cast and afterwards turned in a lathe, came into vogue. These
gradually became little used, and when pestles and mortars were needed
in the domestic kitchen, more modern types of marble and composition
were introduced. To-day, these once necessary domestic appliances are
relegated to the chimney-piece as honoured ornaments in the kitchen;
the older and more valuable bell-metal mortars being given more
prominent positions upon sideboard or cabinet. Such is the story of the
bellfounders, whose art remains among modern crafts.



XI

CIVIC
EMBLEMS
AND
WEIGHTS
AND
MEASURES



CHAPTER XI

CIVIC EMBLEMS AND WEIGHTS AND MEASURES

      The ancient horn--The badge of office--Weighing
      instruments--Measures in Exeter Museum--Our standards.


The sounding of brass and the tinkling of cymbals have heralded in
many State pageants. Civic pomp and splendour have been enriched by
brilliant uniforms, and the sunlight has flashed on many a thrilling
event in national history. In the relics of former glories we find
emblems of the doings of the past, and amidst ruined buildings or
those halls now shorn of much of their former grandeur--their original
purpose forgotten, or, perchance, misunderstood--the collector seeks
symbols of office and hoards them when found as mere curios.

In this chapter such civic emblems and prosaic weights and measures
are grouped. A curious combination some may think. Very appropriate,
however, when we note the close connection which once existed between
those old corporations and guilds who rejoiced in emblems of office and
enjoyed the custody of standards of weights and measures, fulfilling
the duties which had been thrust upon them by powers and authorities
only too willing to depute to private bodies necessary work for which
they had no equipment and no organization.


The Ancient Horn.

Civil authority and even State control could, in days gone by, only
be sustained by plenty of pomp and show. The populace were awed by
giant insignia and much parade of power to enforce the authority held.
In days before there were newspapers to make announcements, and no
printing presses to print posters and proclamations, the calling of
a public meeting at which declarations could be made or decisions
arrived at, was a matter of no small importance. The sounding horn
had been used from primitive times to call together the people, and
the gatherings of the folk mote were heralded in and assembled by a
loud blast on the "moot horn." The moot or meeting of the people of
a village or hamlet began in Anglo-Saxon times, when such assemblies
were held in the open air. Later came the moot hall, which preceded the
guildhall of days when traders and merchants were incorporated into
fraternal guilds. The horn was the signal for calling such assemblies
commonly in use in old towns, and such relics of the past are now
preserved with care--emblems of altered times to those who are familiar
with them. In Fig. 55 is shown the moot horn of Winchester, a beautiful
example of ancient metal-work. There is a similar horn at Dover, which
is sounded still according to custom at the election of the mayor.

[Illustration: FIG. 54.--AN EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY FLAGSTAFF HEAD OF BRASS,
ORIGINALLY GILT.]

[Illustration: FIG. 55.--THE WINCHESTER MOOT HORN.

(_In the Guildhall Museum, Winchester._)]

The moot horn is not quite lost in modern procedure, for the heralds
march in Royal processions and precede the proclamation of regal and
civic state as of yore, on those rare occasions calling a halt from
everyday occupations by the trumpet's blast.


The Badge of Office.

The mace is with us to-day as the chief emblem of office. Without it
no civil gathering of importance in London would be complete, and
when robbed of its presence no law can be enacted at Westminster. The
"bauble" Cromwell caused to be removed was a symbol of historic and
ancient fame, deep-rooted in the minds of even stern Puritans. It had
to be banished ere the Parliament was dissolved!

The mace is truly the lineal and direct sign of power and authority,
for it was the ancient battle-axe which could deal the deadly blow that
was first held up before the sovereign, and in brass or gilt the tawdry
symbol took its place and has ever since retained its significance.

In lesser degree the staff or stave of office has remained an ensign of
authority. The heads of such staves are often decorative and surmounted
by some appropriate emblem or well-known sign of office.

The flagstaff head shown in Fig. 54 is of eighteenth-century date;
its very beautiful openwork ornament was probably of gilt. It is an
excellent example of English workmanship of that period.


Weighing Instruments.

The Founders' Company exercised an oversight over weighing instruments
and weights and had difficulties to contend with, for there were many
irregularities and not a few differences in the standards used in
various localities. The scales of traders of olden time were far from
accurate, and there was abundant need of standard weights and measures
such as were kept in some of the old country towns. Winchester and
Exeter are two places where care has been taken of the old standards,
and in both of these towns ancient standards may be seen. Similar
standards formerly kept in other towns have been scattered, and not
infrequently old specimens--obviously standards from the inscriptions
upon them--are met with in private collections.

[Illustration: FIG. 56.--THE WINCHESTER BUSHEL (STANDARD MEASURE).]

[Illustration: FIG. 57.--OLD MEASURES BASED ON THE WINCHESTER STANDARD.

(_Sketched by permission of the Corporation of the City of
Winchester._)]

Those now in the Winchester Museum extend over a considerable period,
ranging in antiquity from the reign of Henry III to Elizabeth. The
original bushel which became the standard on which other measures were
based is still preserved in Winchester. In the reign of Henry VII, one
William Nele was commissioned to make further copies, on which the sum
of fifty pounds was expended. The transaction was recorded in the State
papers of 1486 as follows: "To William Nele, gunn founder and brasier
of London, upon makyng of diverse measures and weights accordinge to
the olde Standarde of Englande, to be sent into several shires and
cities of Englande, accordinge to the King's commandment, and by the
advice of the Counsaal at diverse tymes." The ancient bronze bushel
of great historic interest is illustrated in Fig. 56. Among the other
standards kept with the "bushel" in the Winchester Museum are those
shown in Fig. 57--all measures based on similar standards. Tudor
examples are also still in the possession of the local authorities at
Norwich, Salisbury, Northampton, Southampton, and Exeter. Fig. 58 is
another example of a pint measure, dated 1601, the crowned initials
"E.R." upon it, of course, indicating "ELIZABETH REGINA." A later
Winchester pint, dated 1704, is shown in Fig. 59.


Measures in Exeter Museum.

When it was enacted in the reign of Henry VII that certain towns
should hold copies of the ancient standards, Exeter was the city
chosen wherein were deposited the standards for the Shire of Devon.
They are now on view in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum in Exeter,
supplemented by other standards legalized by Queen Elizabeth, and by
more recent copies of authorized standards. There are five standards,
dated 1799, consisting of the Winchester bushel, peck, and half-peck,
and standard coal measure of peck and half-peck. A bronze standard of
the time of William and Mary is engraved "FOR THE CITTY AND COVNTY OF
EXON 1689;" and a standard gallon, embossed with crown and monogram, is
engraved "E.R. ELIZABETH REGINA, 1601;". There are also standard wine
measures; one engraved on one side "CITY OF EXETER 1797" and on the
reverse "HALF PINT. WINE," and another on the reverse, "GILL. WINE."
An exceptionally interesting piece is a standard ale gallon of the
time of the Commonwealth, engraved "AN ALE GALLON SIZED AND SEALED IN
THE TOWER OF LONDON BY ME JOHN REYNOLDS OF THE MYNT. ANO. 1653." Among
the standard weights included in this interesting exhibit is a 14 lb.
bronze weight of the time of Henry VII, embossed with portcullis and
rose, and engraved "HENRIC SEPTIM." It was found some years ago among
old metal at a store in Exeter, the manner of its discovery indicating
the possibility of further finds of a similar nature in other towns.
The little Troy weights are exceptionally well preserved; the weights
according to their engraving are 32 oz., 64 oz., 128 oz., and 256 oz.
On the largest specimen the legend runs: "ANO. DO. EL. REG. XXX. 1588."
and on the upper edge, "CCLVI.", the smaller weights being similarly
indicated. These were all used as the standards at Exeter until the
year 1824. Another interesting specimen is the standard yard and ell
bed used in Exeter for testing the rods used as cloth measures, the
groove on the standard on the engraved side being one yard, that on
the reverse one ell (=45 inches). The inscription on the standard yard
reads: "CIVITAS EXON CHRISTOPHER COKE ESQ. MAYOR. WILLIAM BOLITHO
RECEIVER 1693." In the same museum there are also six brass stamping
blocks formerly in use at the Exeter Custom House in connection with
old Exeter trades.

Mediæval London yields the collector many choice pieces. Beautiful
little scale beams of bronze and brass have been found in or near
London Wall. Scales of antiquity, too, have sometimes been in the
possession of old families for centuries almost without their knowing
or appreciating their value. Not long ago some beautiful little
scales made of brass, which must have been made more than two hundred
years ago, were picked up on an old barrow where the man who bought
"odd things" had it for sale and thought it to be one of the almost
valueless curios in the remains of sundries he had bought from the
caretaker of an empty house. In the Guildhall Museum there are scales
and weights of types usual in the fifteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth
centuries. One of these is decorated with a band of stars, another of
triangular shape is stamped with a merchant's mark--that also was found
on the site of London Wall. Another remarkably interesting curio is an
octagonal weight evidently answering the purpose of a baker's weight,
and perhaps as an advertisement, too, for it is engraved, "WEIGHT OF A
QUARTERN LOAF, SOLD BY JAMES BULL, 124, LEADENHALL STREET."


Our Standards.

[Illustration: FIG. 58.--A PINT MEASURE OF THE REIGN OF ELIZABETH.

FIG. 59.--A WINCHESTER PINT OF THE DAYS OF QUEEN ANNE.]

[Illustration: FIG 60.--OLD FRENCH WEIGHTS.

(_In the British Museum._)]

In this connection it may be pointed out that a very pleasing
collection can inexpensively be made out of old money changers'
weights, both English and foreign. They were chiefly used with the
pocket scales at one time carried about by traders as a precaution
against the numerous clipped and light-weight coins in circulation.
Among these little weights are those which were used for testing what
are now obsolete gold coins, such as angel, guinea, half-guinea, and
seven-shilling piece.

Some of the old Roman bell weights are interesting; they took their
shape from more ancient weights in the form of a pagan deity, probably
Mercury, who was looked upon as a god of scales and weights. In some
collections larger Continental weights are met with; those illustrated
in Fig. 60 representing three French weights preserved in the British
Museum.

When examining old weights and measures we often wonder at the origin
of such curious tables of weight formulated on somewhat perplexing
standards, ridiculed as long obsolete by supporters of the metric
systems. They would sweep them away; but to do so would snap one more
link with the historic past, and perhaps cause us to forget the very
simple origin of so many of our so-called complicated systems, the
outcome of a slowly developing commerce--very different now to the
days when our standards were formulated. The baseline of our weights
and measures is to be found in a single grain of corn, such as would
seem to be Nature's gift--the staff of life! It was a natural standard
for agriculturists, who would be the first to use it, to adopt. Not
only was the grain of corn the standard of measurement and weight,
but a given number gave the weight value to the penny sterling. The
grain retained its prominent position in our calculations long after
standards had been fixed, for in the reign of Henry VII it was enacted
that the bushel measure should contain eight gallons of wheat, and
that the gallon should weigh eight pounds, the pound to be of twelve
ounces Troy, each ounce equal to twenty silver pennies, every one of
which should be of weight equivalent to thirty-two grains of dry wheat.

It will be remembered that a still earlier standard--that of the Roman
Empire--was based on barleycorns, of which there were twenty-four
to the ounce, a measurement adopted at Troyes, in France, having
been brought from Cairo during the Crusades. Thus in this simple
story we see the origin of Troy weight which in after years was used
concurrently with the later _avoirdupois_ (goods by weight), the
standard adopted for heavy wares.



XII

BRONZES
AND
THEIR
REPLICAS



CHAPTER XII

BRONZES AND THEIR REPLICAS

      Early figure modelling--Statues in public places--Replicas in
      miniature.


The art of sculpture was practised by the ancients, and long before the
beautiful bronzes for which the artists of Greece and Rome were famous
carvers of wood, and sculptors of stone and marble, had cut inscribed,
and fashioned human figures, animals, and fabulous creatures according
to their whims and fancies. In moulds cut in stone the early casters in
metal produced the objects which we roughly class as bronze, and they
are preserved to-day as reminders of those who lived before history
was written. When the early Bronze Age had passed away and the use of
iron was understood, the art of sculpture in stone was practised by
the Egyptians and by other Eastern nations. Then came the beautiful
metal-work of Ancient Greece; the statues, trophies, and groups,
produced in those days when Greece excelled in the fine arts, have
acquired a fame which has never been exceeded by sculptors or workers
in metals in modern days. The Italians of a later period showed their
religious emotions in the metallic works of art they produced in early
mediæval days; and still later French modellers have excelled in human
expression.

Many of the great works of the old masters in bronze are unique, and
they are retained as great treasures in the national museums where they
have found lasting homes. For the benefit of connoisseurs of art many
of the great works have been copied, and in the Victoria and Albert
Museum at South Kensington and in other places there are replicas in
metal and in other materials, faithful copies of the original bronzes
which are so rare. The educational value of a gallery of ancient art,
whether expressed in marble, bronze, stone, or other materials, is
considerable; it not only tends to the appreciation of modern art as
represented by the statues and monuments in our parks and gardens,
and in those smaller works which adorn public buildings and private
mansions, but it leads to the appreciation of the lesser replicas
of great works, such as artistic groups, figures, and bronzes which
have been copied in miniature. Many of the most important works of
the modeller and caster of bronze groups and figures are familiar to
students of art and collectors of curios, in that so many of these
important studies have been reproduced or copied; sometimes the copies
are equally as beautiful as the original, although on a smaller scale,
and many of them have quite an antique appearance, for they are by no
means modern, such works of art having been reproduced very many years
ago.

[Illustration: FIG. 61.--BRONZE TIGER, BY ANTOINE LOUIS BARYE.]


Early Figure Modelling.

The human figure in its most perfectly known form was early made the
model from which artists sculptured stone and moulded figures. Even
some of the crude attempts of native races have evidently been intended
to represent human beings with whom they associated or races they held
in fear, but they were not always successful. Bronze statues cast in
moulds were known in Egypt, and throughout later periods most of the
civilized races have employed methods by which they have been able
with more or less accuracy to reproduce in other substances of a more
lasting character the perishable flesh and blood of the human race. In
a similar way the personified deities have been perpetuated in bronze
and many of them are simply idolized humanity. Sometimes these statues
have been very large, far beyond what is generally known as life-size.
It must be remembered, however, that many of these colossal statues
when raised to a great height are by no means out of proportion to the
buildings on which they were placed, and assumed a normal size when
viewed from below. It is said that one of the most striking colossal
figures was that of Minerva, crowning the summit of the Acropolis. The
largest statue seems to be that of Nero, which rose 150 ft. In more
modern times statues have been brought down to normal size. Visitors
to Rome, however, recognise what a wonderful achievement it must have
been to place that immense statue of St. Peter in position. The artists
of old were indeed clever, and not only have they justly been accorded
fame for the size and beautiful proportions of their statues, but many
of the ancient bronzes have gained their greatest notoriety from the
great beauty with which the sculptors must have idealized their models.
Many of the antiques are almost perfect in form, and we are forced to
wonder what kind of men and women their models were.


Classic Models.

The classic bronzes were almost invariably conceptions drawn from
imagination, but the beautiful forms of the athletes and Greek maidens
helped the artist in his estimate of the deities he personified. In
those bronzes we see the magic touch of the master hand, and perhaps of
the belief in the mystic attributes so cleverly designed. Thus we have
figures of Hercules, Mars, Venus, and many others, which can be copied,
and now and then by some stroke of good luck a genuine antique is added
to the collector's museum.


Statues in Public Places.

[Illustration: FIG. 62.--BRONZE LION, BY BARYE.]

During the last half-century simple statues erected to the memories
of noted politicians and military men in public parks, streets, and
open places, have been added to by more realistic groups. It would be
beyond the scope of this work to attempt categorical descriptions of
such bronzes to be seen in the public places of our great cities, and
it would be still more difficult to rightly classify them either in
their order of merit or of the appropriateness of their selection. It
seems justly fit that those who have been associated with the metallic
art should be commemorated in copper and brass. To Pittsburg belongs
the honour of having remembered the father of the art of hammering
into shape the metals. In that city, on a massive pedestal, stands a
colossal bronze figure of Tubal Cain, who, in his brief life's history
given in Genesis, is spoken of as an "artificer in brass." He fittingly
heads the list of metallurgists and scientists, to many of whom
monuments have been erected.

The use of bronze in monuments is not confined to figures of great
men, for bronze and brass ornament often adds to the magnificence of a
national memorial. As examples of the use of bronze for that purpose
mention may be made of the bronze lions, after Landseer, at the four
corners of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square. The use of bronze,
as adding to the adornment or appearance of an antiquity in stone,
is exemplified in the two bronze sphinxes at the base of Cleopatra's
Needle on the Thames Embankment.

The bronzes of comparatively modern days are mostly the work of the
founder, cast after the sculptor has done his work. Some of the early
examples of Etruscan and Egyptian art consisted of bronze or brass
hammered into form by hand, or made of plates riveted together. Others
appear to have been beaten or embossed into high relief in a mould.
Some of the cleverest castings of bronze, however, are found in the
work of Eastern nations, the best examples being idols and temple
ornaments (see Chapter XIV).


Replicas in Miniature.

The so-called miniatures range from important reproductions for
household and gallery ornament to the quite miniature bronzes which
adorn the mantelpiece or cabinet. Many of the statues and groups of
ancient and modern forms have been copied. There is, however, another
school of art which to many is very attractive. Just as pictures of
animal life are appreciated by many, so the sculptures and bronzes
of well-known animal artists have been justly appreciated. In France
there are the works of Antoine Louis Barye, who was born in Paris in
1795. It is said that Barye discovered his real bent from watching the
wild beasts in the Jardin des Plantes. Some of his great works were
exhibited early in the nineteenth century, and his beautiful models
have been much copied. Three of the most popular are shown in Figs.
61, 62, and 63. There is the tiger which he exhibited in 1830, and the
lion and the beautifully formed stag. Such works of art are worthy of
a place in any collection of metal, for they represent an important
French school. Of men who have made names for themselves there are many
whose statues are found in private collections. A very favourite one
is that of Robert Burns, whose colossal statue was erected at Ayr on
the occasion of the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the poet's
birth. Burns is reported to have said on his deathbed: "They'll think
mair o' me a hundred years after I am dead," a truism none will deny.

[Illustration: FIG. 63.--BRONZE STAG, BY BARYE.]



XIII

ORIENTAL
BRONZES
AND
BRASSES



CHAPTER XIII

ORIENTAL BRONZES AND BRASSES

      Countries of origin--How some Oriental curios are derived--A
      wealth of metal on view--Various Indian wares--Chinese and
      Japanese art.


Under the somewhat generic term "Oriental" we class those numerous
bronzes and other art treasures which come to us from the East and the
Far East. Early in the mediæval days Eastern influence dominated the
craftsmen of Europe, and many of those who took part in the Crusades,
and later in adventurous journeys into the northern part of Africa,
bordering upon the Great Sea, brought back to their Western homes
curios which were undoubtedly Oriental in their design.


Countries of Origin.

A collection of copper and brass to be at all representative must be
varied and cosmopolitan in selection. Such a collection should include
vessels of utility and ornamental objects which show the aims of the
artist who designed them. Incidentally, too, such objects exhibit the
sameness of purpose existing in many lands; although the methods of
domestic procedure and the ways of living vary until their common
origin is scarcely recognizable. In such a collection of domestic
curios the influence of Saracenic art is seen in the ewers and basins
and similar vessels which come from the lands where the wild Arab
tribes lived for centuries in an almost barbarous state on the edge of
the Syrian desert. Many of these quaint hammered copper vessels are of
barbaric beauty, such as, for instance, the coffee-pot shown in Fig. 64
and the basin in Fig. 65.

There are some pleasing customs savouring of patriarchal days still
practised by Arab races. Such, for instance, when the sheik has
finished his morning meal he throws a stone into his brass or copper
coffee-pot as a sign to his followers to strike camp.

    "Awake, for morning, in the bowl of night,
    Has flung the stone which puts the stars to flight,
    And, ho! the hunter of the East has caught the Sultan's
      turritt in a noose of light."

[Illustration: FIG. 64.--COFFEE-POT OF HAMMERED COPPER FROM SYRIA.]

The Arab metal-work is generally covered over with characteristic
designs and distinctive styles. Equally characteristic is the finely
engraved ornament on many small brass objects made by Arab craftsmen.
This is exemplified in the small and beautifully engraved brass writing
boxes which were once a feature among the educated scribes of Arab
fame. One such case is to be seen in the British Museum, the work of
Mahmud, son of Souker, of Bagdad, made in 1281. The style is said
by experts to combine the art motives of Mesapotamia and Egypt,
which in the thirteenth century very naturally met in Syria. Another
distinctive style is noticeable in the art of the metal-workers of
the Mameluke dynasty of Egypt; their arabesques showed more realistic
foliage than the Arab decorations of an earlier date.

Antiquaries always turn quite naturally to Egypt, that land with such
a great past, when seeking for inspiration from the great monuments
which are masterpieces of art--in bronze and stone. These they find
there it is true, but the more important pieces of metal-work of that
early period are found in Assyria, from whence came ponderous gates of
brass, covered with the remains of delicate tracery and inscriptions.
Such works of ancient art are rightly given places of prominence in
our museums; the private collector, however, is generally content
with the lesser bronze antiquities of Egypt which he can _collect_.
These include mirrors and many small articles for the toilet and some
delightful domestic bronzes. Among them are charming little ewers with
long projecting spouts and curiously wrought curved handles ornamented
with masks and shells.

The curios which reach us from Cairo are mostly in strict accordance
with Egyptian characteristics. The earlier examples are representative
of the art of Northern Egypt as it was expressed by the metal-workers
between the thirteenth and eighteenth centuries, throughout which there
does not appear to have been any great divergence of style, although
when objects known to have been made during the earlier part of
that period, and others fashioned during the later, the progress and
development, although it had been slow, is very noticeable. There are
also some traces of outside influences. In Fig. 10 there is an early
lamp of brass in the form of a bird, inlaid with copper, an example
placed in the thirteenth century. Quite different is the late example
(eighteenth century) given in Fig. 64, which is a coffee-pot with
a bucket handle and another small handle at the back; the spout is
roughly worked with corrugations and quatrefoils, on the five bosses
being the marks adopted by the owner of the shop in Cairo where it was
used.

Reference has already been made to the influence of Saracenic art
upon metal-workers in places where the Saracens came in contact with
the craftsmen. As indicative of this feature the fine large brass
basin illustrated in Fig. 65 is shown. Some portions of the bowl have
evidently been filled in with silver. There are other objects such as
bowls, dishes, and ewers showing similar decorations, many of which may
be seen along with this example in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The Saracens seem to have had some influence upon what are usually
regarded as European articles; thus in a collection of old bronze
mortars there are sometimes examples from countries in the South of
Europe which show in their designs these characteristics. The mortar
had, of course, a very general use, and was needed everywhere in days
when so many compounds were prepared by hand labour.

[Illustration: FIG. 65.--SARACENIC DECORATED BRASS BASIN.

(_In the Victoria and Albert Museum._)]

Persian art is peculiarly specialistic in its treatment. The designs
used by the metal-workers in that country from quite early days were
emblematic and of an all-over conventional type, often interwoven with
scenes. Even many of the common vessels, like bowls and covers and
saucers of brass, are cleverly chased with hunting scenes and floral
attributes, many of the cups being covered with arabesque ornament.

Some of the brass egg-shaped hooker bases are chased in relief; the
mounts of the rose-water ewers--which are often of china, with metal
linings for holding ice--are frequently decorative. In many instances
the vessels are ornamented with coloured inlays, giving them peculiar
colour effects. Damascus--always an important seat of metal-work--has
supplied collectors from many countries with the beautifully incised
ornament produced by filling in the cut spaces with fine gold or silver
wire beaten into the brass and then polished. So important has this
mode of giving relief become that damascened metal stands alone as an
art, seen at its best in the wonderful armour of the later period,
when the utility of plate armour was giving way to the ornament which
embellished the State armour--the "dress suits" of the regimentals of
the Stuart days.


How some Oriental Curios are Derived.

It is useful at times to consider how the curios we collect have
gradually accumulated, and thus to ascertain how they have been secured
in the past; and from that we are enabled to form some estimate of
further supplies, for the law of supply and demand regulates to some
extent the market value of curios; it has something to do with the
direction taken by curio-hunters.

Many curios have come into this country as the result of war and loot.
Wars in the Far East have served the collector, and many choice bits
of metal-work have changed hands at nominal sums after the return of
troops employed in minor wars and punitive expeditions. Our vast Indian
Empire, however, supplies many beautiful objects in metal, both ancient
and of comparatively recent days, but even those are so quaint and so
unlike the common objects of British make with which we are familiar
that they are welcomed and find a fitting place among antique copper
and brass.

To understand the curios which may be bought in Eastern bazaars,
and more conveniently in the numerous stores and shops where Indian
curios are sold, it is well to become acquainted with a really good
representative collection, such as that which may be examined in the
Indian Museum at South Kensington. In several galleries, arranged in
cases according to the districts from which the specimens have been
gathered, are to be found metal-work ranging from the sixteenth century
to the present day. Although some of these are exceptional pieces,
by far the larger number are helpful to the collector of even modest
means in that they represent Indian curios which may be collected at
trifling cost. Such objects, however, are unfortunately too often
intermixed with modern castings and copies offered unblushingly by
the dealer to the unwary. Among such curios from Indian bazaars,
purchased by travellers to the less frequented districts, are very
many cooking utensils. Some of these, although not very old, are
quaint and unlike modern European vessels, for the native cooks have
been slow to accept any change in their methods of cooking and do not
take kindly to the use of Western types of culinary appliances. The
Indian cook clings tenaciously to copper vessels, and notwithstanding
attempts to introduce vessels of tin, aluminium, and enamelled ware,
the old "chattie" is again and again brought out in preference. Most
of the vessels are of primitive types, but they serve the purpose
and the material is good and lasting. The native workers understand
the requirements of Indian men and women, and can shape and hammer
together just what they have for generations regarded as "the best."
Clever indeed have been the native braziers in the past--and they still
are--for they possess in addition to knowledge of coppersmithing an
excellent knowledge of the composition and working qualities of the
materials they employ. They understand something of the chemistry of
metals, and are careful when melting copper in the furnace or over the
fire not to overheat it, or to allow the metal to perish in processes
of manufacture.


A Wealth of Metal on View.

The collection of Asiatic metal-work where specimens from
different countries, made at various periods, can be compared is,
_par excellence_, that in the Indian Museum (the best examples of
richly wrought damascened armour and arms are found in the Wallace
Collection and at the Tower). The visitor on entering is at once
absorbed in admiring Indian curiosities, especially the products of
native craftsmen. In the vestibule are many remarkable exhibits, the
work of Nepal metal-workers. Most of them were gifts to King George
and Queen Mary when they visited India on the occasion of the great
Coronation Durbar at Delhi. Some of the larger pieces were the gift
of the Maharajah and Prime Minister of Nepal. Very wonderful is their
workmanship, especially that of the brass groups so true to life.
One of these represents a hunting elephant, fully equipped, with
attendants; others, too, are associated with sports and hunting scenes.
There are emblems of demons and the evil spirits which are so fully
believed in by native dwellers on the borders of the forest.

Temple vessels are abundant, and among them are monsters and other
fabulous creatures, and numbers of masks, notably those representing
the fierce Dragpo fiend Tamdin (see Chapter XIV). There are some fine
temple sets, and two magnificent conventional lions (temple guardians).
There is also a very interesting brass group of natives occupied in
various ways, one, for instance, carrying a package on his shoulder
illustrating the method of relieving the weight of the bundle by a
forehead strap, by which means natives are enabled to sustain the
strain.

[Illustration: FIG. 66.--JAPANESE KETTLE (_YUWAKASHI_).]

[Illustration: FIG. 67.--PAIR OF VASES OF RED-BROWN COPPER, RELIEVED
WITH BLACK LAC, FROM MORADABAD.

(_In the author's collection._)]

So intricate are many of these cleverly modelled groups that it is
not always easy to understand how they have been cast. Especially
remarkable is the founding of the figure groups produced by the natives
of the Patan district of Nepal. In most cases they accomplished their
task by the _circe perdu_ process (see Glossary), which enables them to
cast even the most delicate groups.

Some very interesting wares in metal are obtained from Moradabad;
they are smooth and beautifully finished, made of brass, and partly
tinned. The more decorative pieces are of the early nineteenth
century, and include such objects as plates, water-jars, tumblers,
and sugar-pots and covers. From Lucknow some fine trays are secured;
and many beautiful brass ewers, bowls, and basins have been obtained
from Haidarabad, where not only comparatively modern but early
eighteenth-century brasswork is to be found. Some of these have a
pleasing effect when polished, the design or pattern upon them being
inlaid with copper on a brass foundation and then polished.


Various Indian Wares.

There is an Indian ware known as _bidri_, beautifully damascened
in gold on a brass and copper base, chiefly made in the villages
round Lucknow and Deccan from the seventeenth century onwards. The
peculiarity of these objects is that they are distinctly black and
white, the metal consisting of an alloy of zinc, copper, and lead
afterwards damascened with silver which is finally blackened by
pickling. A favourite curio is a Betel-nut box and cover; there are
also spice boxes and objects intended for the base of a water-pipe.
Many of the choice curios from Kashmir in Northern India are mostly
of a dark red-brown copper, and are frequently incised and inlaid
with lac. Among them are domestic vessels, the most commonly met with
being the coffee-pot (_Kafijosh_). In one famous collection there
is a curious boat-shaped alms-bowl of copper, chased with a running
ornament, a design frequently employed in the eighteenth century. There
are some interesting Mogul brasses, among which are washhand basins. In
these, too, the decorations are frequently filled in with black lac.
Very different are the brass and copper objects from the Punjab. Some
of pure copper are inlaid with black lac, others are of copper-gilt,
looking in the sunlight like burnished gold. Some are of brass; among
the older objects of special interest being charcoal burners of fine
brass with dome-shaped covers. From the Punjab come copper toilet
boxes, which are usually fitted with locks terminating in the form of
a conventional lotus. One of the most curious treasures in the Indian
Museum secured from that district is a "black" cup, made of a metal
composed of quicksilver and copper, a metallic compound supposed to
give a digestive virtue to any liquid drank out of it.

The variety of metal objects from Nepal is considerable. There are
articles of home decoration and usefulness, including charming toilet
sundries. Among the lamps are many weird forms, a favourite being a
lamp designed like a peacock's tail supported by a lion. There are
inkpots of symbolical forms with figures of Ganasa, the Hindoo god of
wisdom. There are also many decorative water-bottles and vases and
beautifully formed tazzas; as well as charming toilet boxes with raised
diaper ornament and conventional patterns.

From Madras come bowls and water-bottles and many delightful trinket
boxes, some shaped like fishes, others of bird-like forms. Some of
these were intended for use as receptacles for antimony salve, which is
so much used in India for the eyes. Among the more modern curios made
during the latter half of the nineteenth century are spun and turned
brasswork, especially vases and bowls. Travancore is also famous for
its artists in metal, and especially for their beautiful decorative
brass pots with curious spouts and drinking cups.

The little bullock bells are characteristic of many parts of India,
some being prettily ornamented and of sweet tinkling sounds. From
Southern India there are Betel-nut cutters of unusual forms, and quite
a variety of metal bowls, some being shaped like a pumpkin. From the
same district come highly decorative copper plaques and brass salvers
as well as water vessels.

The lamps from India are of equal interest to those met with among
the antiquities of similar types from other countries. Those of more
recent date, the work of baptized natives, have for the chief ornament
emblems of the Christian religion instead of those associated with idol
worship; although in some instances the cross is flanked on either
side with the sun and moon, reminding us of the more ancient pagan
religions.

Many parts of India are noted for beautiful inlaid lac, much of which
is extremely decorative; the vases illustrated in Fig. 67 came from
Moradabad; they are of red-brown copper relieved with black lac.
Haidarabad is also noted for such wares, in some instances red as
well as black lac being used in the decorations, which are chiefly of
conventional form.

The brasswork of Benares is well known, and it is still one of the
most important features in present-day Oriental bazaars and shops. The
modern work, however, rarely comes up to the old, for in olden time
great care was taken in producing varied forms and correct ornament
in decoration, the chief features of the Benares brasswork being the
series of ten incarnations of Vishnu, represented so often on trays,
bowls, and smaller vessels, such, for instance, as spice boxes and
perfume holders, and receptacles for pulverized sandal-wood.

The native princes of India have always been accustomed to State
ceremonial, and among the curious objects from that country are symbols
of office, some of the maces being beautifully damascened with gold.
The ceremonial and State swords formerly carried by the princes are
museum curios of value, especially those around which the memories
of historical events cluster, such as the gauntlet-sword of brass,
the hilt in the form of a tiger's head, which formerly belonged to
Ruggoneth Sookul, who saved Captain Gordon's life during the Indian
Mutiny in 1857.

As it has been suggested wars with Oriental potentates and the
annexation of lands which had previously been under British protection
have from time to time enriched national as well as private
collections. Many of the trophies of war are unique and do not exist in
duplicate. In the Indian Museum there are many such objects, notably
the one-time regalia of the Kings of Burma; at South Kensington, too,
there is a massive bowl of brass on which is engraved in picture
characters the story of the history of China as related by Confucius,
and transcribed by his pupil Tso, five hundred years before the
Christian era.

Lamaistic temple curios are referred to in another chapter. These,
however, do not exhaust the metal-work from Thibet. Indeed, many of
the minor objects, especially those of a domestic character, are very
pleasing. The vessels used in making tea in Thibet differ from those
in China--the home of tea-drinking--in that the process of preparing
"the cup that cheers but not inebriates" is different. The ladies of
Thibet take the tea-leaves and grind them dry until they are of the
consistency of a fine powder, using a brass mortar for the purpose.
They then put the powdered tea into a kettle, and allow it to boil for
about five minutes. The liquid is afterwards poured through a strainer
into a tea-urn, and a little butter and barley flour are added. This
compound, after being vigorously churned up, is poured from the urn
of wrought copper into teapots, where it is allowed to settle before
it is served up in small brass bowls. Ladles are used for the purpose
of taking the tea from the urn, for it has no tap, being simply a
two-handled jar with a cover.

Some interesting curios are derived from Ceylon, especially those
utensils made by the Sinhalese, who, it will be remembered, emigrated
there from Bengal in the sixth century. The chief copper-workers in the
island are the Veddahs, an aboriginal tribe of the interior closely
allied to the Sinhalese. Their work includes copper and brass on which
is very beautiful repoussé decoration. Buddhist influence has always
been strong in Ceylon, and it is conspicuous in much of the decoration
of the more important metal-work.

Ceylon casters have turned out some fine bells and many heavy bronze
lamps. The lesser objects, which are varied, include brass boxes in
which the lime for Betel chewing was kept. Some of these are circular,
and others are pear-shaped, many being incised and inlaid with the more
precious metals. Betel-nut cutters, similar to those from other parts
of India, are among the collectable curios, those from Ceylon being
especially interesting, for they frequently take the form of animals or
of winged flying females. The objects enumerated do not by any means
exhaust the metal curios from India and Ceylon, but they are among
the chief features observable in a large collection, in the gathering
together of which many small trinkets and perhaps unique sundries will
be secured.


Chinese and Japanese Art.

To many the curios from China and Japan are more familiar than those
from India and British Asiatic possessions. The pottery and porcelain
of China have long been used in this country, and during recent
years other objects of a curious and antiquarian nature have been
imported in large quantities from both these ancient countries. In
shops and bazaars the metallic wares of China and Japan have been
much popularized too. That China has a great past and possessed a
civilization hundreds of years before similar conditions appertained
in Europe is well known. Collectors of the antique go back in their
search after specimens of bronze and other metals to those produced by
the artists of China in the Han Dynasty, which dates from B.C. 216. In
records of that period, concurrent with accounts of pottery, there are
well authenticated details of the metal cooking vessels then in common
use. There were utilitarian bronzes and many beautiful vases, some of
almost the same designs as the concurrent pottery. There were cooking
utensils not at all unlike the mediæval bronze pots of modern Europe;
their handles, however, were more decorative, often taking the form of
a dragon's head. The feet of these ancient cooking-pots were often like
lions' claws or eagles' talons. Among other relics of that period are
quadrangular wine jars, some of the rarer types being decorated with
fishes, in the drawing of which the Chinese artists of the Han Dynasty
were very clever. They used such decorations appropriately, too for
this was the ornament they chose on fish kettles.

A peculiarity of the metal-work of the Han period was the dark red
copper which seems to have been used concurrently with bronze. When
we note that some of the pottery was beautifully formed we can
quite understand that the bronzes were equally well shaped, for the
metal-workers would not be behind the potters in their craftmanship.
Some of the rarer bronze tazzas are also well shaped and have been
carefully moulded.

The chief curios coming into the hands of collectors are of a somewhat
later date than the Han Dynasty; but China moves on slowly, and there
does not appear to have been much advance or change for many centuries.
The metal-work made during what we term mediæval days in Europe was
often copied from familiar objects made of other materials. There is a
bronze vase made in the Sung Dynasty, fashioned in imitation of an old
jar tied up with rope, the ring handles being technically described as
"conventional heads applique"; this vessel measures 14-1/4 in. diameter
at the shoulder and stands 9-1/2 in. high. It is difficult to trace
where such pieces come from; it is, however, well known that many
have been looted from the temples; others, probably imitating older
examples, are mainly of nineteenth-century workmanship.

[Illustration: FIG. 68.--BRONZE FIGURE (ONE OF A PAIR) INLAID WITH
SILVER AND GOLD.

(_In the author's collection._)]

The metal-work which comes from Japan has reached us in great variety.
There has been no need for the traveller or collector to search the
island for curios to bring over to this country, for the commercial
instincts of a new race of Japanese merchants have poured out a
wealth of antiques, collected from the native villages; with these and
modern imitations they have gladly supplied the demand of the Western
world. In this way attention has been called to the products of that
country where craftsmen have gone on hammering copper and brass, and
inlaying the metal in highly decorated patterns in silver and gold for
so many years.

Reference has already been made to the rare temple pieces and sets
which have been looted or purchased from Asiatic countries, so many
of which are of rare cloissonné enamels. Some of these of Japanese
origin are mentioned in Chapter XIV. Of the minor bronzes, replicas of
temple relics, there are many beautiful koros or incense burners. Other
bronzes serve the purpose of ornament in the Western countries to which
they have found their way. In Fig. 68 is shown a beautiful bronze. The
sacred carp is inlaid with gold and silver and is exceptionally well
finished. The pair, of which it is one, came from Japan about thirty
years ago, and are of much finer workmanship than many of the more
modern replicas.

Household requisites as well as ornamental treasures have been made
with care by hammer and engraving tool into things of beauty as well
as usefulness. The household requirements of the Japanese are limited
in number, but in the entertainment of her friends the Japanese lady
is able to cause envy among her Western sisters because of the beauty
of her kettles and brazier. The kettle shown in Fig. 66 is one of
a toilet set of hammered brass, engraved with badges and foliage.
It was probably produced early in the nineteenth century, before
Western commercial ideas began to invade the workshops of Old Japan.
In conjunction with such kettles (the Japanese name of a kettle is
_yuwakashi_) metal bowls were used, the water being poured over the
hands of the fair Japanese and her guests by attendants, who also held
the bowl to catch the dropping water.

In Old Japan there was much patience as well as skill, and the methods
adopted by the artists of those days would be too tedious and expensive
now when the merchants buy and sell and compete in Western markets.
The processes by which the beautiful bronze objects were moulded took
time, and the incising and inlays could never be paid for in proper
proportion to the labour expended on them. The metals of which Japanese
bronzes were made consisted of curious alloys, the composition of
which was long kept a secret. One of their finest brasses is known as
_sinchu_, consisting of ten parts of copper and five of zinc. Another
very beautiful copper is called _shadko_, in which splendid hues are
imparted by the treatment of acids; in this alloy there is one part of
gold to ten of copper, to which is attributable the splendid colouring
of the so-called bronze. Older methods, however, are gradually giving
way to more economic production on Western plans and formulæ, so that
in time perhaps the Eastern and Oriental influence and characteristics
of Asiatic bronzes, so charming and so much appreciated by collectors,
may diminish if not disappear altogether.



XIV

IDOLS
AND
TEMPLE
RELICS

[Illustration: INDIAN IDOLS.

FIG. 69.--AMIDA.

FIG. 70.--A "BLUE" TARA.

FIG. 71.--AMITAYUS.

FIG. 72.--VAJRA DHARMA.

FIG. 73.--AMITAYUS.]



CHAPTER XIV

IDOLS AND TEMPLE RELICS

      Varied shrines and many idols--Indian idols--Temple vases and
      ornaments.


There are some who hold it to be a wicked thing to loot the temple of
a heathen deity, and regard it as sacrilege to ruthlessly tear down
the idol from its shrine. Others glory in an opportunity of proving
the powerlessness of the man-created idol to save the temple from ruin
and desecration. Yet there are many who recognize in these idols of
wood, stone, and metal, emblems and symbols of ancient faiths in which
there may be a greater reality, and, for all we can tell, potency, to
those who look beyond the mere shrine, than appears at first sight.
Notwithstanding all that, the multiplicity of gods and the number
of so-called deities make many sceptical about the worship of their
devotees, and there are few who feel much compunction when adding such
objects as metal idols to their curios--when they are able to secure
them honestly.


Varied Shrines and Many Idols.

Needless to say the faiths of those who worship "unknown gods," from
whatever source they may have come, differ. The very uncertainty of the
religions, which admit of varied deities, has fostered the increase of
ceremonies and the change in rites, which, added to local folk-lore and
myths which have gained in the telling, have caused new idols to be
set up. It was so in pagan Greece and Rome, and it is the same in some
parts of the world to-day. To these causes we may attribute the number
of idols of different types, or the same idols represented with other
attributes, which the collector of metal meets with. There is a strange
fascination about the stories of pagan and heathen deities and their
influence over men, and to obtain the full interest and delight from
such a specialized collection the collector must become a student of
Eastern and other religions and priestcraft.

The temples in which religious rites have been, and in some instances
are still, observed, vary in importance just as the associations
around the cathedrals and ruined abbeys in our own land differ from
those almost absent in the more recently erected churches. The wealthy
Indian, not unnaturally, employed artificers in brass to make models
of the great shrines, and some of these rare works of metallic art are
to be seen in the Indian Museum. Several are of eighteenth-century
workmanship, among them beautifully modelled temples of Krishna.
Incidentally it may be mentioned that secular buildings have been
reproduced too; notably there is a very fine model of the Palace of the
Winds at Jaypore, Rajputana, which was presented by the Maharajah of
Jaypore.

[Illustration: FIG. 74.--JAPANESE PRICKET CANDLESTICK IN THE FORM OF
CRANE AND TORTOISE.

(_In the Victoria and Albert Museum._)]

Some may regard the collection of idols as a curious hobby; others
possibly see in them only art treasures to be valued for their
intrinsic worth, for many idols are enriched with precious stones and
jewels and are overlaid with gold and silver. Such objects occupy
a different place from the cruder idols of wood and stone, cut and
carved by savage races. We can well understand that the refined worker
in metals spared no pains to make his idol or fetish beautiful and
something to be admired.


Indian Idols.

Of Indian idols there are many: Buddha is so widely held in esteem that
it is no wonder that so many representations, varying in size, have
been produced. The favourite position, known as the "Witness" attitude,
is that with which collectors are most familiar.

Indian idols are of many forms, among the commoner varieties being
those of Vishnu, Lakshmi the wife of Vishnu, and Siva. Many images of
copper, afterwards gilt, come from Thibet and Nepal. The curiosities
associated with the Lamaist worship have become familiar of late years.
One of the representations of Amida, holding in her hand the teppattsu,
is shown in Fig. 69. A "blue" Tara is illustrated in Fig. 70; Amitayus
is shown in Fig. 71; and Fig. 72 represents Vajra Dharma holding the
dorge. In Fig. 73 Amitayus is again shown holding the reliquary and
wearing a jewelled collar. An interesting Lamaist altar ornament is a
copper skull bowl, used as a receptacle for the sacred beer or wine
of life. There are also Thibetian holy water jugs, beautifully inlaid
with silver. In the Victoria and Albert Museum may be seen a colossal
Buddha (Daibutsu) of sixteenth-century workmanship, which came from a
Japanese temple. Appropriately placed close to it is a massive pair
of lanterns of bronze, which were originally a gift to the temple of
Miyoshino-tenjin by the feudal lord of the district. Most of these
temple relics--idols and ornaments--were made of a special alloy known
in Japan as _Kara kane_, which means Chinese metal, from which it may
be inferred that this alloy was known and employed in China before it
came into general use in Japan.


Temple Vases and Ornaments.

The mystical beliefs of China are chiefly Buddhism, Confucianism, and
Taoism, to which should be added ancestor worship, and in connection
with all of them there are special objects of veneration, which we
group together under the somewhat generic term of "temple relics."

[Illustration: FIG. 75.--JAPANESE RITUAL VASE.

FIG. 76.--SMALL TWO-HANDLED RITUAL VASE.

FIG. 77.--CIRCULAR VASE ON STAND.]

From Japan as well as China we get many fine temple sets. Whence come
they? some may ask. Perhaps they have been discarded because they have
been replaced with newer or more elaborate ornaments, although they
may have been obtained through the cupidity of some of the temple
attendants. From whatever sources they came there are numerous examples
in the London curio-shops and in our museums. The crane and tortoise
have long been held in veneration in Japan. The tortoise especially
is frequently found on old Chinese pottery and metal-work, as
well as being fashioned in Corea and Japan. In Fig. 74 there is a
Japanese pricket candlestick, in the form of a crane and tortoise, of
eighteenth-century workmanship, and it evidently formed one of a set
of five altar pieces. Some of the altar sets gave special prominence
to two flower vases as part of the set, of somewhat later style of
decoration to Fig. 90; it was probably made early in the nineteenth
century. This vase was formerly used in a set in which a figure of
Buddha occupied the centre. It was a common practice to hang over the
Buddhist altars lamps, many of which are to be seen in our museums.
In Fig. 75 is shown a Japanese ritual vase, intended for wine (_hu_);
it is of square shape, with cover of Kwei and dragon pattern, animal
feet and bosses on the shoulders, and bird-shaped arris on the lid,
the inside of which is inscribed with twelve characters; the patina of
this vessel ranges from deep brown to bright malachite-green. Fig. 76
is a smaller ritual vessel, with two handles at the shoulder and one
meander band and knob. The vase shown in Fig. 77, with dragon handles,
a beautifully patinated specimen, shading from brown to red with
green accretions, is a ritual _tsui_ or vase for offering corn. These
remarkable relics formed part of a large collection dispersed recently
at a well-known London salesroom. Now and then less important pieces
come under the hammer, and it is by no means difficult to secure for
a small outlay an excellent representative collection of these deeply
interesting objects associated with idol worship.



XV

NATIVE
METAL-WORK



CHAPTER XV

NATIVE METAL-WORK

      Outside influences--Benin bronzes--Other African curios.


There are few collections of copper and brass without a fair sprinkling
of curiously formed and often crude objects which we class under the
generic term "native curios." There is much that is of extreme interest
in the work of the smiths and founders of races possessing but little
apparent touch with civilized nations; for such metal objects are true
guides to the state of the advancement of the peoples of the countries
from which such curios come. We delight in the art of early Eastern
nations, and find much to admire in the almost barbaric ornament of
Asiatic metal-workers of mediæval and even later days, as counted
by the progress made by European artists at contemporary dates. The
marvellous skill with which the natives of India and other Asiatic
countries incised and inlaid their metal wares has already been pointed
out. There is, however, an especial charm about the metal-work of
nations we are apt to class as "savage," or at least untutored, if
not uncivilized. And we would not have it otherwise, for it is from
these curios--metal and of other materials--that we are enabled to
trace the influences of other countries with whom those races or tribes
have had dealings in the past. We are to some extent able from these
antiquities to connect the links in the chain of nations, and from the
characteristics of their art (?) to settle their origin and affinity to
other races.


Outside Influences.

The Ethnological Gallery of the British Museum is one of the finest
instructors. The silent exhibits tell the observant man or woman,
boy or girl, much that cannot be learned from book knowledge. In
the cases in that gallery are many objects fashioned by peoples who
until recently were in their Stone Age, and had no knowledge of the
outer world. There are some who from the curios--old and new--have
apparently, until taught their use by travellers and traders from the
far-off West, never discovered the value of metals. Some of the native
races--not a few of them fellow-subjects of the Empire--as yet prefer
wood, stone, and crude pottery vessels and utensils to metal, judging
from the very limited use of the few brass or copper objects they
possess, those few, probably, being imported. The ethnology of the race
is traced in these relics, especially in the really old ones. In a
few instances by way of contrast, metal objects, although so limited,
are conspicuous. They are chiefly confined to the native countries
brought under the influence of more advanced peoples; as instanced by
the work of the Sinhalese, the natives of Ceylon, who early came into
touch with the metal-workers of India. Another native race by their
wealth of rare metallic curios, the art of producing which they have
lost, are shown to be a people with a past; thus it is with the tribes
of Southern Nigeria in and around Benin City. On the occasion of its
capture by the British in 1897, it was found to possess a remarkable
store of wonderful bronzes, evidently of the sixteenth or seventeenth
centuries. In these and other native curios the collector revels, and
in their study finds history, geography, and even the folk-lore of
nations revealed; for in such curios there are stories in brass of
social life, religious functions, ceremonies, and sacrifices.


The Benin Bronzes.

A few years ago very many bronzes (nearly pure copper) were sold
under the hammer. They were looted from Benin City during the war
which ended in the country in and around the city being taken by the
British troops, and eventually incorporated in Southern Nigeria. These
wonderful bronzes throw a light upon the history of that country, and
tell of a powerful nation far advanced in the art of modelling and
casting metals long before they had come into close touch with Western
influence. This remarkable people who possessed so much wealth in
copper and in ivory have long gone; their descendants or the tribes
occupying their city have no knowledge of the craft, and apparently
retained these relics of barbaric splendour with silent awe. The
entire series of bronze panels from which the figures so cleverly
stand out in bold relief, must have presented a wonderful sight to the
British soldiers as they entered Benin. The collection in the British
Museum was sent home to this country by Sir Ralph Moor, K.C.M.G., H.M.
Commissioner and Consul-General for the Niger Coast Protectorate. It
is impossible to describe their beauty or the details of the elaborate
modelling of the dress, arms, and costumes of the Benin king and his
chiefs and officers as they existed in the sixteenth century. There
is a model of the king's house, his attendant guards, high officials,
a sword-bearer, and another bearing a ceremonial axe. Some of the
bronzes represent musicians playing various instruments, and others
performing all kinds of functions. The bronze panels of fishes and
animals are very lifelike, especially bulls, crocodiles, and the heads
of oxen, even the twisted cords with which the animals were tethered
being correctly modelled. The bronzes representing Europeans are
exceptionally valuable in that from the costumes portrayed the date
of those bronzes has been fixed, approximately. The matchlocks and
flint-guns are reproduced with the greatest exactitude, as also the
Egyptian figures, copied presumably from the remains of Ancient Egypt,
with which these metal-workers were evidently familiar.

In addition to the panels of copper, which show marks of how they
were attached to the walls, were bronze masks or warriors' heads
which served as stands for the splendidly carved tusks of ivory also
discovered when the expedition visited that country. There are many
minor objects in bronze which show that this remarkable civilization,
now lost, was far advanced in the arts.

As it has been suggested Benin relics are not entirely confined to
museum specimens, and collectors are not without opportunities of
securing pieces.

Many of the early tribes of Africa had knowledge of metal-working,
although some have lost or neglected to practice it.


Other African Curios.

Some metal curios were included in the trophies brought to this country
at the time of the Ashanti Expedition, among the rare regal metal-work
being an old brass vase, with repoussé decorations and a copper dragon
handle. It was discovered behind the house of King Prempeh's aunt,
who had been acting as Regent. Another curio discovered in the same
district was a brass box containing gold dust. Bells, too, have been
brought from Ashanti; one in the British Museum is the executioner's
bell, which was rang prior to an execution.

There are many bronzes from Southern Nigeria, especially some curious
ornaments worn by the women. Some of these are veritable antiques and
were found buried; many are finely patinated and heavy. Some of the
bangles are beautifully formed and highly decorated with inlaid enamels.

Some very interesting brass castings come from Lagos, not at all unlike
the Benin modelling, except that they are in brass instead of pure
copper. They include figures of natives, some on horseback, others
in the act of shooting with guns. There are brass staves of office
carried as symbols of authority by the messengers of the Oshogbo, a
native secret society; and there are spoons, knives and other domestic
sundries, as well as armlets and anklets of copper and brass.

From north-east Central Africa we get a little metal-work, some of the
head-dress ornaments being enriched with circular brass plates, on
which are repoussé decorations. Among the curios from this district
in the British Museum are several exceptional pieces, one being a
head-dress or helmet of brass with circular brass ornaments.

The knives used in ceremonials are often very handsome. There is a fine
executioner's knife from north-east Central Africa, with brass studs
all over the wood handle. Another chief's knife, which came from near
the Stanley Falls, is decorated with strips of copper and brass.

The metal castings from Central Sudan, representing ostriches,
giraffes, and camels, are cleverly done, and with bangles and anklets
make up an interesting group.

It is curious how valuable finds are sometimes made many miles from the
locality where the object was made. It is the same in our own country,
for we dig and find a bronze from ancient Rome, brought over by the
conquering armies of the Romans when Britain was brought under the
Imperial sway. Our armies have probably left relics behind them in the
past as in the present, for it is no uncommon thing for reminders of
the Crusaders and others to be found even in Africa. One of the most
remarkable finds was a large bronze jug and cover now in the British
Museum; on it are the arms of Richard II of England, and two mottoes in
Lombardic letters: "HE THAT WILL NOT SPARE WHEN HE MAY, HE SHALL NOT
SPEND WHEN HE WOULD" is one; the other reads: "DEEM THE BEST IN EVERY
DOUBT TILL THE TRUTH BE TRIED OUT." This splendid jug was found in
Ashanti; the date of its manufacture was about A.D. 1400.

The South African curios in brass are very limited; they consist
chiefly of collars and armlets worn by the women of Basutoland and
Bechuanaland, and by the Kaffir women who have also girdles of brass
cleverly formed.

Although by no means numerous and of limited variety, a few objects of
native workmanship are worth securing if only to compare the way in
which natural ingenuity has at different times helped the craftsman and
enabled him to work even metals without any instructions from nations
more advanced in their use.



XVI

CONTINENTAL
COPPER
AND BRASS

[Illustration: FIG. 78.--BRONZE OVIFORM EWER.]

[Illustration: FIG. 79.--BRASS EWER WITH ARTISTIC HANDLE.]



CHAPTER XVI

CONTINENTAL COPPER AND BRASS

      Italian bronzes--French art--Dutch brasswork--German metal-work.


The Italian renaissance in art exercised such a wide influence upon
manufactured goods in this and other countries that the collector of
antiques naturally turns to the achievements of the artists in metal
who worked in Florence and Rome for the highest ideals he can seek. In
this he is not disappointed, for just as the connoisseur of ancient art
finds his delight in the bronzes of Greece and Rome, the collector of
more modern art sees grace and beauty combined with skilful grouping
in Italian craftsmanship. European influence has been brought to
bear upon the metal-work of the world at different times, but it
has not always come from the same country. At different periods the
metal-workers of certain localities appear to have made their peculiar
characteristics take precedence of others. In most of the European
countries quite distinct styles and even unique treatment of metals
have been noticeable; so much so that our museums to-day contain
groups of metal-work having little or no affinity to one another,
although coming, perhaps, from towns not far removed in point of
geographical position. The collector recognizes as distinct the bronzes
of Italy; the screens, candlesticks, and ecclesiastical metal-work
of Spain; the beaten bronze, champlevé enamels, and the decorative
brass of the Empire period of France; the eighteenth-century Dutch
brasswork; the metal forged and cast in Germany, and the decorative
copper and brass of Turkey showing such distinctly Oriental influence
in Saracenic touch. To study all these rival styles at their best the
collector, however large his private collection, must perforce visit
either one of the more important Continental museums or the Victoria
and Albert Museum at South Kensington, where so many cases are filled
with Continental works of art in gold, silver, and the baser metals.
Local museums rarely possess a selection large enough for comparative
purposes. The loan exhibits from the national collection, carefully
selected as representative specimens, are very helpful, and many such
loan cases strengthen local exhibits and add interest to them. In the
United States of America public museums are well arranged with the view
of showing the metal-work of different countries at varied periods, and
many of them are peculiarly rich in exhibits of domestic metal-work
which was taken over in the early days from Europe.

As a guide to curators and others wishful to secure the right kind of
exhibits it may be useful to mention the contents of a case on view at
a South coast town public library recently. There were some beautiful
Italian bronzes of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, a damascened
candlestick from Venice, a Florentine statuette, a handsome cabinet
handle chased with foliated ornament, a bronze mask of Pan, a table
lamp stand with winged lions at the base, and a handsome ewer, the body
of which was ornamented with foliage, around it figures representing
the triumph of Bacchus, a typical seventeenth-century specimen. Among
the minor objects in that case were vases from many countries, door
knockers, and a few examples of Dutch metal-work, decorative and
artistic.


Italian Bronzes.

The metal-workers from the sixth to the tenth centuries, when so
many decorative bronzes were being made for St. Peter's and Italian
churches, derived their inspirations from Byzantium, hence those
early works were often inlaid with silver and gold, and were quite
different from those of later date. Art developed, and gradually a more
distinctive character was given to the bronze gates and candelabra
which were made with such consummate skill. One of the greatest
triumphs of that period was the great candelabrum in Milan Cathedral,
wrought in the thirteenth century. Its height is 14 ft., and it has
seven branches for candles, the stem being supported by four winged
dragons. It is one mass of marvellous scrollwork, relieved by the
introduction of figures, each one of which is perfect in itself--a
study of expression and character. Casts of these remarkable pieces of
metal-work may be seen at South Kensington.

In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the Florentine artists
worked. It was then that statues in bronze were sculptured by
Verrocchio, Donatello, and others. A century later the wonderful
candlesticks in the Certosa, near Pavia, and in the cathedral at Padua,
were made. It was about that time that Venetian metal-workers were
fashioning so much that was beautiful in domestic utensils and the
minor church ornaments.

From that time onward collectable brasses were made, and after long
years of use they passed into the category of antiques, rendered
beautiful by their artistic merits, and possibly by the touch of age.
Even then there was an Oriental look about many of the designs, but
it seldom intrudes, and does not spoil the effect of the forms and
style so clearly Venetian. Such vessels were chiefly made for the then
wealthy merchants of the city, and often their arms were incorporated
into the design. Fig. 78 is a bronze oviform ewer made in Venice about
1530. Another beautiful vase is shown in Fig. 79. Other objects much
favoured were candlesticks, hand-warmers, and perfume sprinklers, to
which must be added the more strictly utilitarian.

The Spanish metal-workers do not appear to have developed a very
well-defined school of metallic art of their own. They were especially
noted for their highly ornamental jewellery; in the common metals they
were influenced by Italy, and to some extent Germany. It is said that
the finest piece of work accomplished in the country was the great
sixteenth-century candelabrum or _tenebrarium_ in Seville Cathedral,
the work of Bart. Morel in 1562.


French Art.

Connoisseurs of the fine arts naturally regard enamels of Limoges as
the greatest achievements of the country (see Chapter XVIII). There is,
however, much to admire in the early unadorned metal-work, especially
that made in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries--effigies in
beaten copper, some portions of which were usually adorned by coloured
"champlevé" enamel. They were afterwards desired by Englishmen, and
some good examples of "imported" effigies are to be seen, a notable
example being one on the tomb of William de Valence in Westminster
Abbey, erected about 1296. Of domestic metal-work there are not many
early pieces. In Fig. 82 is shown a cup or ewer of brass with artistic
handle and spout ornamented with a grotesque mouth; the date assigned
to it is 1570. It may be seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum, where
also is deposited a fine seventeenth-century ewer or tankard with plain
cylindrical body and a deep and long spout with fancy handle (see Fig.
81). There is also a trumpet of brass, dated 1738, in the same gallery;
it has upon it the owner's monogram, "S.M.A.," ensigned with a count's
coronet and crest.


Dutch Brasswork.

The brasswork from Holland, largely imported into this country at the
commencement of the eighteenth century, although decorative, cannot
be claimed as artistic. Most of the objects are strictly utilitarian,
and the ornament stiff and formal; they were hammered by hand, an
effective finish being made by small punches, repoussé work being
occasionally added. Fig. 80, which represents one of the larger pieces,
illustrates a highly ornamental cistern with cover and tap. Its shape
is semicircular, a dome-shaped back acting as a hanger; that as well
as the perforated grille under the cistern being ornamented. The chief
ornament consists of star devices, the points of which are united
together by curved lines composed of small straight indentations. In
the Victoria and Albert Museum there is a Dutch foot-warmer, the sides
of which are ornamented with repoussé panels of flowers and circular
bosses; in the centre of the top, which is slightly curved, is a
medallion engraved "I.W.H.M. 1733," surrounded by open-work decoration
and floral scrolls arranged in geometrical patterns, on either side of
which are birds.

[Illustration: FIG. 80.--DUTCH ORNAMENTAL BRASS CISTERN.]

[Illustration: FIG. 81.--FRENCH EWER OR TANKARD WITH FANCY HANDLE.

FIG. 82.--FRENCH EWER WITH GROTESQUE MOUTH (SIXTEENTH CENTURY).]

The brass milkcans used by modern milk sellers, and the beautifully
ornamented churns and milk perambulators seen in some neighbourhoods,
are not altogether new or the outcome of modern advertisement. In
Holland brass ornament has been used on tinware for many years, and
some very quaint old milkcans and dairy utensils in shining polished
brass are met with by collectors who visit Holland. The milkcans of
that country, or perhaps more correctly large bowls, in which milk and
cream are served have double handles, and make extremely handsome
flower-bowls or fern-pots on the table, although perhaps collectors
would consider such a desecration an improper use for a genuine
antique. Many of the chestnut roasters, skimmers, and brass chimney
ornaments used in England in the eighteenth century came from Holland.
The artists of that country were famous for the characteristic Dutch
scenes engraved on their metal-work, just as they were for their tiles
with quaint windmills and pictures of peasants in native costume
on them. So famous has the collection of these brasses become that
much modern metal-work, copies of genuine antiques, has been sent
over for sale in London curio-shops. Some of these reproductions are
excellent copies; others are "too new" and would scarcely deceive the
amateur. Caution should be observed, especially when buying "old time"
fire-brasses, knockers and trivets.


German Metal-Work.

Curios, as well as modern antiques "made in Germany," are not always
labelled as such; there is, however, a distinctly German look about old
metal-work from that country. Elaborate and massive with its wealth
of floral embellishment, some of the German metal-work of early days
stands out conspicuously. Some elaborate cast bronze gates and door
furniture enriched the churches of the eleventh and twelfth centuries.
Augsburg and Nuremberg have always been famous centres for artistic
metal work, and in those towns many objects large and small have
been made. Among minor works are the very handsome lock plates and
cases. The shapes of domestic utensils, especially of ewers, were
very quaint. There is a German aquamanile or ewer in the form of an
animal, embodying a lion and stag, along with several others equally as
curious, in the British Museum. Nuremberg contributes to our national
collection a variety of hand wash-basins in brass; the earlier examples
being richly ornamented with engravings typifying different virtues and
vices; St. George, the patron saint of England, also figures on some
pieces. Turkish metal-work includes copper ewers, chased and decorated
with enamels, mostly with handles and spouts, some of the sets or
pairs consisting of ewer (_ibrik_) and basin (_tisht_). These copper
vessels are sometimes embossed with scale ornaments. There are braziers
and some vessels of bulbous form, mostly of bronze, and now and then
Turkish collapsible lanterns of brass with pierced decorations are met
with.



XVII

SUNDIALS,
CLOCKS,
AND BRASS
INSTRUMENTS



CHAPTER XVII

SUNDIALS, CLOCKS, AND BRASS INSTRUMENTS

      The mystery of dialling--Some old dials--Antique clocks--Old
      watches--The weather--Scientific instruments.


The modern man can scarcely realize what it must have been in this
England of ours when clouds obscured the sun, and thick mists drew a
veil over the shadow cast by the gnomon, before clocks were known.
The time of day was of less importance when the sundial on the church
tower, or on a pillar erected at some convenient place, had to be
consulted, when the sun shone it is true, but even then many must have
inwardly fretted and rebelled against the uncertainty. Reader, have you
ever spent a day away from public clocks in the country when the sky
was overcast _without a watch in your pocket_? If not, do it now, and
the result will be startling. It will create a sympathetic touch with
the past, and bring vividly to mind the trials of patience which had to
be endured when under such conditions inscriptions on dials were read,
but no clear line marked the onward march of Sol.


The Mystery of Dialling.

Dialling is a science which few except experts understand now; the
antiquary takes little note of it as he gazes upon the old dial plate
and makes out the inscription upon it. The collector gladly buys
the brass dial with its quaint lettering and division marks without
even knowing where it came from, or what kind of stone column or
pillar it originally capped. Yet there is far more interest in an old
sundial installed in a modern garden amidst reconstructed old-world
surroundings when the origin of the relic is known.

We have no record of the type of sundial referred to in Isaiah xxxviii,
8: "Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees which is gone
down on the _sun-dial_ of Ahaz, ten degrees backward." There are,
however, records of the sundial of the Chaldean astronomer Perosus,
who lived about 340 B.C. It consisted of a hollow hemisphere placed
with its rim horizontal, having a head or globule fixed so that as long
as the sun shone above the horizon the shadow of the head fell on the
inside of the hemisphere.

In more recent days the making and fixing of the dial with its gnomon
was carried out on fixed principles, and there is now no difficulty
about such an installation provided that the same astronomical
conditions are observed. (For rules governing dialling, see Glossary.)

[Illustration: FIG. 83.--EARLY DIALS--ON THE LEFT AN ARMILLARY DIAL; IN
THE CENTRE PILLAR DIAL; AND ON THE RIGHT A RING DIAL.

(_In the British Museum._)]

[Illustration: FIG. 84.--CURIOUS OLD MICROSCOPE, MADE IN 1780.

(_In the Municipal Museum, Hull._)]


Some Old Dials.

The pattern known as the garden dial is that commonly met with (for the
large dials once fixed on church towers and in public places rarely
come into the market); and the old dial plates seen in curio-shops
have come from such pillars. Charles Dickens had a fine old sundial
in his garden at Gad's Hill Place, and it has often been copied. The
globe dial, set on suitable pillars, has been made frequently for
modern antique gardens. An enterprising maker of dials purchased the
beautiful balustrades of old Kew Bridge when it was removed a few
years ago, and capping them with replicas of old dials--in some cases
with genuine antiques--produced excellent examples of the old type of
garden sundial. Similar dials, more imposing in size, are met with in
curious and yet very suitable places by motorists, cyclists, and others
when touring in the country. A charming Elizabethan relic is the stone
bridge across the River Wye in the village of Wilton, near Ross. On the
north wall of the parapet is a stone pillar surmounted by a sundial
having four faces--an interesting landmark and often admired; and when
the sun shines on it the traveller invariably pulls out his watch and
compares it with the shadow of the gnomon. There were once many famous
dials _in situ_ in London; most of them are gone; there are some,
however, readily seen, like the noted pillar dial in the Temple and
that on the front of one of the old buildings in Lincoln's Inn.

Of other forms of dials, the eccentricities of the horologists they
might be called, there are the "goblet" dials in the form of a cup,
the hour-lines being engraved on the interior; pillar dials which are
cylinders with movable gnomons; the quadrant, in the use of which the
altitude of the sun is taken through pierced sights, the time being
shown on curved hour-lines by means of a plumb-line hanging from the
angle; and the ring dials, which were very popular in England down to
the year 1800. In Fig. 83 are shown earlier dials of the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries. On the left there is an armillary dial by F.
Culpeper, of London. In the middle there is a pillar dial dated 1567,
and on the right of the figure a ring dial made by Humphrey Cole in
1575, all three important types. Perhaps one of the chief delights
of the study of sundial plates is to read and make out the different
mottoes and legends on them--most of them relating to the flight of
time, some alluding to man's duties which, when neglected, can never be
made up, for "Time and tide wait for no man."

Another type of dial is the portable one, in which form dials or pocket
clocks, as they were sometimes called, can be collected--and they are
generally of brass, some being very decorative.


Antique Clocks.

There is no intermediate stage between the general use of clocks and
watches and sundials, for their use overlaps. We have but to look
at many an old church tower on which is to be seen the dial still
operative--for sun and gnomon fail not--and the clock which has told
the time for many years. Both were probably working before pocket
clocks or watches became general and timepieces were to be found on the
mantelpiece or sideboard.

Brass was used from the commencement of clockmaking for wheels and
dials; and wonderfully, too, the early clockmakers cut and carved the
metal into the required form and gauged the works with accuracy. Some
may be familiar with that wonderful astronomical clock in Wimborne
Minster, made in 1220 by Peter Lightfoot, a monk of Glastonbury, who
also constructed a clock for Wells Cathedral. In it, according to the
early belief that the sun, moon, and stars revolved round the earth,
the sun travels its appointed circuit every twenty-four hours, and by
its position marks the time.

In the evolution of the clock there have been many marked stages.
The clock when first devised was a great stride from the sundial,
the beautiful plates of which have already been described. Progress
followed, and in a century or two clocks with wheels and complicated
mechanism, which when once set going and wound up periodically told
the time with exactitude, enabled the populace to know the time of
day even when the sun was not shining. That was the age of decorative
art, and many of the brass plates and dials were magnificent in their
engravings, glorious in their beautiful old fretwork, and rich in
brass cherubims and emblems of Old Father Time. Moving figures were in
the early days regarded as ideal attractions in clocks. The two old
figures which strike the hour and go through some quaint evolutions
over the clock which for many years has been a great attraction in
Cheapside, are typical of the figures which in miniature might have
been seen playing on brass gongs and chiming bells in many towns in
the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They were in abundance in
Norwich and towns in the eastern counties, seeming to reflect the old
Flemish cities on the Continent, where they are even now fairly common.
Collectors are very enthusiastic in their search for genuine "Cromwell"
or lantern clocks. A few years ago they might have been found discarded
on the old metal rubbish-heaps of the clockmaker. To-day these clocks,
all brass in their construction, are polished bright, set going once
more, and treated with care; good specimens changing hands for sums
varying from eight to fifteen pounds. Originally they were usually
placed on a bracket, over which was often a wooden hood to protect the
clock. Then came a hinged glass door, and in that we have the origin
of the "grandfather" with enlarged dial and rich oak or mahogany case
reaching down to the ground.

[Illustration: FIG. 85.--ENGRAVED POCKET CLOCK.]

Those who wish to study the beautiful dials and engraved faces of
clocks and watches in order that they may realize the difference in
the products of makers during the last few centuries, should visit the
splendid collection in the Guildhall Museum, loaned by the Clockmakers'
Company. The work of the old clockmakers was that of the very best.
It was made to last, and the metal they chose for their operations
appears to have been very suitable for the purpose. In evidence of
the lasting quality of old brass works, a well-known writer has put
forward the interesting story of a chamber clock presented by Henry
VIII to Anne Boleyn on their wedding day. It found its way into the
Strawberry Hill collection of Horace Walpole, and at the famous
sale of those interesting curios and souvenirs of great persons that
noted minister had gathered together, it was purchased for £100 by the
late Queen Victoria. Harrison Ainsworth says: "This token of endless
affection remains the same after three centuries; but four years after
it was given, the object of Henry's eternal love was sacrificed on the
scaffold. The clock still goes, but surely it should have been stopped
for ever when Anne Boleyn died!"

The advent of table clocks came with the discovery of the use of a
mainspring by the Nuremberg clockmakers in the sixteenth century. In
the British Museum there is a clock in the form of a ship made for
the Emperor Rudolph II in 1581. There are many other fine examples
of curiously designed clocks, including a water clock by Finchet, of
Cheapside, and a French astronomical clock with astrolabe, and others
with automatic figures on view there, as well as very remarkable types
in the collection of clock dials and watches given to the Museum by the
late Mr. Octavius Morgan.

The early clocks, the dials of which were of brass, had only one
finger, for the minute-hand was not known until 1670, and the second
finger a much later invention.

In Fig. 85 is a typical example of a brass engraved watch clock face
and dial, which has a perforated hinged cover and is exceptionally well
engraved.


Old Watches.

Watches were costly in the days when so much time was expended on
their manufacture. Those were the days of good workmanship in which
watchmakers excelled. They put much labour into the ornamentation of
the works, "watch-clocks," and dial plates, so many of which were
beautifully engraved, tooled with great skill, and cleverly perforated.
The dials were in early days unprotected, hence the need of a case,
often of brass, and when made of some other material were frequently
ornamented with brass inlay. It was not until the middle of the
seventeenth century that glass or crystal covers were invented; that
was about the time, too, when the enamelling of dials came into vogue.

The pocket watch brought with it fobs, chains, and watch-keys or
winders, mostly of brass, which should not be overlooked. In a
representative collection there are crank keys similar to large
clock winders, but, of course, made in miniature. Then after various
developments brass and Pinchbeck fob keys came into vogue, and later
still ornamental keys with and without the addition of stones, the
majority being made in brass. A number of these little objects can
still be collected quite cheaply, and nicely mounted make a very
interesting addition to the more ornamental side of brass metal-work.


Forecasting the Weather.

The weather has found men a subject for discussion and given them
opportunities of speaking a pleasant word of comradeship when meeting
in the country or in town. To comment upon its fickleness has become
as common a mode of salutation as passing the time of day. The topic
is an ancient one and the interest in it has been sustained, for to
gauge the coming changes has taken the attention of men from the
earliest times. To study the fleeting cloud, to note the coming storm
by the direction of the wind, or to notice the damp in the air as the
mist rises and is wafted over the fields, has always been a favourite
occupation. It was so before the day of barometers and scientific
instruments, and it is equally so by those who prefer the pronouncement
of the weather prophet rather than the barometer gauge. Galileo is said
to have invented the thermometer, but it was his pupil Torricelli,
who discovered the barometer. His townsmen in Faenza, in the north of
Italy, some years ago erected a monument to his memory, putting up the
biggest barometer known. In common with other scientific instruments
the barometer has afforded opportunities to the worker in metal and to
the art designer, for like the clock case it has been made a thing of
beauty as well as one of use. The very remarkable barometer illustrated
in Fig. 86 is an elaborate work of the brassfounder and exceedingly
ornate. It is a very exceptional piece, but there are other barometers
of considerable beauty in the hands of collectors of old bronze and
metal-work.

Some of the old scientific instruments are very clumsy looking when
compared with modern workmanship. About them it is true there is a
quaint beauty and a silent tribute to the skill and ingenuity of
early inventors, those who were but groping, perhaps blindly, in the
initial stages of an undeveloped science. Scientists always take a
delight in the instruments which their predecessors have used, and
when they realize by comparison the difficulties the early pioneers
had to contend with on account of the inefficient instruments in their
possession they wonder at the advance that particular science made in
their day.

In Fig. 84 we illustrate a curious old microscope and case, made
about the year 1780. It is on a mahogany stand, in which is a
drawer containing four magnifying powers. It formerly belonged to
a Mr. Charles Sherborne and is now in the Hull Museum, where, as
the connecting link between the older type and the modern, there is
another interesting microscope made some fifty or sixty years ago. The
engineer, mechanic, and scientist find much pleasure in the curios
which were associated with their professions in former days, and
delight in the possession of "old brass" which seems to bring them
nearer to the great men who years ago laid the foundations on which
present-day advance has been built.

[Illustration: FIG. 86.--A HANDSOME BRONZE BAROMETER.]

Engineers have been very skilful in creating models of engines and
machinery with which they have been familiar, and in reproducing in
miniature replicas of noted engines which have been used for practical
purposes. These little models, some of which were made more than a
hundred years ago, in days when steam power was but in its infancy,
have been very valuable to engineers to-day, in that they provide them
with actual models of old-time engines, the details of construction of
which might otherwise have been lost. In one of the museums at South
Kensington there are many of these scientific and mechanical models
in brass, some of them working on the penny-in-the-slot principle, so
that visitors can by the expenditure of a few coppers set in motion any
machine they are interested in, and so judge of the actual effects of
old-time inventions as illustrated by models which have been made to
scale.

In addition to working models of large objects there are some
remarkably small models which are stored and treasured by collectors.
Some are so small and minute, although perfect in every detail, that it
is difficult to understand how the worker in brass even if he had been
a jeweller and accustomed to fashion the settings of small stones could
so accurately have produced such tiny machines. It is said that the
smallest engine in the world, a beautiful piece of metal-work, owned by
an American collector, stands on a ten-cent piece! Yet remarkable as
it may seem, when connected with an electric power cable of very small
calibre the engine starts off as if it were a full-size horizontal
engine. The chief materials used in the construction are copper and
brass, although the band of the fly-wheel is of solid gold. So small is
this little engine that its measurements are all taken in sixty-fourths
of an inch. Thus the diameter of the fly-wheel, practically the largest
piece of mechanism in the construction of the engine, is 28/64 in., and
the fly-wheel band only 7/64 in. The valve rod is only 1/64 in., and
the outside diameter of the cylinder 12/64 in.; completed, standing
on the small coin referred to, the engine weighs 3 dwt., a truly
remarkable work of metallic art.



XVIII

ENAMELS
ON
COPPER



CHAPTER XVIII

ENAMELS ON COPPER

      Processes of enamelling--Chinese and Japanese enamels--British
      enamels.


Copper has been used frequently as the most suitable metal to coat
over with enamels, to be afterwards fired or fixed. Even the ancients
discovered the art of colouring the metal-work they had wrought by the
aid of different enamels more or less translucent. Such substances were
used in varied forms, often as paste, filling up incised designs, the
workmen in some cases rubbing them down smooth when fixed, in others
firing them by heat or simply heating until they ran smoothly over
the surface of the metal to which they adhered. The enamels which are
to be obtained vary in substance, the beauty of their workmanship,
and in their rarity and curio values. They cover the entire period of
known art and although such enamels are widely distributed, the art of
enamelling having been practised in almost all countries where art has
flourished, some have won greater fame than others, many of these rare
types being easily distinguished by characteristic forms, colours, or
designs.

Among the earlier exponents of enamelling were the Egyptians, the early
Greeks, and to some extent the Romans. It would appear that enamelling
was understood, too, in England, and was early practised as a British
art, but it soon died out, to be restored again in this country under
more favourable circumstances in the greater renaissance of mediæval
art.

The enamels which have attained such great fame, and which are so
keenly appreciated by connoisseurs, are those made at Limoges in
Southern France, and again to a lesser extent in Italy and the
Rhenish Provinces. Two beautiful examples of twelfth-century pricket
candlesticks, now in the British Museum, are of that early form which,
except for ecclesiastical purposes, soon gave way to the socket
candlestick, a more convenient form for domestic use.


Processes of Enamelling.

The basis of most of the enamels on copper is a fusible silicate, or
colourless glass mixed with metallic oxides, reduced to a fine powder,
which is applied according to the skill of the artist. The metal, with
the enamel powder upon it, is then fired until it is melted and adheres
to the metal. The different treatments help the expert to distinguish
the period when a specimen under investigation was made, and to some
extent the place of its manufacture. There is the translucent enamel,
which shows up the design through the vitreous matter, a method
originally adopted in Italy. Another process was that of applying
different colours over an incised pattern, the figures or pictures
being usually engraved in low relief. Coarser lines of engraving were
used on the copper basis of the early enamels made at Limoges. Those
of somewhat later date may be distinguished by the surface-painted
enamels adopted in the later style, which flourished until about 1630.
In this process dark enamel for the shadows was placed over the metal
plate, the picture being painted in white with some portions in colour;
a thin enamel surface was then given and the whole fired. The later
surface-painted enamels were for the most part copies of well-known
paintings or engravings, the colour or enamel being afterwards fixed
by firing. In the process of enamelling known as champlevé the design
was cut into the metal, the pattern or incisions made filled with
colours, the enamels being then fused; the basis was nearly always of
copper. The cloisonné enamel was generally on a brass basis, and as in
the more recent examples from China and Japan, the cloisons or tiny
cells of metal were filled with the right and appropriate colours;
afterwards subjected to heat. In some cases the metal foundation is in
the centre and cloisons or cells formed on either side of it. There is
something about the _old_ enamels of this type besides the wear and
tear of centuries which distinguishes them from the more modern, which,
generally speaking, are more brilliant in colouring, cruder and sharper
in design, and without that beautiful tone which is so pleasing in the
antique.


Chinese and Japanese Enamels.

The rarer examples of Chinese art date back to the beginning of the
Ming period in 1368, continuing until its close in 1643. The charm of
these early examples is at once recognizable when they are compared
with others of a later date. Fig. 87 represents a large Ming bowl
florally decorated in rich red, yellow, and white on a background
of cobalt blue outside and turquoise blue within. Quite a different
style of decoration is shown in Fig. 88; the design of butterflies and
gourd-vine tracery being carried out in Pekin enamels in five colours.
This remarkably fine box, so charmingly formed, contains a set of
nine sweetmeat dishes, each one bordered with bats of cobalt blue on
a lighter blue ground, on the cover of the outer box being the Shu
monogram. Another splendid piece, represented in Fig. 89, is typical
of a different style of decoration. This fine bowl, also of the Ming
period, is florally enamelled, the inside showing the pattern outlined
by wire cloisons upon a white ground, the flowers being worked in five
colours. This bowl, which is four inches high, is represented in the
illustration as standing on a beautifully carved stand of about equal
height. These choice pieces are illustrated by the courtesy of Messrs.
Glendining & Co., Ltd., at whose well-known London auction rooms they
recently changed hands. The second great period of Chinese art is that
of the Ching Dynasty, which commenced in 1644 and extended until more
recent times. While to some extent the art and the decorative effect
of that period was inferior to that of to-day, when judged from the
present-day standard of modern art, there was a rare beauty about the
old designs. The enamels of the Ching Dynasty were carefully prepared
and placed, and the colouring soft and yet rich. The preparation of
coloured matter by experts of that period when the best ceramics of
China were made, has always been a subject of admiration and wonder
to the potters and enamellers of more recent years. Examples of these
charming wares are not exceptionally rare, among the collectable
pieces being cups and bowls, exquisitely designed kettles, tiers of
boxes, water vessels, round and oblong dishes, and incense burners.
Some of the bowls with covers are of quaint forms, a favourite one
being that of a peach. Vases of which the base is enamel are often
further enriched by ornaments of copper-gilt. Among the rarer little
curios seen in a representative collection may be mentioned small water
droppers, mostly made in the eighteenth century.

[Illustration: FIG. 87.--BOWL OF THE MING PERIOD.

FIG. 89.--MING BOWL.

FIG. 88.--BOX OF PEKIN ENAMEL.]

The Ch'ien Lung period which followed extended from 1736 to 1796,
and included many candlesticks and altar pieces as well as braziers,
some of the copper vessels being practically encrusted with enamels,
some of the finer ornamentation being attached to the ground-work as
additional or supplementary decorative effects. As in the earlier
periods much labour was expended on the production of the many fine
temple sets which were presented to such uses. The exceptionally fine
altar set wrought in cloisonné enamels, illustrated in Fig. 90, is of
the Ch'ien Lung period, and consists of a beautifully designed koro,
supported on legs in the form of tigers' heads, two candlesticks 18 in.
high, and a pair of vases. The style of decoration is very rich, being
turquoise blue ground on which are floral designs in red, green, dark
blue, yellow, and other bright colours. The pieces stand on brass-gilt
foundations, which rest on carved wooden stands, the set forming an
extremely interesting group, typical of the highest art of the Ch'ien
Lung period. There are many richly ornamented and extremely valuable
specimens of more recent date admired by connoisseurs of art in the
galleries and curio-shops; but however beautiful they are the collector
of the older curios appraises their values from a modern commercial
standpoint, and does not view them as he would antiques.


British Enamels.

It was not until the art of enamelling had been perfected at Lillè
and other places on the Continent of Europe, that an attempt was made
to produce similar trinkets and a few more important pieces, such as
candlesticks and inkstands, in this country. The works established
at Battersea by Mr. S. T. Janssen about the middle of the eighteenth
century soon gained notoriety, and it was not long before the enamels
made there were eagerly sought after. In addition to those articles
mentioned, they consisted chiefly of tea-canisters, snuff-boxes, spirit
labels, and patchboxes, the copper being coated over with an opaque
white enamel, which was coloured over and then decorated with floral
and other designs. Rose tint afterwards became one of the favourite
ground colours at Battersea. Among the rarer examples may be classed
inkstands and writing-table appointments. The inkstands usually include
an ink-container, a pen-box, and a sand or pounce pot, for Battersea
enamel inkstands were made before blotting-paper was invented, and the
wet ink, chiefly applied with a quill pen, was dusted over with pounce
to prevent blotting, and when dry the surplus was dusted off. The
collector finds much to interest in the little patchboxes of enamel, of
which there were many varieties. They remained useful when the fashion
of wearing patches declined, for then they came in handy for cosmetics,
salves, and pomades. These curious little boxes were frequently
given by admirers and friends, as may be imagined from the mottoes
and sentimental inscriptions upon them. Among the commoner varieties
seen in a collection are little oval boxes on which are pictured two
love-birds, sometimes accompanied by a bird's nest. Others will have
imitations of needlework pictures, such as the fair ones worked in
those days. Sometimes a little church is seen in the distance, and in
the foreground a boy and girl exchanging love-tokens. "This gift is
small, but love is all," is a favourite motto. "Virtue fair, manners
sweet, Together in my fair one meet," are two oft-quoted lines, and
another favourite verse is:

    "If you, my dear,
      Accept of this,
    Reward the giver
      With a kiss."

Some boxes, however, have evidently been the gifts of those who could
only claim "friendship" or acquaintance with the recipient, for they
bear such sentiments as "A token of my respect," "Accept this as a
token of my esteem," and "Esteem the giver." Some appear to have been
made for sale as place souvenirs, for they are inscribed "A trifle from
Bath," or other town where they had been procured. Battersea portrait
placques were made between 1750 and 1760, among the favourite subjects
being the then Prince of Wales (afterwards George IV), the Duke of
Cumberland, and statesmen, among whom Horace Walpole was evidently one
of the most popular.

English enamellers in other places, such as Bilston, attained some
fame, but the Battersea works held their own, and not only produced
the trinket boxes and other toilet-table appointments referred to, but
many useful sundries, such as spirit and wine labels, little trays,
and the like. None of these, although beautiful indeed, equalled the
French enamels in the delicate miniature paintings and scenes such as
those produced by the celebrated French painter, Petitot, who gave
much attention to the decoration of exquisite toilet boxes and trinket
trays.

[Illustration: FIG. 90.--FINE ALTAR SET OF CLOISONNÉ ENAMELS (CH'IEN
LUNG PERIOD).]



XIX

MISCELLANEOUS
METAL
CURIOS



CHAPTER XIX

MISCELLANEOUS METAL CURIOS

      Tobacco-boxes and pipe-stoppers--Snuff-boxes--Handles and
      Handle-plates--Horse trappings--War relics--Tiny curios--Replicas.


The collectable curios in metal include many which cannot be
classified. They are isolated specimens of copper and brasswork
representing some special household utensil or workshop appliance
which, in the course of time, has become obsolete or has been
superseded by more modern contrivances of other materials. Copper
was almost exclusively used in works where acids and other chemicals
prevented the use of iron until enamelled wares, aluminium, and zinc
were available; but such workshop appliances are not usually very
attractive, and seldom come within the scope of the collector except as
museum specimens. Among the various sundry objects of interest, those
mentioned in the following paragraphs are worthy of notice, especially
as many of them are quite inexpensive, and can readily be obtained
from curio-shops and occasionally picked up cheaply from cottages and
farmhouses in out-of-the-way places.


Tobacco-boxes and Pipe-stoppers.

Smokers' sundries include many objects in brass, especially boxes for
storing tobacco. Most of the larger receptacles for the storage of
tobacco were in olden time of lead or pewter, or, in more recent times,
of japanned tin, followed in the present day by pottery and wood. The
small boxes in the days before rubber pouches were known were nearly
always of brass or other metal, such boxes being often elaborately
ornamented. Dutch metal-workers produced some very decorative boxes in
the seventeenth century. In some instances the sides are made of copper
and the covers or lids of brass, the two metals in contrast presenting
a very pleasing appearance. Several of these boxes are to be seen in
the Guildhall Museum; on one there is the representation of a bear-pit,
on another scriptural subjects, a third being more appropriately
covered with tavern scenes. Needless to say, Dutch artists were
then--as they have been in after years--famous for their scenic views.
The engravers appear to have divided their favours between religious
pictures and rural scenes. Battles, too, came in for a share of the
engraver's skill, and such pictures are noticeable on many of the
larger boxes, some of which possibly were not used as tobacco-boxes.
The picture scenes were continued until the close of the eighteenth
century, and in some instances a few years in the next. Then there came
a time of undecorated metal-work, and the engraving, if any, was stiff
and formal. Ornamental borders came into vogue, and the more elaborate
boxes were engraved with the crests or monograms of their owners.
Some show portraits, such as an eighteenth-century box on which is a
portrait of Frederick the Great.

The metal-work so freely imported into this country in the reign of
William and Mary, and on into the times of George III, of course
included many tobacco-boxes, but there are other pieces of those
periods, the uses of which are uncertain; some of the long, narrow
boxes were probably made for spectacle-cases, and others as cases or
boxes for the money-changers' and traders' scales (see Chapter XI).

Ash-trays of copper and brass, among the fanciful smokers' requisites
of the present day, are by no means novel, for among the antiques in
metal are found curious copper bowls with inverted feet and wooden
handles which were used by smokers in the days when "churchwarden"
pipes were mostly smoked; they were known as smokers' ashes pans.

Tobacco-stoppers of metal are of early date, and seem to have been
regarded by metal-workers as peculiarly suitable objects on which to
display skill in modelling and even engraving. An authentic record
of their use in Restoration days is met with in a will referring to
a bequest of Boscobel relics: "The owner of an old oak box, dated
1660, mentioned it as the 'one in which was a brass tobacco-stopper.'"
Of these curious and interesting stoppers there are many varieties.
Under Dutch influence some striking characters were portrayed as the
ornamental heads of these pieces. In the days of William and Mary they
were chiefly cast, and afterwards tooled and even engraved. James II
was chosen as the model of many; and stoppers with his bust as the
handle were, it is said, treasured by Jacobean admirers. The human hand
in which is seen a "churchwarden" pipe is a favourite type; pugilists,
too, figured, and others typified familiar objects of local fame,
even animals, birds, and domestic utensils serving the purpose of the
designer. In recent days "Punch" has appeared, and among the modern
replicas of "early types" (_sic_) to be seen in the shops are sets of
Dickens's characters as tobacco-stoppers.


Snuff-boxes.

There are some of the so-called tobacco-boxes which no doubt were in
reality used only for snuff in the days when snuff was taken in larger
quantities than it is to-day. A collection of snuff-boxes includes many
varieties, among which are some of metal. Some of the boxes made of
wood and of shagreen are decorated with tiny brass studs, producing a
very pleasing effect. The snuff-boxes were shaped according to popular
fancy, and some of the more eccentric patterns were local in their
use. In Scotland the curled-shaped mull was a favourite. In connection
with snuff-taking it must be remembered that in the earlier days snuff
as prepared now was little known. Those addicted to the habit had
to prepare their own snuff. For that purpose there came into vogue
snuff-rasps of iron enclosed in cases, which, although they were in
some instances of boxwood or carved pearwood, were now and then of
metal. Incidentally this early home preparation of the snuff produced
from a small plug or twist of tobacco gave rise to the popular trader's
sign of the "Crown and Rasp" over a tobacco shop. As intimated in
another chapter, many of the tobacco and snuff-boxes served a dual
purpose, and not infrequently formed part of the tinder box, an
essential in early days.


Handles and Handle-plates.

The condition of the metal-work upon old furniture and other curios
is a factor in its beauty and in its value too. The handles and
handle-plates should be of the same period as the antique, and hinges,
lock-plates, handles and their plates, ball feet and castors should
be _en suite_. Indeed, it is better to substantiate a well-made
reproduction rather than to admit the use of a later style. The want
of harmony in the "brass furniture" of antiques, although all portions
appear old, is somewhat puzzling at times. It is explainable in that
in early Victorian days when much that was then old was repaired the
village shopkeeper and even the cabinet-maker had little regard for
the preservation of the old style. To restore meant to them to repair,
and where necessary to introduce the _then_ prevailing materials
notwithstanding their obvious inappropriateness.

Fortunately, dealers in antiques and restorers have acquired nowadays a
genuine love of their work, and have learned how best to please their
clients; many of them having quite a store of odd handles and fittings
for the curio-hunter and would-be amateur restorer to choose from. To
be quite certain about getting a suitable style for the restoration
or repairs of old furniture it is desirable to know something of the
appropriate styles. The drop handle is a foreign importation, for it
is said to have come from Japan, being first seen in this country in
the Oriental lacquer cabinets brought here in the seventeenth century.
Such handles were at first pear-shaped, but they soon became larger and
of a type more adapted for drawers and the heavier furniture then in
use. Much hand labour was expended upon their manufacture; even in the
latter part of the eighteenth century they were filed up by hand. The
earliest form of brass handle-plate was the smooth and shiny "willow
brass," the edges of which were filed and shaped by hand. Later they
were distinguished from the newer styles as "Queen Ann brasses." The
handles were fastened to the plates with brass-headed screw bolts (in
the commoner types the "plates" were dispensed with). Chippendale and
his followers used an adaptation of the willow brass, placing over the
plain plate a fretwork grille or ornamental plate of thin brass. Then
came the bail handle and the oval plate with beaded ornamentation,
adopted by Hepplewhite and Adams. In the meantime, however, the drop
and the bail were made in a fancy design in keeping with Chippendale
"shells" and ornament. The rosette and ring handle of the year 1800
and onwards is a feature to be noticed, the round plate being pierced
in the centre instead of at the sides as in the bail handle. The ring
which formed the handle hung from the central screw. This got over
the difficulty of the necessary groove in which the old bail handle
had fallen, and allowed for a deeper projection and more ornamental
stamping. Such handles were in vogue in the Empire period. There were
heavier handles, too, which often took the form of a lion's head
instead of an ornamental pattern, the ring hanging from the mouth
of the lion, these being often miniature replicas of the brass door
knocker. These beautiful handles and the delightful brass knockers
which were used on furniture and doors concurrently gave way to the
ugly handles of the Victorian age, when wood and glass knobs reigned
supreme. It was a sad picture of the decadence of popular taste,
for there can be no question as to the more artistic and ornamental
decorativeness of the brassfounder's art over that of the wood-turner
as exemplified by the products of the nineteenth century.

At the time when the different styles in furniture decoration
influenced brasswork, including handles, knobs, lock-plates, and
hinges, a gradual change was going on in the castors used on furniture.
The square legs required a square-socketed castor; then came the
cabrioles or brass collars to the castors, very ornamental and suitable
to the style of the shaped legs of mahogany furniture ornamented by
carving and curiously turned. The runners of the castors were chiefly
of brass and generally very substantial. The brass wheels held sway
until the invention of the vitrified bowl, which seemed to harmonize
better with Victorian mahogany. In restoration work the collector
should see to it that the castors used are in keeping with the
furniture, for if no genuine antiques are available there are modern
replicas of all the styles.


Horse Trappings.

Horse harness is heavily loaded with brass bands, buckles, chains,
and "trappings," many of the latter appearing to be quite superfluous
and unnecessary. It would seem that the fanciful frets of perforated
brass were introduced from purely artistic motives. That, however,
is not quite correct, for even the brass ornaments of to-day are
chiefly replicas of more ancient trappings, and although their forms
may have deviated somewhat, the ancient idea is quite recognizable,
and agriculturists and stablemen still demand their retention. Such
brasses, which now make up so entertaining a collection, have meanings;
indeed, in the earlier examples the designs are true to well-understood
symbols which may or may not in their use have a beneficial influence.
To the superstitious they are not merely trappings; they are charms of
real purpose (see Fig. 91).

[Illustration: FIG. 91.--COLLECTION OF BRASS AMULETS (HARNESS BRASSES).

(_In the possession of Mr. Chas. Wayte, of Edenbridge._)]

In all parts of the country there is a lingering superstition which
aids and abets the continuance of the use of amulets. Indeed, the very
general belief in the protective value of symbols, the true history and
origin of which may have been forgotten, is truly astonishing. One of
the most remarkable indications that old fables and beliefs, antedating
in their origin the introduction of the Christian religion in this
country, have a hold still on rural districts, is seen in the brass
harness trappings used by all classes alike. Years ago the makers of
harness fashioned their brasses with care, and the artists who engraved
them and cut them out of solid plates of metal laboured long and
tediously in producing exact replicas of similar ornaments which had
been used from time immemorial. They rarely deviated from the emblems
they copied to any material extent, although new designs were at times
added, based possibly on some specific local emblem which was then
gaining notoriety.

Then came the less expensive processes of reproduction by casting
and stamping, which multiplied the designs and very often made them
grotesque in the eyes of experts and those who had been accustomed to
realize and understand a true meaning in the designs they had been
familiar with.

The ornamental brasses which hung in rows round horses' necks, and
conspicuously on the foreheads or chests of the animals, deemed
inseparable from a set of harness in olden times, were regarded as
charms, protective against danger, accident, and, in wilder times,
perils unknown to-day.

These very pleasing objects in brass, which look so handsome when
polished and arranged on a cloth-covered shield in the harness-room,
or, perchance, framed as a trophy for the hall or gun-room, are so
varied, and yet for the most part quite distinct, that it is said
nearly two hundred designs are collectable. A complete set of brasses,
as worn by one horse properly harnessed, includes the face brass
already mentioned as the chief ornament on the forehead, ear-brasses
hanging behind the ears, three brasses on each side of the shoulders,
and ten martingale (a strap passing from the horse's girth between his
forelegs) brasses for the breast. To trace their purport and hence
their forms it may be pointed out that they are associated with the
folk-lore of the districts where they were originally used, and were
chiefly intended to keep off the "Evil Eye" or calamity. They go back
a long way into the past, and are nearly all attributable to symbols
understood by the Saxons, early British, and still older races. Their
modern exponents are the gypsies, and strange as it may seem, most of
them are either Buddhist, Egyptian, or Moorish. The genuine antiques
include such well-known emblems as the crescent, the symbol brought
back, it is said, by the Crusaders from Eastern lands. The crescent
moon, like the horseshoe brass, is valued. There are others showing
the radiated sun's rays indicating the sun worship of our ancestors.
Conspicuous among the floral emblems may be noticed the iris; the lotus
of Egypt is a common emblem, often enclosed in a crescent-like form,
occasionally met with in a shield-like frame. There are the bull's head
with horns and the horse of the Saxon banner, both essentially English
types. Then there are clubs and diamonds, hearts and spades, and many
heathen symbols. In a few instances brasses in the shape of crosses
are met with, but these are rare; possibly they were introduced in the
days of the Canterbury pilgrims. In this connection may be related a
pretty story of the good luck associated with the horseshoe, which
comes from Russia, where peasants used to paint a picture of the Virgin
Mary with a golden halo round her head outside their doors to protect
them from harm. The snows and the rains washed off the paint, but left
the more lasting gilding in the shape of the horseshoe. Hence it is
said the superstitious legend of the protective power or good luck
of the symbolical horseshoe, or the crescent moon, is spread all the
world over. Another legend tells us how the Greeks and Romans gave the
world the crescent moon as an emblem of good luck, so many thousands
of replicas of which have been fashioned in brass and used as horse
trappings by horsemen of all races. The crescent moon was to those
nations the symbol of their loyalty to the huntress Diana, the goddess
they worshipped as a protector under many varied conditions.

An exceptionally fine early brass of crescent form is seen in South
Kensington, where there are other early specimens pointing to the
ancient and very general acceptance of the belief in the potency of
symbolical horse trappings as talismans against evil and dangers of
the road, happily unknown now. Almost as common is the brass fashioned
like the sun god, whose face was so often looked upon with awe by the
ancients. Side by side with these pagan symbols the emblems adapted by
pilgrims in days when Christianity had been made the religion of the
race can be seen to-day, still adorning the breast of the horse.

The amulet or charm is not altogether banished at the present day. It
has been worn at the watch chain, round the neck, on a bangle, and
suspended from the chatelaine or the girdle. The greater use of the
road by motorist and cyclist has once more brought into prominence the
amulet or mascot, carried in front of the rider. The river-girl places
a mascot on the prow of her boat, and the aviator screws his mascot
into position "for luck." Why this should be done we cannot tell; the
general belief is in some mysterious advantage from the presence of the
mascot--an accepted theory by the sceptical man who shakes his head and
secretly marvels at the folly of the belief.

Strange to say many of the present-day mascots in brass--and that
is the favourite metal--are modelled upon amulets such as we have
referred to as finding their origin in pagan faiths. There are others
used by motorists, such as "Cæsar," the late King Edward's dog, the
"Chantecler," and the stag's head, which have no mystic meanings; on
the other hand, the most favoured are such brasses as the "star and
cresent" and the "rising sun" of pagan worship of our ancestors, and
"Mercury" the Greek god.

The brass mascot used in every form, large and small, by motorists
and worn by many others so extensively is the "Swastika" of Buddhist
fame, traceable in its varied form to Egyptian and other early nations.
These mascots in brass, made in thousands to-day, are brass curios in
the making; possibly in a century or so they may be classed with the
oldest brass amulets described in this chapter, and so add to the metal
relics to be collected by future curio-hunters!


Copper Sheathing and Nails.

Copper sheathing has been used by boat-builders and made to serve
a useful purpose, protecting the ship's bottom and resisting the
action of salt water. Oftentimes this valuable material--costly when
new--has been used over again when vessels have been broken up, and
not infrequently it is put to curious uses in old seaport towns.
Visitors to an old-world village built on the side of a hill near
the sea in North Cornwall, have looked with admiration upon two
remarkable gateposts in front of a cottage house, and admired their
quaint carvings. These relics in oak were once the ends of seats
in a neighbouring parish church; but either to preserve them from
injury from the village children or to give them a longer life as
they would be exposed to the weather, the upper portions have been
sheathed with copper from the bottom of some broken-up wreck, and
large copper nails keep the casing in place. Copper and brass nails
have been used for ornament as well as to resist acids and other
metal-destroying chemicals. Old furniture is evidence of this; for at
one time the leather covers to the chairs were almost invariably fixed
by round-headed brass studs, which from that use became known in the
trade as "chair nails." Such nails were used to ornament brass bellows
and other domestic utensils. They were also used to "decorate" the
skin-covered trunks which our ancestors took with them on their rare
journeys of pleasure or business, when they travelled by the mail-coach
or less expensive stage wagon. Nails of brass have been used and are
still sometimes used for sadder purposes, for they are a feature in the
ornament of cloth-covered coffins. That of King Edward VI was decorated
(_sic_) with upwards of two thousand brass nails with gilt heads.


War Relics.

What wonderful antiquities are sometimes found among scraps! Years
of neglect cause indifference to the contents of a scrapheap, and we
read occasionally of the dispersal of relics among which, unknown to
either sellers or buyers, there may be antiquities of more than passing
interest if their original ownership could only be traced, for in the
personal relics of great warriors in our national museums there clings
a halo of hero-worship, and what to many would be considered fictitious
values are attached to such curios. A few years ago the relics from the
battlefield of Waterloo, which had for some time past been accumulated
in a modest looking building at the foot of the Lion Mound, were
dispersed. There were upwards of three thousand pieces, including
helmets of brass, plates of shining metal, innumerable buttons and
ornaments belonging to different French regiments, including officers'
regimentals, and some relics of the British and Prussian armies.
In old curio-shops many metal relics of battlefields are offered
for sale, but they have little or no interest to the buyer, simply
because their identity with their original owners has been lost. It is
of the greatest importance to future generations of collectors that
all records relating to known curios should be chronicled, and that
even private collectors should hand on to their successors adequate
descriptions which may have been verbally given them, so that private
as well as national relics may be identified and the monetary value in
such curios increased. Even a brass plate on an old gun, bearing the
name of a great man, makes it a relic worth securing, whereas had the
identity of ownership been missing the weapon would be of little or no
value.

A visit to the United Service Museum at Westminster is full of
interest. There is an abundance of personal relics there--not many
of brass, it is true--many of which are of special interest. Perhaps
the one of greatest historical fame is the much battered copper bugle
on which it is said the signal was given for the fatal charge of the
Light Brigade at Balaclava, resulting so disastrously to that famous
regiment. There are some curious trophies of brass, too, which have
been brought home by our troops; one known as "Jingling Johnny" is of
special interest.


Tiny Curios.

At one time there was quite a rage for miniatures in metal-work.
Artists in copper and brass vied with one another in working
microscopically. They were very fond of making use of some recognized
piece of metal, the size, weight, and substance of which was well
understood by the public; hence the difficulties of manipulating the
works of art they produced would be realized. Thus, out of a copper
farthing, a worker in metal would with very tiny hammers and a still
smaller soldering-iron and miniature blow-pipe, fashion a complete
copper teakettle with a tiny spout out of which liquid could be poured,
a loose lid, a correctly formed knob, and a beautifully shaped handle.
Another would make a similar kettle out of a similar piece of metal,
and leave some portion of the farthing, perhaps the date, uninjured
as the central ornament on the side of the kettle, or on the top
of the handle; others would add a stand, like the then fashionable
toddy-kettles and stands. In a similar way other little domestic
utensils were made by the worker in copper, who used watchmakers'
hammers and tools such as jewellers employed in the setting of precious
stones. A collector at one time had in his possession a beautifully
shaped coffee boiler of the type used on the open fire when coffee
was boiled and afterwards allowed to stand on the hob for some time
before it was deemed sufficiently brewed. Another charming miniature
novelty was a brass stool, perforated, and made to revolve just as
the larger toasting stool once common in every fireplace. Fenders and
fire-brasses were favourite objects for miniature metal ornaments, and
the way in which the skilled worker manipulated the copper "sheets"
hammered out by hand from small coins showed mastery of the craft and
great patience. Such little objects were frequently displayed on the
"parlour" table under a glass shade, the woodworker being sometimes
requisitioned to make a stand, possibly a canopied top, on which to
show off to the best advantage these tiny ornaments.

In the same way the engraver of brass and copper worked under a strong
lens, and sought to produce whole texts of Scripture and quite long
inscriptions on an almost impossibly small surface. These little pieces
of metal were worn as charms, and similar objects were displayed as
trophies. Many of our readers have seen no doubt the whole of the
Lord's Prayer or the Ten Commandments engraved on a threepenny-piece
or a copper farthing. It is said such microscopic engraving took its
rise in the reign of Charles II when Thomas Simon, a noted engraver
of the Mint, engraved in double lines on his famous "Petition Crown"
a petition to the king. Specimens of the crown are very rare, and are
regarded as the scarcest treasures in a numismatic cabinet.


Replicas.

In conclusion, it may be pointed out that there is no branch of curio
collecting which has such a close and intimate touch with modern
art as that of copper and brass. The tools with which the ancient
coppersmiths wrought and fashioned their most beautiful works are still
used by the coppersmiths of to-day, for although in the eyes of some
the traces of machine-stamped or pressed ornament in the so-called
reproductions of the antiques are noticeable blemishes, there are few
distinguishing marks between the old and the new. Those modern artists
who specialize in providing those who furnish their houses in antique
style with replicas of the domestic copper-work of a century or two
ago, are very careful to produce their "modern antique" by the use of
tools which produce precisely similar effects to the hammered-by-hand
copper-work of days gone by. In the production of such work the
repoussé enrichments are wrought by hand, the anvil still holding sway
in the modern coppersmith's shop. Rarely is soldering used, the parts
being riveted together. In many cases although jardinieres and other
vessels have the appearance of being cast in a mould they are really
hollowed up under the rim by hammer and block, and are without seam or
joining. They are fashioned exactly the same way as the beaten work of
old. Collectors may be warned against these modern reproductions in
that they should be careful to pay a modern price for a modern antique.

The styles reproduced are chiefly those of the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries, particularly those of the Elizabethan and
Cromwellian periods. Thus electroliers are made to match antique
furniture, the difference being that instead of holding electric bulbs
the antique would have been fashioned for candles or oil lamps. Many
of the modern reproductions of copper panels used for letting into
mantelpieces are designs, carefully copied, taken from old baronial
halls. The very grates of ormolu and brass and the canopies of
hammered copper and brass are being made to-day by the same firms who
manufactured the metal-work designed by the Adam Brothers, and who
in the eighteenth century had already become famous as makers of coal
stoves and hob-grates. Then, again, in the utilitarian reproductions
of to-day there are the copper and brass fender kerbs, reproducing the
eighteenth-century fenders without their bottom plates, and for use
with them the modern manufacturer makes fire-dogs and fire-brasses
of antique styles. Even the builder's brasswork for ornamenting the
interiors of houses, such as finger-plates and door handles, are exact
copies of the old door-plates and lock-plates found on doors and
cupboards in existing houses built in the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries, and in their designs and processes of manufacture it is
difficult to distinguish the genuine antique from the modern replica.
Again, the buyer of such things is warned against the unscrupulous
dealer who fills his windows with brass and copper-work, almost hot
from the Birmingham foundry, and labels it "Antique." Not long ago
some of the shop windows were filled with chestnut roasters in brass,
with beautifully designed trivets, with door knockers innumerable, and
with even pipe-stoppers and tobacco-boxes, all quite recently made in
the Black Country. Yet all these objects, sold as modern by the honest
dealer, have been and are still not infrequently palmed off as antique,
for they have the finish which age in former years was wont to impart,
and in design and style they are correct reproductions of the genuine
antique.

The collection of metal has a peculiar charm, for the objects are so
numerous and the different alloys produce such a pleasing variety of
colour and appearance. The value of such curios is now more fully
recognized than formerly, for greater prominence is being given to them
in museums, where in those which have been re-arranged recently such
objects may be seen with labels on which their uses are fully described
and explained.



XX

WRINKLES
FOR
COLLECTORS



CHAPTER XX

WRINKLES FOR COLLECTORS

      Cleaning copper and brass--Lacquering metal--Polishing
      brass--Restoring antique finishes--Using the burnisher--Brass
      rubbings.


The collector has frequently to decide whether he will entrust the
repair of some much battered curio to a local workman or undertake the
rôle of an amateur worker and repairer of copper or brass. There are
many who prefer the latter course; unless the antique needs expert
skill, and then, if a valuable specimen, it should be sent to one whose
professional knowledge will enable him to carry out its restoration
without injury. There are, however, many minor matters which, with a
few simple tools, and recipes which can be prepared quite easily, the
collector can very satisfactorily accomplish.

Before attempting to clean or repair old copper and brass curios or
those objects which are made all or in part of either of them or of any
of their alloys, it is well to know something of the constituents of
the metals usually met with. First on the list comes ancient bronzes
composed mainly of copper and tin on no accepted formula, but generally
in the proportion of about three to one. Modern statuary bronze is
made in several proportions; one compound is given by an authority as
copper, 83 parts; tin, 5 parts; zinc, 10 parts; and lead, 2 parts; and
by another as copper, 91 parts; tin, 9 parts. Bronze ornaments are
mostly copper, 80 parts; tin, 3 parts; zinc, 15 parts; and lead, 2
parts. Gongs are of copper, 80 parts; and tin, 20 parts--some Oriental
alloys have a little silver added. The ormolu of the brassfounder, used
extensively by French metal-workers, has more copper and less zinc
than brass. Red brass consists of copper, 25 parts; zinc, 5 parts; and
bismuth, 1 part. Yellow brass is made of copper, 35 parts; and zinc,
15 parts. Pinchbeck metal, of which watchcases and jewellery have been
made, consists of copper, 10 parts; and of zinc, 2 parts. Antimony
imparts a rich red to copper.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the following paragraphs some very useful "wrinkles" are given:


Cleaning Copper and Brass.

It is scarcely necessary to warn the collector against over cleaning,
for to rub light bronzes which age has toned or encrusted with a
beautiful patina would be vandalism indeed. Yet there are many objects
which require attention when they arrive from the auction mart or
curio-shop. Ancient bronzes should be washed in soap and water with
soft brush or flannel--not scrubbed--and then dried in hot sawdust.
If any polishing is necessary, a chamois leather or an old silk
handkerchief will be sufficient. The green patina or verdigris of
antique metals should _not_ be removed nor its colouring spoiled with
cleaning.

Copper vessels, however, do very frequently require cleaning. When they
have turned a bluish green--not the much admired patina--they may be
cleaned by making a paste of well powdered chalk and methylated spirit.
This preparation should be rubbed on and then left until the spirit has
evaporated and the chalk is quite dry, at which stage it can be removed
and the copper polished with crocus powder or fine chalk.

Owing to long neglect there are some metal curios which cannot be
thoroughly cleansed without a powerful solvent. A weak solution of
oxalic acid may be safely applied with a piece of woollen material; it
will remove the tarnish, and then, after well washing, the metal can
be polished with fine chalk or whiting. When the brass is spotted with
damp but not too deeply marked, chalk and spirits of turpentine will
generally effect the purpose just as well.

Another recipe formerly much favoured by housewives in the days when
copper vessels were much in evidence, is to rub them over with half a
lemon dipped in salt; then after washing polish with a soft cloth. This
is a useful recipe in that it does not injure an antique appearance or
patina, but it will remove stains.

A somewhat more powerful preparation for metal-work is a cleaning paste
made as follows: oxalic acid, 1 oz.; rotten stone, 6 oz; gum arabic,
1/2 oz.; sweet oil, 1 oz.; and then add as much water as necessary.

The following recipe is given for the benefit of advanced collectors
who wish to avail themselves of modern methods. Such will no doubt
delight in experimenting on the cleansing of newly acquired curios with
a cleaning preparation operated by an electric current. Caustic soda,
1/2 lb.; sal soda, 1/2 lb.; resin, 1/4 oz.; and water, 1 gallon; 4 to
8 volts and a current density of 12 amps. The greater the density of
the current the quicker the cleaning is performed. A temperature of 120
Fahr. is recommended.


Lacquering Metal.

When it is desired to lacquer or coat over metal to prevent any future
oxidation (not commonly desired by collectors of antiques) the copper
or brass article should be pickled for several hours in aqua fortis
diluted with water. The acid will rot away a certain portion of the
tarnished surface and leave the metal bright. The article should then
be put into bran and well shaken until quite dry. It is then ready to
be cleaned, and, if desired, polished bright.

Old brasswork may be relacquered by the amateur with a little
experience, practice, and care. First of all it must be cleaned. The
liquid which is best suited to the purpose may be made of a strong lye
of wood ashes boiled and strengthened with soap lees. This will fetch
the old lacquer off. The article should then be dipped in aqua fortis
and water to take off the dirt, and immediately removed and cleansed
with clean water, and then when dried it is ready to be lacquered.
There are two processes in simple lacquering, which may be defined as
cold and hot. The cold lacquer is the application of a preparation
of brass lacquer, which can be purchased from any oil-shop, chemist,
or metal dealer, put on with a camelhair-brush like varnish, and
immediately placed in an oven or a hot stove, and exposed to the heat
for a few minutes until the lacquer is quite firm and set. A gas-oven
such as those in common use in so many kitchens nowadays answers the
purpose very well.

The second method is the application of lacquer after the article
has been heated. The heating may be done in a gas-oven, or by the
application of a flat-iron such as is used by laundresses. Then lacquer
should be applied hot, and if the object lacquered has cooled in the
process heat should again be applied as in the first process. It
should be clearly understood that cleaning and relacquering old brass
and copper-work should be done with very great care and with a full
appreciation of the curio value of old finish, and of the marks and
evidences of age which are so dear to the collector. The pickling of
brasswork in acid and subsequent lacquering should only be resorted
to when it is absolutely necessary to effect such restoration, and to
make the objects sufficiently presentable so that they may be included
in a cabinet or exhibited in the collection of metal curios; for the
possession of old copper and brass is nothing without the opportunity
of showing it. There are some specialists who devote their attention
to the restoration and bronzing of mediæval and early ecclesiastical
work. It may on occasion be necessary to consult such a firm before
attempting anything which would savour of vandalism and rob the
present-day possessor and curio-hunter of the future of what might
eventually become a rare antiquity.


Polishing Brass.

It may at times be necessary to polish parts of curios which have been
subjected to rough wear and are, therefore, badly scratched. A very
fine file will remove scratches; fine emery will then make the surface
quite smooth, after which it can be polished with rotten stone and oil,
some adding a little turpentine.


Restoring Antique Finishes.

There are many beautiful antiques which have been subjected to rough
usage or through some accident have had the oxidation rubbed off
in parts. To clean such an antique so as to secure uniformity of
appearance would be a mistake. It is better to "restore" the finish
and imitate that which age has imparted. The solution required is 60
gr. nitrate of silver and 2-1/2 oz. water, mixed with a solution of 60
gr. nitrate of copper and 2-1/2 oz. water. After the solution has been
applied to the parts the object should be heated in a gas-oven until it
is sufficiently dark coloured.

Some time ago an expert in Indian antiques, bronzes, and metal-work
published in _The Times of India_ an account of how Oriental bronze
and brass which had been soiled and scratched by time and climatic
conditions might be restored. The writer went on to describe how the
great secret of restoring the dull half-green and half-brown shades
had been revealed to him. The remedy he propounded was simple in the
extreme. It was that the statue should be washed in beer, which should
not be rubbed off but allowed to dry on.


Using the Burnisher.

The amateur restorer may frequently with advantage acquire a knowledge
of the burnisher, and thereby add much to the beauty of the metal.
Those who have watched an old coppersmith planishing copper-work, and
have noticed the very primitive materials used, will have learnt to
realize the value of "elbow grease." Crocus powder with oil and soft
rags works wonders, and will often bring up the original finish just as
the coppersmith converts the rough dull polish of the metal sheets he
has fashioned into domestic copper ware and shining pots and pans.


Brass Rubbings.

Rubbings of church and memorial brasses referred to in Chapter VII may
be taken with heel-ball, which is a compound of beeswax, and plain
white paper. When the brass has been evenly rubbed all over the picture
is complete and ready for mounting. It should then be cut out and
pasted on a prepared surface of fine canvas or calico, thus giving the
rubbing an appearance like tapestry. It can be touched up in colours,
if there is any heraldic enamelled work on the original. It can then be
sized and stretched on a frame ready for hanging on a wall.



INDEX



INDEX


  African curios, 309-311

  Alms-dishes, 140-143

  Altar brasses, 142-143

  Amulets, 33, 373-375

  Ancient art, 70-72

  Ancient bronze, 38-41

  Aquamaniles, 101, 326

  Arab influence, 267

  Architectural metal-work, 121-124

  Arms and armour, 106-109

  Art influence, 128

  Ashanti curios, 309

  Ash-trays, 365

  Astrolabes, 25


  Badges of metal, 102

  Ball and cross of St. Paul's, 143-144

  Barometer of bronze, 341

  Barrows, ancient, 25

  Bath, 56

  Battersea enamels, 31, 357

  Bell founding, 43

  Bell-metal, 43, 217-219

  Bells, 217-226, 282, 309

  Benares brasswork, 280

  Benin bronzes, 307-309

  Betel-nut boxes, 26, 278, 282

  Betel-nut cutters, 279

  Bidri ware, 26, 277

  Bilston enamels, 31

  Boadicea, Queen, 91

  Boiling-pots, 98-101

  Bowls, 84

  Brass (of commerce), 42-43

  Brass instruments, 340-345

  Brass making, 45-46

  Brass rubbings, 393

  Brasses, 26

  Brazier, 26

  Braziers' Company, 117

  British Museum exhibits, 59, 65, 168, 309, 326, 350, 356, 357

  Bronze, 27

  Bronze Age, 38, 66

  Bronze alloys, 27

  Bronze celts, 25

  Bronze implements, 69

  Bronze knives, 25

  Bronze reaping-hooks, 72

  Bronze saucepans, 283

  Bronzes and their replicas, 249-258

  Bronzes, Greek, 79-81

  Bucklers, bronze, 28, 69

  Buckles, 105

  Bullock bells, 279

  Burnishing metal, 293


  Caldrons, 83, 160, 164

  Candle clock, 208

  Candles, 199-204

  Candlesticks, 139, 140, 195-211, 301, 350

  Card counters, 29

  Central Africa, curios from, 310, 311

  Champlevé enamel, 30

  Chaufferette, 28, 128

  Chatties, 28

  Chimney ornaments, 184-188

  Chinese bronzes, 41, 42, 283-288

  Chinese enamels, 352-355

  Chinese influence on art, 131

  Church brasswork, 137-151

  _Circe-perdu_ process, 28, 277

  Cirencester curios, 54

  Cisterns and taps, 322

  City guilds, 116-121

  Civic emblems, 231-235

  Classic bronzes, 254

  Classified arrangement, 188-191

  Cleaning copper and brass, 388-390

  Clockmakers' Company's collection, 336

  Clocks, 329, 334-339

  Cloisonné enamels, 30

  Coffee-pots, 264, 268

  Continental copper and brass, 317-326

  Cooking-pots, 160

  Copper as alloy, 44-47

  Copper mining, 44, 45

  Copper pans, 167

  Copper sheathing, 377

  Coppersmith, the, 37

  Counters of brass, 29

  _Couvre de feu_, 29, 102

  Cromwell clocks, 336

  Crusaders' effigies, 26

  Crusaders' relics, 311

  Cups, 271

  Curfew, 29


  Daggers, bronze, 69

  Damascened metals, 29, 277

  Dialling, 30

  Domestic brasswork, 96-102

  Domestic utensils, 155-191

  Door knockers, 124-127

  Drinking cups, 175

  Dutch brasswork, 321

  Dutch influence, 264


  Egyptian bronzes, 267

  Ember tongs, 30

  Enamels, 30, 42

  Enamels on copper, 349-358

  Engraving on copper, 61

  Exeter Museum exhibits, 183, 239

  Ewers, 277


  Fibulæ, 31, 71

  Fire-making apparatus, 87, 196-199

  Flagons, 175

  Flagstaff head, 235

  Foot-warmers, 183, 322

  Forgeries, 74

  Founders, 217-219

  Founders, Worshipful Company of, 46, 97, 118, 236

  French art, 321


  Gemellions, 101

  German metal-work, 325, 326

  Gipcieres, 31, 106

  Greek bronzes, 41, 42, 249

  Greek curios, 79-92

  Guildhall Museum exhibits, 83, 96, 103, 168, 183, 241, 364

  Guild of Loriners, 107


  Hand basins, 326

  Handles and handle-plates, 367

  Hand-warmers, 28, 128

  Historic bells, 219, 220

  Hob-grates, 178

  Hooker bases, 31, 271

  Horns, 232

  Horse trappings, 370-371

  Houseplace, the contents of, 175-184

  Hull Museum exhibits, 342


  Idols, 80, 293-298

  Indian bronzes, 272

  Indian Museum exhibits, 274-280, 294

  Indian vessels, 28

  Inkstands, 357

  Italian bronzes, 319


  Japanese bronzes, 41, 42

  Japanese enamels, 352-356

  Japanese metals, 28


  Kaffir bangles and girdles, 311

  Kashmir curios, 278

  Kettles, 83-87, 380

  Kitchen utensils, 159-175

  Knockers, 368


  Lacquering metal, 390-392

  Lagos brasses, 309

  Lamaistic temple relics, 281, 297

  Lamps, 88, 92, 195-211, 278, 279, 282

  Lanterns, 207-211

  Later metal-work, 115-132

  Latten, 31

  Limoges enamels, 30, 321, 350

  Local museums, 59

  Lock plates, 131

  Log boxes, 180

  London Museum exhibits, 59, 70, 71, 91, 180, 207

  London relics, 69, 70

  Lucknow curios, 26, 277


  Mace, 235

  Mansfield mines, 44

  Maundy alms-dish, 116

  Mediæval antiquities, 95-109

  Memorial brasses, 144-151

  Metal and its alloys, 37-49

  Microscopes, 342

  Microscopic engravings, 381

  Milk cans, 322

  Miniature bronzes and models, 257, 258, 345

  Miscellaneous metal curios, 363, 384

  Mirrors, 32, 73, 87, 267

  Monumental brasses, 26

  Moradabad brasswork, 280

  Mortars, 32, 226, 268

  Muff-warmers, 183


  National Museum, Washington, 203

  Native metal-work, 305-311

  Nepal metal-work, 274, 278

  Nomenclature of metals, 27

  Norman remains, 57

  Nuremberg clocks, 339

  Nutmeg graters, 163


  Oil lamps, 207-211

  Opaque enamels, 31

  Oriental bronzes, 265-288


  Patchboxes, 350

  Patera, 73

  Patina, 32

  Patine, 32

  Persian metal-work, 271

  Pilgrims' signs, 32, 103

  Pins, 105

  Pipe-stoppers, 30, 364

  Pipkins, 180

  Pocket clocks, 334

  Polishing brass, 392

  Porridge-pots, 163

  Portrait placques, 358

  Pots and pans, 168

  Prehistoric bronzes, 65-75

  Pricket candlesticks, 203

  Processes of enamelling, 350-351


  Replicas, 381-383

  Restoring antiques, 392

  Ritual vases, 301

  Roasting-jacks, 160, 167

  Roman bronzes, 41, 249

  Roman curios, 79-92

  Romano-British art, 90-91

  Rushlight holders, 200


  Saracenic influence, 264

  Saucepans, 83, 172

  Saxon remains, 57

  Scales, 241

  Sinhalese metal-work, 282

  Skillets, 170

  Snuff-boxes, 350, 366

  Snuffers, 204

  Snuff-rasps, 366

  Sources of metals, 43, 44

  South African curios, 311

  Spanish metal-work, 319

  Spectacle cases, 365

  Spice-boxes, 278

  Spirit labels, 356

  Spits, 160

  Spurs, 107

  Stafford House exhibits, 59

  Standard measures, 236, 239

  Standard weights, 240

  Statues, 89

  Statuettes, 187

  Sundials, 30, 329-334


  Tankards, 175

  Temple vases, 298-301

  Thibet tea-urns, 281

  Tinder-boxes, 196

  Tobacco-boxes, 364

  Toilet requisites, 86

  Tower of London exhibits, 107

  Trinkets, 104-106

  Trivets, 179

  Trumpets, 69, 321

  Turkish metal-work, 226


  United Service Museum exhibits, 220, 379

  United States National Museum, 210


  Verulamium curios, 54

  Victoria & Albert Museum exhibits, 59, 84, 101, 126, 131, 139, 180,
    183, 220, 250, 268, 298, 318, 321, 342, 375


  Wallace collection exhibits, 109

  Warming-pans, 180, 183

  Watches, 339

  Watchmen's lanterns, 208, 211

  Water jars, 227

  Weather-vanes, 33, 123

  Weighing instruments, 236-239

  Weights and measures, 242-245

  Welsh National Museum exhibits, 59

  Winchester bushel, 236

  Winchester moot horn, 232

  Winchester Museum exhibits, 236

  Wrinkles for collectors, 387-393

  Writing boxes, 264


              UNWIN BROTHERS, LIMITED, LONDON AND WOKING


Transcriber's Notes

Minor punctuation errors have been corrected.

There are a few inconsistent hyphens, and these have been left as
printed.

In the list of the books in series "CHATS ON OLD MINIATURES. By J. J.
Foster, F.S A" has been changed to "F.S.A."

p83. "like one round" changed to "found." The illustration and it's
companion blank page (p243 and 244) appear between p241 and 242 in the
Internet Archive scan from which this text has been derived. It has
been moved to the correct place.

p287. A single occurrence of cloissoné has been changed to cloissonné,
the spelling found in the rest of the text.

p397. (Index) "Boadicea, Queen, 99-91" changed to "Boadicea,
Queen, 91."





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translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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