Wednesday, 10 August 2011

S is for Sankey

To continue my alphabet of British Arts and Crafts metalware - S is for Joseph Sankey & Son - JS&S



Perhaps not the most highly regarded of makers and even at their best they are not comparable to the likes of Omar Ramsden or Liberty's Cymric, but they made some very attractive and quality products. Items marked JS&S can be found in almost ever antique fair, shop or market and usually the seller has no idea who made them ! So after a bit of Googling I will try and shine a light on their pedigree.


Joseph Sankey (1826 - c1886) established in business in Bilston in the Black Country making blanks for the japaning industry and it would appear that the business was a success gradually absorbing other firms and expanding the range of products to include pressings for the then cutting edge electrical industry.


At some point c1890 until c1914 decorative brass and copper wares were introduced with hollow wares such as the many jugs, trays and domestic items seen today. Within these some where decorated with fashionable art nouveau or arts & crafts inspired patterns. I can't find any references to the designer of these patterns. These patterns where pressed into the metal, often with faux hammer marks. Some probably did have hand finishing but most were produced on an industrial scale. The company introduced the "Neptune Art Ware" range during this period and often you will find registered design numbers on items which protected the firm from others copying their successful designs.


From c1915 JS&S expanded into making car bodies and wheels, more industrial items rather than domestic hollow ware, pictured here. The firm continued suuccessfully for many years eventually becoming part of the GKN group of companies. The site of the Bilston factory is now a Morrisons supermarket.

For a better and fuller history of the firm go to - www.gracesguide.co.uk/Joseph_Sankey_and_Sons or www.englishmetalware.com/JSS.htm
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