David Hart © D.Morris
designed and made by Julian Hart
Workshop © D.Morris
Specialist Profile - David Hart
...Harts is still sited in George's original studios, in The Old Silk Mill, off Sheep Street not far from the centre of Chipping Camden. Visiting their workshops you find very little has changed. Forty year-old invoices, designs and drawings hand from hooks in the low beamed ceilings. The same wooden workbenches, pitted by years of cuts and knocks, are crowded with wonderfully worn implements, their wooden handles stained and polished with use, and the sound of hand-beating the silver – 'planishing' – is the same sound the visitor would have heard a century ago.
House and Garden, June 1999.
Hart Gold and Silversmiths
...The text books leave the Chipping Camden experiment at around the outbreak of the First World War, the ostensible end of the dream. So it is surprising to learn that Ashbee's legacy is alive and well in his Cotswolds idyll. Ashbee et all were always designers rather than craftsman. The craftsmanship was left to artisans rather than the effete band of Arts and Crafts aesthetes. George Hart was one of the original silversmiths who moved with the Guild of Handicrafts from London to Chipping Camden in 1902. From 1912 he took over the running of the workshops and was joined in 1930 by his son, Henry. Now George Hart's grandson, David Hart is left to uphold the tradition of exquisite work of the Guild of Handicraft.
Hart's consists of four individual silversmiths, (including David Hart's son and nephew) who share the work and the costs involved in running the business and the expensive materials. Their work is a mix of private commissions and presentational silverware, reproductions and the ever-present market for ecclesiastical silverware. David Hart says that less of their work now comes from the church although it remains a steady stream, much of it consisting of the replacement of stolen objects and artefacts.
Hart's doors are always open to the public and they are happy to show visitors around the workshops which are little changed from the original buildings which Ashbee and his associates moved into in 1902. Hart's maintains the afterglow of the fantastic burst of creativity and idealism which characterised the Arts and Crafts movement.
Church Building, March/April 1999.
Silversmiths Time Capsule
Ancient cracked plaster peels away from the walls on the bare oak staircase up to the first floor workshop. Inside bills dating from the early 1940's hang from the low, beamed ceiling; antiquated tools and price lists from long defunct bullion dealers line the walls, and the only automation in sight is an archaic hand-worked silver rolling machine.
The scene is Hart Silversmiths, in a quiet side street in the Cotswold town of Chipping Campden.
It reminds the visitor of the wedding dress scene from Dickens Great Expectations; it is a time capsule.
Financial Times Weekend May 21/22 1994