silk mill bw

hart gold and silversmiths

Church and Heritage Building Journal, 1999

“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 al 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 Handicraft from London to Chipping Campden 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.”

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