American Silver 1670-1830; The Cornelius C. Moore Collection at Providence College, edited by Alice H. Hauck. 1980. 156 pages. $39.75. (JCK Data Center OK-001) To order call (608) 244-6210.
If you enjoy the refined simplicity of 18th century New England silver, you’ll like this catalog of an outstanding collection of early American silver owned by Cornelius C. Moore, a Newport, R.I., attorney and civic leader who left the collection to Providence College. Moore died in 1970 before the collection was cataloged. The catalog began as a project in a senior seminar on art historical research taught at Providence College during the 1978-’79 academic year.
Each student working on this volume selected an area and time period that interested him or her. The group prepared an extensive bibliography on American silver and silversmiths. Then each student read the articles and books relevant to the craftsmen represented in the Moore collection from his or her chosen area or period.
The result is a collection of essays on the silversmiths. It’s a tribute to the possibilities of undergraduate group scholarship and to Moore’s thoughtfulness in donating his library as well as his silver collection.
The book is easy to read and the black-and-white photographs show good detail. More than 70 silversmiths are represented, including famous makers such as Paul Revere and Jeremiah Dummer.
Only 1,000 copies of the book were printed, which makes them a coveted possession. Another reason this book is valuable is that since 1980, when it was printed, the college sold the Moore Collection at auction. A friend of mine, a curator, attended the auction and recalls how the Jesuit priests of Providence College cheered when the pieces were bid up to high prices.
Silver historians are fortunate this book survives as a lasting tribute to a valuable collection.
&endash; Robert M. Johnston, R.M. Johnston & Associates, Baltimore, Md.; JCK Book Judge.
ART OR SCULPTURE
One of a Kind: American Art Jewelry Today, by Susan Grant Lewin. 1994. 224 pages. 208 color, 42 black/white illustrations. $49.50. (JCK Data Center AA-048) To order call (212) 206-7715.
I consider this more a book for artists than for jewelers. It’s about jewelry as an art form, focusing on the artist-as-jeweler concept and stressing that art jewelry is not craft jewelry or the latest creation of a famous designer. Neither is it fine jewelry, fashion accessory or costume jewelry.
What, then, is it? Art jewelry is exactly what the name implies: primarily, works of art; secondarily, wearable pieces of jewelry. This book explores what art jewelry is and highlight artists who have influenced this area in the past few decades.
The bulk of American Art Jewelry Today is the portfolio of 53 jewelry artists. The artists use an unbelievable variety of materials to create their jewelry: twigs, utensils, ribbons, acrylic, shards of the Berlin Wall, broken glass, postage stamps, leather, silk, buttons. Each artist’s portfolio includes beautiful color photographs of his or her creations and a biographical sketch. This is what makes the book valuable. The photographs themselves tell only half the story; getting a glimpse into the artist’s background, education and experience gives the art greater meaning.
At one point it’s said the book could just as aptly be called American Small-Scale Sculpture, and I agree. It’s much more about an eclectic artistic movement than a jewelry movement. It’s an ideal book for a coffee table or as a resource to artists who are interested in creating artistic jewelry.
– Roma Strong Zanders, Timio 24K Custom Designs, Tempe, Ariz.; JCK Book Judge.
The Top 300 Trade Secrets of a Master Clockmaker, by J.M. Huckabee. 1994. 111 pages. 134 illustrations. $22. (JCK Data Center JA-016) To order call (513) 661-3838.
J.M. Huckabee is a most ingenious clockmaker who practiced his trade for more than 50 years. This book is one of the best clock-repair instruction guides for novice and experienced clockmakers. It covers more than three dozen main topics, including “Trade Secrets Practiced in American Antique Clock Restoration,” “Bearing Practices and the Winding Arbor,” “Wheel Assembly Techniques,” “Screw Making,” “Worn Pivots and Pivot Holes,” “Good and Foolish Tools,” “Straightening That Wheel Wobble,” “Escapement Set-up” and “Time Train Study.” Still others concern the lathe and the making of many hand tools.
Included are many original and valid safety precautions, along with many excellent photographs.
While the instruction covers general repairs to the Connecticut-type of clock movement, it’s universal in application. I highly recommend the book.
– Henry B. Fried, JCK horological editor; JCK Book Judge.