Omar Ramsden was one of the leading designers of silverware in England. Born in Sheffield in 1873, he spent several childhood years in Illinois, USA before returning to the UK in 1887 where he was apprenticed to a firm of silversmiths. Having picked up some of the technicalities of his trade, Omar went to the Sheffield School of Art and won a number of awards and prizes; it was whilst at the art school he met Alywn Carr - with whom he was to form one of the 20th century’s most successful silversmith partnerships - the pair took a year out to travel extensively through Europe before setting up their own studio in London where they employed a team of enamellers and engravers. Their work enjoyed huge popularity during the early part of the 20th century; Omar was the commercial brains of the partnership and gained many institutional and ecclesiastical commissions. When the partnership broke up in 1919, he kept on the London studio and the staff, where he continued working until his death in 1939.
Omar Ramsden’s work is still hugely popular with collectors who appreciate the blend of technical skill and aesthetics. Ramsden’s earlier pieces from the Ramsden & Carr studio are influenced by the fluid lines of Art Nouveau, and are much sought after by connoisseurs of the period. Later pieces, when Omar was working on his own, are stamped with the mark ‘OMAR RAMSDEN ME FECIT ‘ (‘Omar Ramsden made me’); this later work shows a more medieval influence and has a distinctive, hand wrought appearance. The market’s bouyant for good examples from this period.
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