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Alex Ritchie's work was inspired by the ancient Celtic and Viking carvings on Iona.He is regarded as one of the most respected and sought after Scottish silver jewellers of the 20th century.The milk jug is in the form of a brandy saucepan (perhaps it is!), with straight sides and a sparrow beak spout, and polished malachite handle.The style of the lettering in the makers mark is quite distinctive, the font is a little crude, distinctly different from the real Eley, Fearn & Chawner mark.The Chinese Export silver collectors guide (4th edition, pg 763-767) says this maker remains unidentified, but was responsible "for an astounding production of silver items, almost all in the European ne...The letter opener is a substantial size and weight, a quality item, and is a pleasure to use.
He emigrated with his family in 1936 from Austria to South Africa to escape Hitler, and became one of Johannesburg's leading silversmiths.He was commissioned by the South African Government to make the official wedding present for Queen Elizabeth in 1947 (a silver box with diamond necklace), he also made silver for Ernest Oppenheimer (cigar box, bowls and dishes).He died in a car crash in 1971 aged 66, in 1977 a book of his work was published. An interesting Zambian Arts and Crafts sterling silver and malachite milk jug, sugarbowl and sugar spoon, made by the most prestigious jewellery company in Zambia.The crest is under an Earl's coronet, so these forks probably belonged to the 9th or 10th Earl Hamilton.The hallmarks on both forks are clear, the makers mark is worn but visible.
(All information courtesy of Alexander Ritchie website, see link on our links page.