Maker's mark HH
Cabochon Lapis mounted to finial19cm
This spoon was illustrated in the Bonhams catalogue for the touring exhibition organised by John Kelly in November 2007Helen Holmes was a true artisan, who not only made jewellery but also painted, worked in leather and produced metal ware. Yet she modestly described herself as a "Metal Worker" and never ventured out of her hometown of Bath. Born in 1876, she was a feisty and witty character, a far cry from the quiet, retiring ideal for a woman at the time. She grew up in a time when women were battling for emancipation and was committed to pursuing her chosen career. In 1896, she eventually won the consent of parents to attend the Bath School of Art, at a time when women had only recently been allowed to attend art schools. She was almost 30 years old by the time she married as she refused to be rushed, exhibiting widely and working for various artistic bodies rather than raising children. Indeed, marriage and children did not impede her prolific production and she carried on working until well into her eighties, living to the grand old age of 96. She became a close friend of John Betjeman after she was widowed and he regularly commissioned pieces from her as gifts.