‘Remember Alexander Ritchie, for many years custodian of this Abbey, and his wife Euphemia Catherine Thomson, who together revived the Celtic arts and crafts on this island.’
These are the opening words of E. Mairi MacArthur’s book on the work of Alexander and Euphemia Ritchie on Iona at the beginning of the 20th century. The couple’s shop sold their handmade jewellery and objects including salvers, trays, chalices, watch cases and jewellery. Drawing direct inspiration from the Celtic works of art on the Island including carved stones, the items represent a true revival of this style and can be seen as part of the wider arts and crafts movement. Jewellery is perhaps most seen of the couples’ output at auction, with brooches and penannular pins being the most common.
In The Jewellery Auction on 16 December, there are two such pieces in lot 292. Estimated at £100-200 these present a great opportunity to purchase an affordable but very important piece of Scottish decorative arts history.
Rarer to sales are necklaces and McTear’s is delighted to have one such piece in the same sale. Lot 295 is a fine cross pendant on a chain, the cross with Celtic decoration set to a chain with ornate rectangular links. Estimated at £250-350 this one is sure to be on the wish list of many collectors and will perform well on the day.
Do you have jewellery to sell or are you curious as to its potential value? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for free, no obligation auction estimates, or come along to the Valuation Days at McTear’s on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays for complimentary auction advice.