These charming little silver owls made by the illustrious Sampson Mordan & Co., flew into McTear’s as part of a large and impressive collection of silver which will be featured in the forthcoming June Silver Auction to be held on 7 June. Fashioned as menu card holders, the owls with their big orange eyes would be a hoot at any dinner party.
Symbolically representing wisdom and femininity, the owl was the sacred companion of the Roman Goddess Minerva. Often depicted in full battle armour with her owl by her side, this fearsome female was also goddess of commerce and the crafts – which seems a fitting symbol for Samson Mordan to adopt as he was known as both an inventor and silversmith. Mordan produced a number of different creatures as menu card holders, including pheasants and foxes. He also incorporated animal shapes and motifs into the designs for his propelling pencils – which he and his colleague John Isaac Hawkins, invented together.
These owls are sure to attract great interest in the forthcoming Silver auction.
In recent sales great bidding has come in on bird and animal shaped items. The March Silver Auction featured a silver Dutch-style creamer in the form of a cow for £320 and in April, an early 20th-century German novelty silver reticulated etui modelled as a fish sold for £340.
The complete catalogue for the 7 June Silver Auction will be available online soon.
Written by Claire Douglas