West face of St Martin's Cross,
overlooking the Sound of Iona

Attractive brooch with longship in full sail - an Alexander Ritchie design. This one has revers markings of CAI, SCOTLAND, STERLING, and impressed DB mark for Hamish Dawson Bowman. c.1950.

This penannular brooch was first designed by Alexander Ritchie in the early 1920s, and proved very popular. The design was later used by the Charles Horner works and Scottish silversmith Robert Allison among others. You can see Ritchie's original design under "Penannular Brooches" on this site. This example was made by Robert Allison, and has an Edinburgh hallmark. It dates from c.1960.

The Birmingham silversmiths Darby and Sons made occasional outworker pieces for Alexander Ritchie during the later part of the ICA period in the 1930s. After Ritchie's death they continued production of a few of his designs, occasionally adding coloured enamel decoration, although well-known designs such as the Marriage Brooch, the Serpent Brooch and other penannular brooches were left exactly as Ritchie had made them.

The brooch above was made in 1946, and is one of Ritchie's shield brooches with Darby's addition of attractive cobalt and turquoise blue enamels. The hallmarks are AHD &S and Birmingham hallmark for 1946.

Another Scottish silversmith who was very influenced by the work of Alexander Ritchie was Robert Allison. The penannular brooch above is a fine early example of his work, dating from 1943 (the earliest example of Allison's work I have come across). This was made just two years after Alexander and Euphemia Ritchies' passing. Ritchie made a penanular brooch identical to this one (see under Pennanular Brooches), but with a smooth undecorated shank. The terminals are identical on this brooch to Ritchie's pre-war version. The pin on this brooch is interesting as it is also a Ritchie design, and is hallmarked. Later pins by Robert Allison were of a different shape on this same design of brooch.

Attractive Alexander Ritchie-inspired longship brooch with rather 'jumbled' knotwork border (not up to AR's standard!). Possible makers John Collie. Glasgow hallmark for 1954.

Silver bracelet with six sections depicting a longship in full sail, interspersed with spiral design spacers. This is a very attractive continued Ritchie design made by S&Co and having Chester halmarks for 1953. Ritchie's influence was widespread and a number of silversmiths continued some of his popular desings, (or varied permutations/combinations of them to avoid copyright infringement..) through until the late 1970s. S&Co may well have been outworkers for the Ritchies themselves, as pieces are known pre-1939, and this particular piece is a quality example of AR's original unmodified longship design. (See under the 'Other Items' section of this site for this same design but made 30 years earlier by Alexander Ritchie as a pair of cufflinks).

Silver sword and shield brooch from c.1950, from an Alexander Ritchie design. The reverse marks are CAI , Scotland, Sterling.

Small is definitely beautiful in the case of this tiny little St Martin's silver cross brooch, made by Celtic Art Industries in the late 1940s. It is only just over 1" long by less than 1/4" wide, but the detail is very fine. A most attractive little brooch. Reverse marks of CAI Scotland - Sterling.

Very unusual sterling silver brooch in the form of a knotwork cross, possibly the original brooch was designed by Alexander Ritchie himself, as the raised style of lettering on the reverse was used him on several pieces. This one is slightly later and is by Celtic Art Industries (CAI), dating from the 1940s. It is stamped CAI STERLING SCOTLAND, and the raised lettering is a tribute to the founder of the original early medieval stone-built Abbey on Iona. It reads - IONA, REGINALD MACDONALD - FOUNDED ABBEY 1203 - OBIT 1207.


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© 2004 by David James