Christopher Dresser & The Celtic Revival

Elkington Flagon and Chalice

Shown above is a sterling silver Chalice, and matching Jug, possibly designed by Christopher Dresser. The Chalice is one of the earliest known items of Celtic Revival silverware, being hallmarked for Frederick Elkington, Birmingham, 1876, while the Jug is hallmarked 1887.

Christopher Dresser (1834 - 1904) is credited as the first industrial designer. His earliest published designs appeared in 1856, in Grammar of Ornament by Owen Jones, and Dresser went on to become a founder and leader of the "Aesthetic Movement". This decorative style, initially inspired by Japanese art and design, was fashionable across the English and American markets from the mid 1860's to 1890's.

Dresser is most famous for pioneering modern design with functional and geometric silverware, introduced in the late 1870's. The Elkington Chalice pre-dates Dresser's modernist silverware and may be Dresser's earliest known production in silver.

These two items suggest that Dresser's first silverware designs were in the "Celtic Revival" style, and that Dresser was the first designer of the Celtic Revival, which became a major theme of the British Arts and Crafts movement from the end of the C19th through to the early C20th.

Christopher Dresser & The Celtic Revival