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Walker & Hall locomotive cigar box, 1949


A massive and extremely impressive, Sterling silver cigar box made by the well-respected Sheffield firm of Silversmiths Walker & Hall, and commissioned as a presentation piece in 1948 and gifted to leading Welsh industrialist Hugh Vivian (1884-1956). This grand box, of sarcophagus-form, has a hinged lid with facetted sides, and bears the inscription ‘Presented to Hugh Vivian, Chairman Beyer Peacock Group of Companies 1937 to 1949, 10th May 1949’ with nineteen facsimile signatures of directors of the Beyer Peacock group. Acting as the lid finial, is an outstandingly-well detailed silver Garratt-style locomotive set on a section of track.

Length: 14 inches (36 cm)
Depth: 6 inches (15 cm)
Height: 8 inches (20 cm).

Featuring all of the most recognized design influences of Art Deco, the box has a scalloped gallery foot reminiscent of Ruhlmann, a stepped geometric-design thumbpiece and diamond shaped panels to two sides and a central diamond cartouche to the front. The original and perfect sycamore-lined interior evidences the fact that this box is in virtually unused condition, maintained by the presence of its original hardwood travel case with inlaid ‘H.V’ monogram and lift-out cradle. The body, lid, train and track all hallmarked Walker & Hall, 1948.

Hugh Vivian was a member of the Vivian family of Swansea - the most notable descendant being Richard Glynn Vivian, founder of the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. In 1923, Vivian and Sons Ltd commissioned the first industrial Garratt locomotive, ever ordered for service in Great Britain. The Garratt freight locomotive was remarkably powerful and was supplied all over the British Empire from the early 20th century until 1968.

Production from the Vivian & Sons Ltd metal and chemical company site in Hafod, Wales represented a quarter of the entire UK copper trade in the early 1900s and in 1928 the company was absorbed by the conglomerate ICI, although copper continued to be rolled from the Swansea sites until 1980.

Price Code: ££££

Reference: 6314

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