Tracing a Silversmith’s Family
We were recently commissioned to do some research by Geoffrey Munn, managing director of Wartski of Grafton Street, London W1 and jewellery expert on the Antiques Roadshow. He had an interest in the work of Gilbert Leigh Marks (1861-1905) and wanted to find relatives alive today who might have information or perhaps photos of him.
Marks was a talented silversmith and metalworker who, despite his career being cut short by ill health and an early death, produced perhaps 700-800 pieces. His work is recognisable by its use of patterns taken from nature and he was considered one of the finest art silversmiths working in the Arts and Crafts tradition. Marks lived in Croydon and married Florence Elizabeth Ford (1864-1917) in 1888. The couple had no children and the aim of our research was to find living relatives of Florence’s large familyof brothers and sisters, some of whom had been left pieces of Marks’s work in his wife’s will.
We then went on to trace descendants of Marks’s assistant, Louis Movio, an accomplished metal worker and silversmith in his own right. Movio was born in Milan in about 1857/8 and also died young, aged only 43, in Birmingham.
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