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Ernestine Mills (English, 1871-1959)

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European Furniture & Decorative Arts - 2481
Date / Time :
October 24, 2009 11:00AM


Ernestine Mills (English, 1871-1959) Arts & Crafts Enamel-mounted Silver Plate Jewelry Casket, sarcophagus-form, the slightly peaked lid chased and embossed with hammered lobing, the finial formed as a flower bud centered by a baroque pearl, the front panel of body set with a finely enameled roundel of a red-haired angel proffering a crown, the sides with small lifting handles, and the back panel chased and embossed with a winged heart, interior with purple fabric lining, one corner of underside of base with lightly etched signature Ernestine Mills over initials EM, ht. 5, wd. 6, dp. 4 7/8 in.

Note: Ernestine Mills was not only a noted enamelist and metal-worker, but also a fervent political activist and suffragette. She studied at the Slade School and the Royal College of Art under the celebrated enamelist Alexander Fisher (1864-1936), who helped to revive the art of enameling during the Arts & Crafts period. Mills was a member of the Society of Women Artist's which was established in 1865, and served at one point as their Acting President. Mills exhibited at various shows and galleries during her life, and was also featured in the influential magazine The International Studio. Among her works in decorative arts and jewelry, Mills is known to have produced enameled badges promoting the Votes for Women movement, one of which is on the collection of the Museum of London. Examples of Mills' work are also held in the collections of The Museum of London, Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum, and Leighton House Museum.
Estimate $3,000-5,000

good, with minor overage light age wear. small scratch at escutcheon (approx. 1/2 in.) and light scratch to silver at left of enameled roundel (approx. 1/4"). fabric lining with some wear/staining. lacking key.


Ernestine Mills, political activist, fervent political activist, Alexander Fisher, Royal College of Art, Slade School, Society of Women, Acting President, The International Studio, London, Votes for Women, Museum of London, Cheltenham Art Gallery, Leighton House Museum, The Museum of London, Glass art, Mills, pottery, Vitreous enamel