All four of these rare and stunningly handsome sterling silver Champagne flutes were designed & made by British designer & silversmith Robert May.
One pair was commissioned to commemorate the 1977 Silver Jubilee of Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's 25 year reign as British Monarch. The 2nd pair dated 1978 were later commissioned by the same client, possibly as a precaution in the event one or both of the earlier flutes were either damaged or lost. All exemplifying Post-Modern period design elements, with each flute featuring a slender stem comprised of a series of 24 segmented & oxidized turnings rising from a turned foot to meet a trumpet-shaped bowl exhibiting a subtle gilded interior. The series of 24 turnings on each stem together with the turned foot equates to 25, which was designed to numerically symbolize the 25 year reign of Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II.
All bearing London hallmarks, two with Silver Jubilee mark & date mark for 1977, together with the two later flutes bearing date mark for 1978, all with makers marks for Robert M. May.
In addition to their unique & aesthetic value, it is also worth noting their considerable combined weight, which totals 1024 grams, or 32.92 troy ounces.
Included with the purchase of these truly rare, custom designed & commissioned champagne flutes, is a copy of their original working drawings with handwritten notations by Robert May, along with a redacted copy of the original invoice on Southern Design Workshop letterhead dated Dec. 1977, and a redacted copy of an evaluation dated Dec. 1980, both signed by Robert May.
Measurements: 6.25" high x 3.5" wide at the rim
A rare set of four sterling silver champagne flutes by Robert May
Robert May trained in Silversmithing and Jewellery design at the Canterbury College of Art from 1953 until 1958. Soon after completing his courses, he began work in 1962 at the Medway College of Design, where he remained for nearly 30 years developing silversmithing & jewellery courses. As a direct result of those efforts, including being the Colleges principal lecturer as well as maintaining his own design studio on site, Medway College of Design became internationally recognized as a major centre for courses in the field of silver & jewellery design. He was sought out for several noteworthy commissions, including two Royal Commissions, one being that of a mace for Her Majesties Royal Palace & Fortress ‘The Tower of London’, and a Baptismal Spoon for the ‘Chapel Royal’ - part of the Royal Household serving the spiritual needs of members of The British Royal Family. In 1988 Robert May received the Garrard Gold Medal, which is an annual award given by The Goldsmiths’ Craft & Design Council in recognition of a person’s contributions towards promoting & demonstrating the highest standards within the field of Silversmithing and Jewellery Design.
Ref: Royal Goldsmiths: Garrard Design and Patronage in the Twentieth Century, Nell-Rhys Williams, page 62.
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Ernest Johnson Antiques
613 741 8565