Omar Ramsden (1873-1939) - Caddy Spoon 1936

Omar Ramsden (1873-1939) - Caddy Spoon 1936 - Image 1 Omar Ramsden (1873-1939) - Caddy Spoon 1936 - Image 2 Omar Ramsden (1873-1939) - Caddy Spoon 1936 - Image 3 Omar Ramsden (1873-1939) - Caddy Spoon 1936 - Image 4 Omar Ramsden (1873-1939) - Caddy Spoon 1936 - Image 5
Omar Ramsden (1873-1939) - Caddy Spoon 1936 - Image 1
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Materials: Silver mounted chrysoprase

Maker: Omar Ramsden (1873-1939)

Origin: London

Date: 1936

Weight: 49 gms

Dimensions: 3⅜ in.

This spoon was acquired from Omar Ramsden by Major General Sir Charles Herbert Powell, K.C.B. (1857-1943). Powell, educated at Winchester and then Sandhurst he served most of his life in the Indian Army, becoming Colonel of the Gurkha Rifles in1916, a position he held until his death in 1943. He married Alice Mackenzie (d.1917) of Craig Park, Dumbartonshire in 1889. He was made K.C.B. in 1917, and in 1918 and 1919 he controlled the operations of the British Red Cross Society in Serbia. Their only son, Rhys, was killed in action at the Battle of Aisne, 14th. September 1914 aged 22.

Whilst Powell was in Missouri visiting his brother-in-law, William C. MacKenzie, The Kansas City Star of December 8th 1929 quotes his forthright views and experiences during the First World War.

Sir Charles lived at Wickam in Hampshire and it was from there that he corresponded with Ramsden on the commission of this spoon and a large number of other items in the autumn of 1938 and through 1939. The surviving invoices show that purchases began in 1938. At Christmas that year, when Sir Charles acquired seven items from Ramsden including this spoon, he had also returned a bowl with a cost of £5 5s, spending £41 18s 6d in all.

This spoon is described as ‘…..a hand-wrought silver jeweled Sugar Spoon as selected’ at a cost of £1 11s 6d. The following entry on the invoice may well be a mistake as it reads ‘To extra cost of crystals in place of green stones: 7s 6d’, which presumably was intended to be the reverse – Ramsden replacing rock-crystals with the green chrysophrase stones now seen.

In February of the following year Sir Charles commissioned a large salver from Ramsden engraved with a coat-of-arms, ‘….as design and estimate approved’ for 40 guineas, so clearly the General and the silversmith were working closely on these commissions. The salver was a great success, Sir Charles writing to Ramsden a note of thanks in late April 1939, to which Ramsden replied ‘Your very kind letter gives me much pleasure, as always when a piece if (sic) my work has such an appreciative reception’ and he goes on to promise to call on Sir Charles, presumably in Hampshire, during the coming summer.

During that summer Sir Charles purchased a further piece – an “Iris” spoon, for £2 2s. followed by second large purchase of 17 pieces including “Clematis”, “Thistle” and “Seal” pattern spoons. Also included were a mazer coaster, another tray, a crystal jug and two bowls, for a total cost of £60 4s. These items all appear on an invoice dated 24th. November 1939, rendered by Mrs. Omar Ramsden, her husband having passed in August that year.