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Phil Barnes – A Craftman's Journey

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Phil Barnes M A S T E R E N G R AV E R E N A M E L L E R A Craftsman s Journey Linda Barnes Gordon Hamme

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PB History Amd qxp_Layout 1 12 06 2020 11 22 Page 6 History Heritage This detailed history has been brought together using notes made by Phil and a diary record by his father Charles It includes memories of conversations with his wife Linda and extracts from interviews he gave to Gordon Hamme for his PhD thesis Charles recorded the first day of his working life in a small red notebook Phil Barnes Phil was born on 29th January 1952 in Fulham London christened Philip Edward Barnes after the Prince and called Phil except when he was in trouble with his Mum then it was Philip To understand how Phil came to be an engraver and enameller we need to look back at his family history and how life was in the London of the 1920s starting with his father s entry into the jewellery trade at the age of 14 October 1926 Misty damp foggy day small fair haired boy goes home for sandwiches and tells his Mum I ve got the job returned to G K Sons to be told I was being put to work with the son of G T West the manager of the jewellers department also that I would have to report at 7 45am to the main jewellery workshop because the boys had to sweep the floor before the men arrived to start work Charles Frank Barnes Phil s father Charles Frank Barnes was born the eldest of four brothers in Southwark London on 28th August 1912 His father died when Charles was still a boy It must be remembered that at that time there were no social benefits social housing or National Health Service for families to fall back on so Charles needed to find a job to support his family And now follow me said the jewellery office manager Mr Telford who led me out of the main building in Little Britain and through a door next to Georges caf up four flights of stairs the fourth and last flight being just bare dirty steps We arrived at the top and I was introduced to Mr Frank West who was practising as an enamel artist enameller and engraver There were two rooms divided by a passage Now in this passage was a mountain of rubbish old tea leaves orange peel and anything else you Mr Telford asked me my name and I told him Charlie he said Oh blimey I ve already got two of them if I shout Charlie I ll have three of you come running What s your second name 4 could think of I want you to clear all that up Fred I must explain something here that has puzzled so many over the years My real name in full is Charles Frank Barnes when Mr Telford asked me my name and I told him Charlie he said Oh blimey I ve already got two of them if I shout Charlie I ll have three of you come running What s your second name I told him Frank once again we had Oh gor blimey I ve got one of them as well I ll tell you what I ll call you Fred the name I ve been known by in the trade all my life and that s how it came to be

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PB History Amd qxp_Layout 1 12 06 2020 11 22 Page 7 In his description of his first day at work Phil s father Charles now to be known as Fred throughout his professional life touched on his age he was only just 14 having not long had his birthday at the end of August that year He would have found out about the job possibly by word of mouth or more likely from a Boy Wanted card in the showroom window He also tells of starting work at 7 45am what he doesn t say is that he had probably already walked some two miles from East Street in Southwark South East London to get there Fred finished his first morning at work clearing the passageway of its mountain of debris old tea leaves rancid milk bottles fruit peelings and the disregarded rubbish of a crowded workshop and when lunchtime approached he took the sandwich his mum had made him and went across to Postman s Park and cried Postman s Park is a quiet oasis one of the largest parks in the City of London in the middle of a busy office area a few yards from Goldsmiths Hall which houses the London Assay Office Formerly the graveyard of St Botolph s church it gained its name of Postman s Park because it was used by postmen from the GPO offices and large Post Office in King Edward Street that runs behind the park The Park is home to the Memorial of Heroic Self Sacrifice a project raised by the painter and sculptor George Frederic Watts as part of a tribute during Queen Victoria s Golden Jubilee celebrations The memorial consists of twenty four handpainted glazed Royal Doulton tiles recording the stories of dramatic and heroic deeds which occurred within the London area around the 1800 1900s Fred went back to work after lunch despite his first morning s experiences and apart from a slight interruption due to a certain Mr Hitler continued to practice his trade up until he retired in 1982 Phil recalled the details of Fred s life gleaned from family conversations during a series of interviews For some reason Dad put his first day at work down in words these were the only recollections he ever wrote down and it is a great shame he didn t continue To have had first hand the everyday account of the routine of a workshop would have been intriguing and a great social history document which is sadly now lost Charles Frank Barnes centre with his three younger brothers and mother circa 1930 Postman s Park London EC1 formerly the graveyard of St Botolph s church and home to the Memorial of Heroic Self Sacrifice 5

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PB History Amd qxp_Layout 1 12 06 2020 11 23 Page 25 The Dunwich Bowl Sterling silver hand engraved and enamelled with an amber cabochon top knop 180mm diameter 110mm high made in 2014 The idea for the design came from Dunwich beach on the Suffolk Coast Phil walked there on a regular basis with his dog and observed the changes of the seasons the differences in the light and the qualities of the wide open skies found in that part of the world He also noticed the variety of wild flowers and plant life which existed in such a harsh environment He put together a collection of images he had taken with his camera when he was out walking one day the pebbles lichen grasses the plants and flowers The details for the enamelling incorporated elements from the photographs sea holly kale ragwort thistles and cow parsley with the pebbles and low grasses being used on the foot of the bowl 23

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PB Objet Amd qxp_PB Objet Amd 12 06 2020 11 46 Page 5 Butterfly Bowl Sterling silver potpourri bowl hand pierced inner lid and hand engraved and enamelled outer lid 13cm diameter 10cm high made in 1992 Phil originally conceived this piece with a handblown green glass base however this was changed to a spun silver bowl with engraved and enamelled butterflies Phil did later collaborate with glass engraver Katharine Coleman to produce the Clerkenwell Bowl the piece was almost identical in shape to the butterfly bowl with a blown glass base and silver lid 34

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PB Objet Amd qxp_PB Objet Amd 12 06 2020 11 46 Page 6 Tazza Dish Sterling silver dish hand engraved and enamelled 155mm diameter made in 2008 This piece was first exhibited at British Silver Week at Goldsmiths Hall in 2008 and featured on the advertising posters for the event It stands on a silver base with a decorative pierced out design supported by four clear glass legs 35

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PB Objet Amd qxp_PB Objet Amd 12 06 2020 11 46 Page 7 Floating Material Lidded Beaker Sterling silver hand engraved and enamelled with gold plated inner beaker and hand pierced inner lid 70mm diameter reducing to 55mm at the base 110mm high dish diameter 145mm made in 2009 This beaker contains a secret personal message in Morse Code carefully incorporated into the bright cuts on the silver material folds The beaker originally stood alone and was sold at the Pangolin British Silver Week exhibition in 2011 to the organiser Gordon Hamme He commissioned Phil to add an engraved and enamelled dish to support the piece as well as a gold plated inner beaker with a pierced lid creating a rich and exquisite piece 36

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PB Henn Amd qxp_Layout 1 12 06 2020 12 51 Page 5 Henn of London 18ct white gold rings with aquamarine tanzanite and diamonds hand engraved and enamelled Photograph by J rgen Cullmann Lichtblick Fotodesign 66

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PB Henn Amd qxp_Layout 1 12 06 2020 12 51 Page 6 Henn of London The bird that caught the sky 18ct white gold pendant with aquamarine and diamonds hand engraved and enamelled Photograph by J rgen Cullmann Lichtblick Fotodesign 67

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PB Henn Amd qxp_Layout 1 12 06 2020 12 52 Page 15 Henn of London 18ct yellow gold pendant brooch with Mandarin garnet and diamonds hand engraved and enamelled Photograph by Terry Benson 76

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PB Henn Amd qxp_Layout 1 12 06 2020 12 52 Page 16 Henn of London 18ct yellow gold necklace with Mandarin garnet and diamonds hand engraved and enamelled Photograph by J rgen Cullmann Lichtblick Fotodesign 77