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Title: Elkington & Co. and the art of electro-metallurgy, circa 1840-1900
Author: Grant, Alistair
ISNI:       0000 0004 5365 5748
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2015
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This is the first major art historical study of Elkington & Co., the British art-metalwork company that from c.1840 invented and patented methods of electro-depositing gold and silver, which they developed artistically and commercially into the modern industrial art of electro-metallurgy. It analyses how Elkington's syntheses of science and art into industrial manufacturing processes revolutionized the design and production, replication and reproduction of precious metalwork, metal sculpture, and ornamental art-metalwork, and why the art of electro-metallurgy, the world's first electrical art, exemplifies the social, and cultural change of the mid-Victorian era. This PhD thesis studies Elkington's technical development from c.1840-1900, analyzing how they developed new methods of gilding and plating, and important collateral technologies. It identifies key people in the company, and analyses the chronology of scientific discoveries that shaped the industrial processes and artistic practices at their manufactories in Birmingham. It then analyses the development of the company's creative strategy, and identifies key people whose artistic contributions collectively shaped the evolution of the art of electro-metallurgy. It provides the first study of Elkington as non-precious metals manufacturers, identifying and analyzing the key artworks that they produced in copper and copper alloys as 'bronzists,' and examines how Elkington applied the art of electro-metallurgy to the manufacture of monumental statues. By critically analyzing key sculptures it demonstrates how Elkington became the preeminent British bronze foundry of the mid-Victorian era. It concludes with a study of Elkington & Co.'s oeuvre from 1851-1878, and analyzes how their art of electro-metallurgy was influenced by the technical and stylistic eclecticism of l'orfèvrerie française of the French 2nd Empire. It describes how, from 1853- 1899, Elkington employed three Frenchmen as their chief artists: Pierre-Emile Jeannest, Auguste Willms, and Léonard Morel-Ladeuil, who further elevated the company's artistic reputation. It concludes with a detailed analysis of Elkington's masterpiece, The Milton Shield (1867) and analyses how its publication as electrotype reproductions in America exemplified the art of electro-metallurgy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: NK6400 Metalwork