Steppes Hill Farm Antiques Newsletter #59 - July 2016

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Two from a series of finely enamelled silver Vesta Cases produced by Sampson Mordan & Co in the late 19th century depicting women dressed in uniforms of professions that they were banned from. Quite provocative and risqué at the time.
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It is calculated that while most men worked, only one-third of all women were in employment at any time in the 19th century. There were only men in the army and navy, in shipbuilding, construction, printing, railways - to list some major occupations - and only male scientists, engineers, priests, City financiers and Members of Parliament.

Women Jockeys

Women were banned from racing under Jockey Club rules in the UK until 1972, when after many years arguing, a series of a dozen races was approved for female jockeys. Meriel Patricia Tufnell overcame childhood disability to ride the novice Scorched Earth to victory in the first race, the Goya Stakes at Kempton Park on 6 May 1972.

Eliza Carpenter (1851 - 1924) was an early African-American race horse owner. In Ponca City, Oklahoma, she trained horses for racing, becoming one of the few African-American stable owners in the West. When dissatisfied with the way a race was going, she sometimes would ride her own horses as a jockey, winning some races.

The first woman jockey was Alicia Meynell of England. She first competed in a four-mile race in York, England in 1804. In 1906 Lula Olive Gill became the first female jockey to win a horse race in California; later that same year, Ada Evans Dean rode her own horse to victory after her jockey had become ill. Indeed, Dean won twice - in spite of never having raced before.

Although women jockeys were barred from riding at registered race meetings, in the mid-1900s Wilhemena Smith rode as Bill Smith at north Queensland, Australia. She was nicknamed Bill Girlie Smith because she arrived on course with her riding gear on under her clothes and did not shower on course. It was only at the time of her death in 1975 that the racing world was officially told that Bill was really Wilhemena. Subsequent inquiries proved that William Smith was actually a woman who had been born Wilhemena Smith in a Sydney hospital in 1886.

Women Posing as Sailors

Seagoing careers were closed to women during the sailing ship era. A woman might disguise herself as a man and assume a fictitious name; but if she was discovered, her career would be over. The only way for most women to take part in running a merchant vessel before 1900, when sailing ships reigned supreme, was through marriage or by being the captain's daughter.

Many women went to sea to find adventure, to support themselves financially, or to be near a sweetheart or husband. How were they able to disguise themselves for extended periods of time? Most women posed as young boys, for during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, many sailors began their careers at sea by the age of eleven. Of course the women had to perform the same daily routines as the men to avoid detection. Many became known for their ability to climb the rigging on the ship or to fight in battle. A few women were discovered when wounded or killed in action, and a few gave up the disguise to be sent home. The return to ordinary life was difficult, for they faced ridicule for their unladylike conduct.

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A rare pair of South Staffordshire enamel Cassolettes c.1775, the inverted baluster forms decorated with gilt floral motifs within a pink cartouche edged in green and dark blue on a turquoise ground, with further gilt and blue detailing to the covers, sconces and feet, with gilt metal mounts, some good restoration, 18.5cm.

Cf. Bonhams, The Mort and Moira Lesser Collection of English Enamels, 19th October 2011, lot 50 for a similar pair with painted panels. A related pair from the Ionides Collection are illustrated in B & T Hughes, English Painted Enamels, p.19, pl.3.

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Victorian Novelty Silver, Enamel & Parcel Gilt Scent Bottle - Hunting Scene Fine George III Cast Silver Gilt Leopards Pelt Wine Label 'Port' Victorian Novelty Silver & Enamel 'Milestone' Vesta Case Victorian Cast Silver Vine Leaf Caddy Spoon
Edwardian Silver Double Coil Dispenser Stamp Box - Golfing Interest Large Edwardian Novelty Silver Owl Pin Cushion Victorian Novelty Silver & Enamel Egyptian Mummy Propelling Pencil Pair Victorian Silver Porcelain & Enamel Menu Stands "Giralda"

Once again I am pleased to be able to update the site this month with some more new items of stock and highlights include; a Victorian Novelty Silver, Enamel & Parcel Gilt Horseshoe Scent Bottle painted with a Hunting Scene, a George III silver gilt "Leopard's Pelt" Wine Label by Paul Storr, a Victorian Novelty Silver & Enamel "Mile Stone" Vesta Case, a Victorian cast silver vine leaf Caddy Spoon, an Edwardian Silver Double Coil Dispenser Stamp Box with Golfing Interest, a large Edwardian Novelty Silver Owl Pin Cushion, a Victorian Novelty Silver & Enamel Egyptian Mummy Propelling Pencil by Sampson Mordan, and an unusual pair Victorian Silver Porcelain & Enamel Menu Stands with shipping interest - "Giralda".



A Memorial Lecture in honour of
William ('Billy') Buck

We now have a special event planned for our September 7th meeting

The first in an annual series of lectures in honour of Billy (William) Buck, our President who died last year, on a subject in Ceramics which would have been close to his heart, and by a lecturer whose expertise would have delighted him.

Paul Crane will deliver an illustrated lecture entitled:

'A Question of Attribution: A chinoiserie- moulded Worcester teapot'

Wine reception beforehand

The meeting will be held at
St Dunstans Church Hall, 80, London Road, Canterbury, CT2 8LS at 7.00 for 7.30

Tickets £5.00 are available in advance by post or email from Dr Virginia Webb.
Tickets at the door £7.50.

01227 452563 / [email protected] / 2, Alcroft Grange, Tyler Hill, Canterbury CT2 9NN.

Please make sure to check out the latest articles in our Blog, for all the latest news in the silver world and some other interesting features

I do hope that you will find this Newsletter informative and helpful and will allow us send it to you on a regular basis. I would welcome any feedback you may have, both positive and negative.

David W.A. Buck.
Steppes Hill Farm Antiques