Carl Poul Petersen Museum Worthy Vintage Sterling Silver Floral Wreath Brooch
Alternating flower heads, seedpods and acorns accompany the beautifully fluid scrolls and leaves of this remarkable and incredibly rare brooch wrought in sterling silver by master silversmith Carl Poul Petersen.
I purchased this gorgeous wreath brooch of flowers, seeds and acorns in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada at a vintage fair held at the Chateau Laurier Hotel in the 1980s. I loved the realistic depiction of the plants and seeds that Petersen was able to achieve with my favourite metal – sterling silver.
Danish born Peterson apprenticed with Georg Jensen 1908-13, and married Jensen’s daughter Inger, in 1922. The couple relocated to Montreal in 1929 where Peterson worked as master smith at Henry Birks & Son from 1932.
In 1944 he left that firm to open his own shop assisted by his three sons.
Petersen's work is highly collectible and this brooch is a wonderful example of his jewellery collection. Other pieces including flatware and hollowware including tea services and candlesticks can be found in the National Gallery of Canada, The McCord Museum, Winnipeg Art Gallery and The Museum of Fine Arts in Canada.
I have yet to find another wreath brooch featuring the fauna of this one.
Critics comment that “Carl Poul Petersen's style had never strayed far, nor shown much experimentation, but was a consistent and fine product throughout its existence. His production line kept naturalistic elements, although his time in Canada brought about an addition of traditionally Canadian wild life and floral motifs to his Danish repertoire”.
According to the Material Culture Review “ Quebec-born householders whose trousseaus were formed in the late-forties to the seventies especially treasure their silver pieces, and kept adding to them faithfully until the company closed. Some Petersen silver has now been handed down to second and third generations in families as gifts or bequests.
The hallmark on the reverse of this brooch features a Viking ship profile with the initials "PP" above and the words HAND MADE STERLING. The stamp on the right hand side is a lion's head enclosed in the letter "C", the official mark used by registered Canadian silversmiths after 1934.
Sadly, C.P. Petersen and Sons closed its doors in 1979 after silver scarcity and price fixing made the cost of silver products prohibitive. Many of Petersen’s pieces were melted down for scrap.
According to the Material Culture Review “ Quebec-born householders whose trousseaus were formed in the late-forties to the seventies especially treasure their silver pieces, and kept adding to them faithfully until the company closed. Some Petersen silver has now been handed down to second and third generations in families as gifts or bequests.”
Highly collectible and reflecting the Danish Arts and Crafts style that suits many modern styles globally Petersen pieces are treasured by their original and new owners alike.
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All mistakes or omissions are the author’s own.
Copyright Audra Daws-Knowles 2019.