Art Deco, sometimes referred to as Deco, is a style of visual arts, architecture and design that first appeared in France just before World War I. Art Deco influenced the design of buildings, furniture, jewelry, fashion, cars, movie theatres, trains, ocean liners, and everyday objects such as radios, vacuum cleaners and even Decanter Labels. It took its name, short for Arts Décoratifs, from the Exposition internationale des arts décoratifs et industriels modernes (International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts) held in Paris in 1925. It combined modern styles with fine craftsmanship and rich materials. During its heyday, Art Deco represented luxury, glamour, exuberance, and faith in social and technological progress.
A fine cased set of six Art Deco Silver & Enamel Decanter Labels, by Turner & Simpson, Birmingham 1933.
The Deco movement became popular throughout the world between 1925 and 1940, although it quickly fell out of fashion during World War II. It was a combination of several different styles and movements including Cubism, Modernism and Art Nouveau.
At its height, the style was seen as elegant, glamorous, functional and very modern.
It had an emphasis on richly-coloured and geometric patterns, new materials and
styles and a decorative approach to modernism.
The shapes, colours and style of the period, including the distinctive text, are perfectly illustrated by these striking Labels.
Two sets of 3 Art Deco Silver & Enamel Decanter Labels, by Turner & Simpson, Birmingham 1933- 1937, one with lemon yellow enamelling and one black & white.
Two pairs of Art Deco Silver & Enamel Decanter Labels, by Turner & Simpson, Birmingham 1933- 1937, with black, blue and white enamelling.
The makers, Turner & Simpson Ltd (1912-1979), of Legge Lane in the Birmingham jewellery quarter, were well known manufacturers of a variety of good quality silver and enamel wares including Toilet Articles, Cigarette Cases, Boxes, Clocks, Candlesticks, Vases, Manicures, Medals, Badges, Powder Compacts,and sets of enamelled Spoons.
During the two World Wars, like
most manufacturing plants in Great Britain, production was given over to the war effort. It is poignant to note that in the 1918 DIRECTORY OF MANUFACTURERS IN ENGINEERING AND ALLIED TRADES, the firm's war work was listed as:
Fuse part stampers and gauge makers.
Capstan work. Fork ends and control rods for S.E.5 aeroplanes.
Flat gauges. Turnbuckles. General badge work. A.G.S. shackles.
The 1939-45 enforced departure from the usual production is also intriguingly placed between two distinct spells of manufacture of these silver and enamel decanter labels. I have noted the original Deco labels dated between 1933 and 1939, and then a second tranche produced post-war with dates ranging from 1949-1965. Although the second batch look at first glance to be reproductions of the earlier examples, there are subtle differences (see images below). Gone are the engraved Deco 'skyscraper' type cubes and contrasting engine turned decoration, to be replaced by a blander 1950's styling. The distinctive 1930's text is also dropped. It appears that only one shape of label was made in this later period, the broad rectangular form with concave cut-corners. The lovely Deco shaped examples are confined to the earlier group.
We have a nice collection of these Art Deco Labels in stock, including a rare composed cased set of six from 1933. Details can be viewed here.