George Wickes

(1698—1761) goldsmith

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(bapt Bury St Edmunds, 7 July 1698; d Thurston, Suffolk, 31 Aug 1761). English goldsmith. He registered his first marks in 1721-2, giving his address as Threadneedle Street; his earliest known extant works, two silver mugs (priv. col), date from this time. In 1730 he moved to Norris Street and entered into a partnership with John Craig, which continued until 1735, when Wickes moved to the King's Arms, Panton Street, and began working independently. In that year he was appointed goldsmith to Frederick, Prince of Wales, and the ledgers of his business (London, Garrard & Co.; V&A) record the numerous commissions from royalty, aristocracy and gentry, and are the only surviving examples from the 18th century, indicating that Wickes built up a large and successful enterprise. Such members of the Prince's circle as Francis, Lord North (later Earl of Guilford), who ordered tureens from Wickes in 1735 (priv. col.), may have been influential in his appointment. The Pelham Gold Cup (1736; priv. col.), designed by William Kent and made for Colonel James Pelham, Private Secretary to the Prince of Wales, is one of Wickes's most important works; the design was reproduced by John Vardy in his book Some Designs of Mr Inigo Jones and Mr William Kent (1744) and was widely copied by later London goldsmiths. The elaborate silver-gilt centrepiece (1745; Brit. Royal Col.) made for the Prince by Wickes was also based on a design by Kent. Most of Wickes's work is in the exuberant Rococo style popularized by the Prince, for example the 170-piece dinner service (1745-7; priv. col.) made for James Fitzgerald, 20th Earl of Kildare (later Duke of Leinster; 1722-73).


From The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.

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