The Die-stamping of Metalware in Eighteenth Century England
My MA dissertation was a study of the role of die-stamping in the design, production and distribution of ornamental metalware in England in the eighteenth century. Development of the high pressure drop stamping process, an English innovation of the mid-eighteenth century, which allowed larger items of tableware and other goods to be made by stamping, was examined in particular detail.
Though later associated with mass production and minimal cost, I found that the initial development of die-stamping was primarily driven by the pursuit of high quality in volume production of luxury or semi-luxury goods. In this context, consistent high quality over a large production run, almost impossible to maintain with hand craft methods, was more critical than maximum volume or cost saving.
My dissertation indicated some of the ways in which die-stamping has enabled high design, from a late eighteenth century silver candlestick to the Jaguar E-type car bonnet, allowing innovations in shape and ornamentation that would have been difficult or impossible to achieve by hand craft methods alone.
School of Humanities
MA History of Design, 2016
+44 (0 )7910 063993
I'm particularly interested in the interaction between design and the introduction of volume production methods and imitative materials in the early modern manufacture of semi-luxury goods.
Design and production could interact in ways that made objects created with partly-mechanised methods or imitation materials more desirable than hand crafted objects of high intrinsic value. Methods which imitated hand craft such as transfer printing on ceramics to emulate hand-painted decoration, or the stamping of thin sheets of malleable metal into steel dies (die-stamping) to give the appearance of decorative hand chasing. Materials such as foil-backed faceted glass to imitate the appearance of precious gemstones, or laminated sheets of silver and copper (Sheffield plate) to imitate the appearance of solid silver.
- BA Intellectual History, University of Sussex, 1977; Postgraduate Certificate in Education, University of Oxford, 1979; Graduate Certificate in the History of Art and Architecture, Birkbeck College, 2011
- Extended career in IT consultancy, including time as a senior management consultant with EY and with Deloitte. Now working part-time as a consultant for a leading UK charity, while exploring ways of continuing my research.