Jane Short (born 1954)

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Vase made by Clive Burr from two spun and raised sections of Britannia silver with a solder seam between the top collar and the body, on a black slate base. Champlevé and basse-taille enamel and engraving all over the body by Jane Short. Height 20.5 cm. Marked: Jane Short, London.

One of the earliest pieces on a large scale by the artist enameller Jane Short. The Company commission left her free to choose the subject. She based her design on precise observation of the subtle graduations of colour and texture on a jay’s wing. She submitted two design drawings; the finished vase is remarkably close to the approved drawing except that she was asked to make the rim of the neck wider.

The commission gave her scope to experiment with champlevé enamelling: “That was the starting point of my love for the technique; subtle but resonant enamel colours mixed like painterly watercolour over a rough-cut silver surface of varying depths… I was happily caught up in my own dialogue with the enamel…The longer you work with a material the more you see when you have made a technical error, such as bubbles or cracking in the enamel, controlling the surface texture… and most importantly how the enamel reacts with the metal onto which it is fused”.

Her notebook, reproduced here with her kind permission, shows that she worked for 219 and a half hours on engraving, grinding and preparing pigments, and successive enamel firings. 


For two Court Cups in the Goldsmiths’ Company Collection enamelled by Jane Short, special and very personal commissions by Victoria Broackes and Richard Madeley in 2019 see here.