Ashford Black Marble pen rest
October 27, 2011 3 Comments
At Buxton Museum and Art Gallery we have a large and unique collection of Ashford Black Marble objects. The collection contains over 200 items including tables, jewellery, obelisks, candlesticks, thermometers and a window. A lot of these items are on permanent display in the petrifaction shop in the ‘Wonders of the Peak’ gallery.
Thanks to the Enlightenment! project we added to our collection by purchasing the silhouette socle and our latest addition is a pen rest. What made this piece stand out for us was the subject matter (the bird) and the label on the reverse. The label reads;
‘Mawe’s Original Royal Museum, Matlock Bath; Near the rotunda, Cheltenham, and 149, Strand, London. Where are constantly on Sale, A great variety of Italian and Derbyshire Ornaments, beautifully copied from the Antique, by the most skilful workmen. Minerals, Shells, Corals &c. scientifically arranged. Diamond engraving’.
Mawe (1766 – 1829) was born in Derby but left Derbyshire to work as a merchant sailor. During his seafaring days he became interested in mineralogy and began to collect stones and shells. He returned to Derbyshire in 1794 and married the daughter of Richard Brown, a mineral dealer, marble worker and proprietor of the Royal Museum in Matlock Bath. Mawe became part of the family business and managed the London store ‘Brown, Son & Mawe’ in Covent Garden. Mawe published ‘The Mineralogy of Derbyshire’ in 1802.
If you want to find out more about Mawe then read the Peak District Mines Historical Society bulletin (volume 11, Number 6, Winter 1992).
Mawe and Brown’s story intertwines with that of John Vallance who started his career at the Royal Museum before establishing his own rival museum next door. It was Vallance’s museum that originally sold the Ann Rayner engraving of Matlock Tor that we were outbid on in July 2011.