Rare Set of Mackintosh Cutlery Goes to Glasgow School of Art

New York August 06 2012. A rare set of cutlery designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh will be presented to the Glasgow School of Art by the Taffner family just days before the sale of the collection of Donald L. Taffner, iconic independent television producer and his wife Eleanor B. Taffner at Lyon & Turnbull on the 7th September 2012.

The Taffner's Greenwich Village home, dating from 1822, has one of the largest Collections of Designs and Works of Art from the early 20th century in North America. Valued at over £1 million, of particular note are the furniture, drawings and paintings of Scottish designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

The cutlery set, commissioned by Jessie and Fra Newbery, is one of only twelve place settings designed by Mackintosh in 1902, comprised of a soup spoon, a dessert spoon, a dinner fork, and a dessert fork and is valued between £5,000-8,000.

The commission was handled by a jeweller's in Glasgow, Edwards & Company, and the cutlery was made by D W Hislop, a Glasgow silversmith who worked with Mackintosh on other projects. All of the cutlery was later divided equally between the Newberys' daughters, Mary and Elsie; Mary's pieces were sold separately during the 1970s and 1980s.

Donald Taffner, Jr. said "My parents links with The Glasgow School of Art started with their passion for Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow School. In 1986 they created the post of Taffner Mackintosh Curator at the Glasgow School of Art (GSA),. They also established an American Friends of GSA to support the school's links with the USA. It seemed fitting to me and my sister Karen that we should present this set of cutlery to the Glasgow School of Art in memory of our parents."

In 1996 the Taffners supported Glasgow Museums' Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibition, which toured in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. In the same year Eleanor was awarded the prestigious 'Lord Provost's Medal' for her contribution to the arts in Scotland, and in 2005 the couple were presented with a 'Wallace Award' at the Icons of Scotland Dinner John Mackie Director and specialist at Lyon & Turnbull said "The Taffners have made an extraordinary contribution to Scotland's cultural heritage. In 1996 the Taffners supported Glasgow Museums' Charles Rennie Mackintosh exhibition when it showed on tour in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. They were life members of the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Society and in recognition of their support for Mackintosh and the arts in Scotland; the Taffners were presented with a Wallace award at the Icons of Scotland Dinner hosted by Scotland Magazine in 2005."

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