Fivemiletown Class letter holder
A repousse copper letter holder made by the Fivemiletown Class from County Tyrone in Northern Ireland.
The Fivemiletown Class was started in the 1890s by Mary Montgomery who was the wife of a wealthy estate owner, Hugh Montgomery. The Class was part of the Home Arts and Industries Association and exhibited annually at their exhibition in the Royal Albert Hall in London. The Class won much acclaim and both John Williams and Mary Williams provided both designs and tuition to the class for many years. Other designs were produced by Mary Montgomery and her husband and some of the more skilled workers, including Patrick Roche.
The letter holder is very finely worked and made from a good gauge of copper. The design of swimming fish is most likely one by John Williams who provided very similar documented designs for the Newton School of Metal Work. An example of this particular design was displayed as part of a small exhibition of Fivemiletown Class metalwork in 2014. The display was part of the celebrations for the restoration of the Fivemiletown clock which was made by the Class in 1902 and is fitted to the Courthouse building on the town’s main street. The BBC covered the story and the display can be seen in a short video clip:
The pieces displayed are most likely from the Blessingbourne Estate which was once the Montgomery family home.
Dimensions: 9″ wide by 9 1/2″ high and 3 3/4″ deep
Condition: There is a ding on each side and a 1/2″ split on one side where the top section meets the holder (see images)