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2006/161/1 Presentation trowel, silver/ gold / ivory, used by Lizzie Henrietta Harris to lay the foundation stone of the Great Hall of Sydney Town Hall, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1883, made by William Kerr, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, c. 1883. Click to enlarge.

Presentation trowel used in laying the foundation stone of Sydney Town Hall

Made
This trowel was used in laying the foundation stone of the Great Hall of Sydney Town Hall on 13 November 1883.

It relates to the history of a prominent Sydney family. Lizzie Henrietta Harris, to whom the trowel was presented by aldermen of the city, was wife of John Harris, Mayor of Sydney. Their daughter Mary Ann was herself Mayoress of Sydney in 1888 and 1889, during the five terms in which her father was Mayor.

It was made in the workshop of William Kerr (1838-1896), a leading …

Summary

Object No.

2006/161/1

Object Statement

Presentation trowel, silver/ gold / ivory, used by Lizzie Henrietta Harris to lay the foundation stone of the Great Hall of Sydney Town Hall, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1883, made by William Kerr, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, c. 1883

Physical Description

Triangular presentation trowel in silver with undulated edge at the curved silver shank resting on a ball support. Blade inscribed in the centre within a fern engraved border: 'Presented / by the / ALDERMAN / of the / CITY OF SYDNEY / to the Mayoress / MRS JOHN HARRIS / on the occasion / of the laying the / FOUNDATION STONE / of the / GREAT HALL/ of the / TOWN HALL / Sydney / 13th Nov 1883'. The inscription begins near handle and progresses down the blade towards the tip and is framed by a large gold spray of Australian flowers including a banksia and native pear. A small eagle on a wreath is attached to the downward sweep of the shank and above the inscription. The floral spray emanates from the shank and is secured to the sides of silver blade with [gold] pins, some of which are missing. The turned, slightly waisted ivory handle is decorated in low relief with longitudinal acanthus leaves and berry-like decoration to the end, and applied with an openwork [gold] cipher including the initial 'H'.

Marks

Makers mark, underside of blade at edge, stamped, 'W. KERR' enclosed in rectangle.

Dimensions

Width

97 mm

Depth

53 mm

Weight

283.5 g

Production

Notes

The presentation trowel was made by William Kerr in Sydney in 1883. It is the only known surviving example with such inticate Australian floral decoration.

History

Notes

This presentation trowel was used by Lizzie Henrietta Harris in laying the foundation stone of the Great Hall of Sydney Town Hall, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia in 1883.

Source

Credit Line

Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by John Atkinson, 2006

Acquisition Date

18 December 2006

Cite this Object

Harvard

Presentation trowel used in laying the foundation stone of Sydney Town Hall 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 26 October 2021, <https://ma.as/360279>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/360279 |title=Presentation trowel used in laying the foundation stone of Sydney Town Hall |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=26 October 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}