Sunflower Tool Rests
Design attributed to either Thomas (1827-1881) or Henry Jeckyll (1838-1917)
Made by Robbins & Co., Dudley, England c. 1879
Similar in spirit to the well-known sunflower andirons introduced three years earlier that were produced by Barnard, Bishop and Barnards, this pair of tool rests was made by Robbins & Co. of Dudley, according to their design registration of May 10, 1879. Either Thomas Jeckyll or his younger brother Henry is probably responsible for their design. As Susan Weber Soros and Catherine Arbuthnott have written: “Although [Thomas] Jeckyll produced most of his metalwork designs for Barnard, Bishop and Barnards, he possibly worked, albeit indirectly, for Robbins and Company, Dudley…. Jeckyll’s younger brother Henry, who was also a brass founder, is known to have worked for [Robbins & Co.]. Conceivably, Henry, who was responsible for his brother’s effects … brought some of Jeckyll’s designs, both old and new, to the Robbins firm. The timing somewhat bears this out.”¹
Indeed, one of Thomas Jeckyll’s most elegant designs, a sconce, was registered by him prior to his being committed, but was produced afterward by Robbins & Co.
¹ Soros, Susan Weber and Catherine Arbuthnott. Thomas Jeckyll, Architect and Designer, 1827-1881. New York: Bard Graduate Center, 2003, pp. 233-234.