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Cleveland is one of those great old American cities that just don't get respect.  Its Cuyahoga River was so polluted that twice in the last century (1952 and 1969) it caught on fire.   


But Cleveland was a thriving center of Arts & Crafts metalwork.  Its Potter Studio and Rokesley Shop produced lovely objects, as did the partnership of Jane Carson and Frances Barnum.  Carson and Barnum worked in the very first years of the movement, concentrating on smaller pieces and jewelry, sometimes enameled. 


In an excellent article on the Cleveland School (Silver Magazine, May/June 2005) author Leslie Marting provides some important information on these gifted artists:


"Jane Carson graduated from the [Cleveland School of Art] in 1899, a classmate of Horace Potter and student of Louis Rorimer. She subsequently studied in Boston but returned to Cleveland and worked briefly with Frances Barnum, the two of them specializing in small silver objects and jewelry using enamel and semiprecious stones… Barnum was active in Cleveland only from about 1902 to 1905. Carson married Amos W. Barron, a successful businessman, in 1908… Barron went on to work with Mildred Watkins, another Cleveland School of Art graduate (1901). "


The bracelet below is a fine piece, but not as detailed as others by Carson and Barnum that we've seen.  It is nicely crafted -- the three small loops joining the plaques on each side give it a strong linear look and easy movement, and the applied ornament, bead and wirework are somewhat reminiscent of Edward Oakes or Laurence Foss


Typical mark:






Carson and Barnum bracelet -- front

Bracelet, with alternating ornamented silver links (5) and cut-corner black onyx links (4). 

7" L and 3/4" W

B within C / STERLING

Carson and Barnum bracelet -- back

The backs of the onyx plaques are open -- while the bracelet still has a solid, weighty feel, this technique makes it a bit lighter on the wrist. 


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