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Robert Riddle Jarvie was a functionary at the Chicago Department of Transportation before the turn of the century, and as a hobby began making lanterns and the tall, graceful candlesticks for which he is best known.  In 1904 or 1905 he left his job and started the Jarvie Shop in downtown Chicago, where he and his wife, Lillian Gray, sold handmade copper and brass items in the shop along with some Arts & Crafts items made by others.


After 1905 Jarvie began working in silver and gold, and produced impressive holloware items and trophies.   One of his customers was Arthur Leonard, head of the Union Stock Yard Company, who in 1912 convinced Jarvie to move his shop to a cottage in the stockyards.  Jarvie created numerous trophies there, including a bronze box for AMPA (American Meat Packers Association) designed by George G. Elmslie that has become a trademark Jarvie item, and a very modern picture frame.  Unfortunately, the war years took their toll on his business, and before 1920 he closed his shop, and became a salesman at the C. D. Peacock store. 


John Petterson, who eventually founded the Petterson Studios, and Knut Gustafson, who later founded the Chicago Silver Company, were both assistants in Jarvie's shop. 


For a 1911 article about

Jarvie, click here


A 1911 article in the Fine Arts Journal praised Jarvie for using "aboriginal American" motifs in his iconic and highly acclaimed sterling Cliff Dwellers punch bowl.    Jarvie "obtained a plaster cast of an original prehistoric Indian (cliff dweller) bowl, and adapted the design for the silver bowl from this."   The bowl was presented to the contemporary Cliff Dwellers Club of Chicago.


Mark on AMPA box:

Robert R. Jarvie mark

Mark on copper bowl:

Robert R. Jarvie copper mark

Mark on silver pitcher:

Robert R. Jarvie silver mark


Jarvie produced a wide range of metalwork, from humble bowls and bookends to massive trophies, tea sets, pitchers, and punchbowls, many with elaborate applied monograms or inscriptions.  Both the design and execution of his silver and copper objects are at the top of the scale.  He's best known today for his series of copper and brass candlesticks, each named after a Greek letter (he would silverplate them on occasion as a special request).  He did produce some jewelry but this is extremely rare.


Robert R. Jarvie pendant on chainRobert R. Jarvie pendant on chain

Jarvie pendant on chain, pierced and tooled surfaces with large central pointed oval bezel-set chrysophase stone below two pierced pointed tabs that each support a smaller oval bezel-set chrysophase stone drop, with a similar oval bezel-set chrysophase stone drop at the bottom.  Paperclip chain.   Pendant:  2" H and 3/4" W.  Chain:  16-3/4" L.  Signed: JARVIE / STERLING


Robert R. Jarvie hatpinRobert R. Jarvie hatpin

Hatpin, long, with round blue enameled top.   10-1/8" L and 3/4" W.  Signed: JARVIE / STERLING


Robert R. Jarvie bronze hinged 1912 AMPA box

Robert R. Jarvie bronze hinged 1912 AMPA box

Robert R. Jarvie bronze hinged 1912 AMPA box

Box, small, hinged, bronze, with "19 AMPA 12" and bamboo-type frame on top, repeated design around sides.  4-1/4" L and 2" W and 1-11/16" H.  Signed:  MADE BY / ROBERT JARVIE / UNION STOCKYARDS / CHICAGO


Robert R. Jarvie 1914 AMPA picture frame

Robert R. Jarvie 1914 AMPA picture frame

Frame, picture, rectangular, bronze, with original glass and printed paper insert.  Front has dark grey mat with oval opening and small applied oval bronze "AMPA / 1914" medallion.  Behind oval glass under mat is printed "[stylized Glasgow rose] [AMPA / 1914 in circle] [stylized Glasgow rose] / American / Meat Packers / Association / 'Get-together' Dinner / Midway Winter Gardens / Chicago / October 19, 1914 / [stylized Glasgow rose]"  Stand on back to support frame.  Signed:  MADE BY / ROBERT JARVIE / UNION STOCKYARDS / CHICAGO


Robert R. Jarvie silver pitcher-form trophy

Pitcher, small, beaker form, with curving semicircular hollow handle, engraved "[AMERICAN SHORTHORN BREEDERS ASSOCIATION logo] / FOR BEST BULL CALF / BRED AND OWNED BY EXHIBITOR / BREEDER'S FIRST EXHIBIT AT A STATE FAIR / WON BY / H. W. CHILD / HELENA - MONTANA / AT / MONTANA STATE FAIR" on side.  6-1/2" H and 5-1/2" W.  Singed:  STERLING / [Jarvie mark] / 2113 / CHICAGO


Robert R. Jarvie silver sauce bowl with attached undertray

Sauce bowl with attached undertray.  Long teardrop-shaped bowl with spout, long jutting hollow angular square handle, oval attached underplate with small depression around foot of bowl.  Applied rim on top edge of bowl and around underplate with three chased lines running the length of the piece.  Applied L mono on front of underplate with chased line in stem of letter. Very modernistic.  Nice hammering.  8-3/8" L and 4-3/8" W and 2-3/4" H.  Singed:  STERLING [Jarvie logo] 2017


Robert R. Jarvie silver oval footed bowl

Bowl, silver, oval, on large oval spreading foot, with wide spreading edge that curves up and then slightly down.  7" L and 3-7/8" W and 2-3/4" H.  Signed:  [Jarvie mark] / STERLING / 1101


Robert R. Jarvie Copper bowl with silver H monogram

Bowl, copper, round, vase form, with turned-in rim, wide body tapering to small flat bottom.  Hammered surfaces, and applied silver H mono on side.  Nice patina.  Heavy.  5-3/8" W and 3-1/2" H.  Signed:  [Jarvie mark]


Robert R. Jarvie brass repousse bookends

Bookends, brass, pair (2), rectangular with repousse pattern of two partial arcs forming an inverted crescent, with angled geometric lines at the top and around the edge.  4-7/8" H and 5-7/8" H.  Signed:  [Jarvie mark]


1911 article in the Fine Arts Journal on Jarvie


1911 article in the Fine Arts Journal on Jarvie


1911 article in the Fine Arts Journal on Jarvie


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