Circular silver mounted shagreen box with wood as a core. Unmarked but most probably by John Paul Cooper.
Cooper studied architectural drawing for three years from 1888 as an apprentice to John Sedding in London and travelled in Europe in the 1890s with the architects Alfred Hoare Powell and Henry Wilson.Cooper took up metalwork in 1897 on the advice of Henry Wilson, Sedding’s chief assistant, who he had trained with for several years. Cooper set up a workshop in Kensington, sending four pieces to the Arts and Crafts Exhibition in 1899 but did not produce his first jewellery until 1900.
He became Head of the Metalwork Department at Birmingham School of Art from 1904 to 1907 having taught there from 1901 onwards. Several of the craftsmen he employed in his workshop moved with him to teach at Birmingham, including his wife. In his teaching he believed that designers of metalwork should only design items that they themselves had the skill to produce.
Cooper was renowned for the use of shagreen in his designs, a material he started using in 1903 and it was through his use of it that it became established as a luxury material in the 1920s to 1930s. As well as his jewellery and metalwork Cooper also produced watercolour paintings.