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Omar Ramsden

Omar Ramsden (1873-1939), silver designer, executed several items of plate for use at services in Westminster Abbey.

One of his best works here is a chalice (Communion cup for wine) and paten (cover) of hand wrought and chiselled silver. On the chalice the four symbols of the Evangelists appear on a series of wavy lines representing running water. In the open tabernacle work below the bowl is an 18 carat gold figure of St Edward the Confessor. On the foot are large shields in gold champleve enamel and a Latin inscription which can be translated "I alone create all things from the beginning". Below are twelve more shields with the arms of St Peter and various kings and queen who are buried in the Abbey. The circular paten is decorated with a figure of Our Lord, crowned and reigning in glory, in front of a foliaged cross. On the under surface is an inscription recording the gift of these items in 1925 by the Girls' Friendly Society to celebrate their Silver Jubilee. It is signed FECIT ME ARTE ET OPERA OMAR RAMSDEN (Omar Ramsden made me with art and labour).

Another silver chalice and paten was the gift of a regular member of the congregation, Admiral Sir Arthur William Moore GCB in 1927. The bowl has representations from the life of St Edward and the design is a mass of interlacing bands with balas rubies. Royal badges of kings and queens and national flower emblems are also shown. Among the shields on the base are those of the donor. On the under surface his complete heraldic achievement is engraved.

A chalice and paten for use in St Faith's chapel was presented in 1928 by the widow of Robert Arundell Hudson. This is of sterling silver and based on a 14th century example in the Victoria and Albert Museum. The knop is decorated with cherub heads.

Four plain chalices and patens of silver gilt were given by Margaret and Sannyer Atkin in 1939.

A hammered and beaten silver gilt box for Communion wafers with figures of two kneeling angels and four moonstones is signed OMAR RAMSDEN ME FECIT IN URBE LONDINIO (Omar Ramsden made me in London). Another wafer box engraved with the symbol of St Faith (an iron bed) was presented in 1926. It was given in memory of Louisa, wife of Major General de Haviland (died 1869) and her daughter.

Two pairs of alms dishes (to collect offerings at services) were given by the citizens of Westminster in memory of Dean Ryle in 1928. In the centre is a large representation of the coat of arms of the City and the rim has four shields, including those of Ryle and the Abbey.

Miss Carol Rivett presented a silver alms dish of hammer and repousse work. On a cross in the centre is the Abbey shield. In the border are four cartouches representing scenes from the life of St Edward from the stone screen in his chapel. Given in memory of Edward Smith Foot (1837-1927) it was first used in 1939.

A morse (or fastening) of silver gilt is now used on the Dean's gold cope. This is embedded with diamonds and pearls with a turquoise central motif and dark blue stones. It had originally been given to Joost de Blank, Bishop of Stepney and later Canon of Westminster.

A mace, used by the Abbey vergers, made of ebonized English oak has a top made of hand wrought and chiselled silver surmounted by the cross keys of St Peter. This was made by Ramsden in 1929.

The St Edward chalice and Ryle alms dish can be seen in the display of plate in the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries at the Abbey.

Further reading for this artist

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Field

Artist

Material Type

Silver

Omar Ramsden
St Edward chalice and paten

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Omar Ramsden
Morse

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Omar Ramsden
Wafer box with moonstones

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Omar Ramsden
Moore chalice and paten

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2019 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

I’ve worked here for over thirty years and have seen many of the major services - it’s strange to realise that you are in a small way part of history.

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Pamela - Rector's Secretary

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