Robert Cruickshank (workshop of)
Canadian, 18th–19th century
Ciborium, c. 1790–1803
28.1 x 14.3 cm
Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery; Acquired with a repatriation grant from the Government of Canada through the Cultural Property Export and Import Act and with funds from Agnes M. Benidickson
Robert Cruikshank was among Lower Canada’s most significant silversmiths. Trained in Britain, he arrived in Montreal in 1773 and was firmly established by 1782. He was in great demand for trade silver, which was used in the fur trade with First Nations people. The market was so great that it was necessary for him to transition from working out of his home to an independent workshop and store or showroom, complete with the volume of tools and equipment for numerous apprentices and employees. As obvious from the WAG piece, Cruikshank and his workshop also produced ecclesiastical silver. This work, a ciborium or receptacle for the holy sacrament, is typical of his refined wares, with its restrained decoration and elegant baluster stem. Cruickshank is credited for bringing British silver traditions to Montreal.