South African ‘925’ Sterling silver table lighter by Kurt Jobst, Circa 1965.
Dimensions: 9 cm high by 18,2 cm handle to spout.
Weight: 292 grams.
Kurt Jobst was born in Austria in 1905. He served his apprenticeship in Hanau-am-Main under Professor Berthold and attended the Goldsmith’s Academy. He also attended the Nuremburg Academy of Crafts and the School of Arts and Crafts in Offenbach-am-Main where he met Professor Rudolf Koch. In 1926 he opened his own workshop and married Charlotte Lehmann. In 1935 as the political landscape changed and threatened his own liberal convictions he emigrated to South Africa. He settled in Johannesburg where he opened his workshop which was called The Jobst Shop. Proficient in many forms of metalwork from Cast Iron through to jewellery he was commissioned to make many presentation pieces. Amongst those are a silver powder bowl presented by the South African Government to Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth when she was married in 1947. A box made in gold and containing a diamond was commissioned by the Government in 1947 to mark the Royal tour.
His silver work follows the basic tenets of the Arts & Crafts style that evolved in Europe from the beginning of the 20th century. Clean lines and a hammered surface showing the handcrafted look are typical and the items he made varied from tea services through to water jugs. His silver work is marked 925 (the sterling standard in South Africa). His makers mark is the distinctive linked letters J and K, his surname and in some instances a stylised unicorn. In the early 1970’s he was approached by the Swazi government to relocate his workshop and help in a training scheme for young Swazi’s in design and manufacture of jewellery. In May of 1971 on returning from Mbabane he was killed in a motor accident. His legacy is the amount of superb metalwork that he left behind and the interest in his work is going to increase with the launch of a website dedicated to his life and run by his son Tarquinius Jobst Billiet. See http://www.kurtjobst.eu for more details.