Carl Poul Petersen
Carl Poul Petersen was born in Copenhagen in 1895, and from the age of 13 had apprenticed under Georg Jensen in his workshop for the necessary 5 year period. It was during these formative years that he developed his skills and was greatly influenced by the master, taking very similar Art Nouveau elements and Jensen's unique simplicity and incorporating the into his style.
It was typical of the time period for many newly minted master silversmiths to branch out and start their own workshops. Whereas many ofthe apprentices of Georg Jensen had set up their own shops within Copenhagen, in 1929 Carl Poul Petersen left Denmark with his wife, Inger Jensen, and emigrated to Canada, which was just heading into its own economic depression.
Once he arrived, he was hired immediately by Henry Birks and Son Ltd. , a silver company specializing older styles and trends, as their resident goldsmith. Birks had specialized primarily in older styles and fashions such as Rococo and Neo-classical, to which Peteresen's Jensen-like style sharply contrasted. This isn't to say Georg Jensen silver was unknown to the Canadian market, however, preference for classic French and English styles and a strong nationalistic sensibility had dominated the market. In 1937, Carl Poul Petersen had moved on from the Birke's to set up his own workshop, however, this was cut brief by the lack of silver brought on by the World War. It was during this interim that he contributed to Allied wartime efforts manufacturing brass and aluminum parts for the Mosquito fighter planes. Once the war had ended, however, in 1944, he resumed his work in silver, opening up a shop in Montreal where he was assisted by his three sons, Arno, Ole, and John Paul.
In many ways, it was due to the patronage of Saidye Bronfman, wife to the distiller of the famous Seagram's name, whom often used his services to supply her with finely crafted corporate gifts, as well as family presents. Muchof this initial support had gone towards establishing lines of credit and by 1947, had employed as many as 20 silversmiths on the premises with another 6 at another location.
Carl Poul Petersen's style had never strayed far, nor shown much experimentation, but was a consistent and fine product throughout its existence. His production line kept naturalistic elements, although his time in Canada brought about an addition of traditionally Canadian wild life and floral motifs to his Danish repertoire. Also, much like Georg Jensen, he was quite extensive in the breadth of pieces he produced, including 11 flatware sets, (his Viking pattern was based off of the Georg Jensen Continental set), a variety of hollowware pieces, including tea services, candleholders, ect. as well as a full line of jewelry. Carl Poul Petersen's business also went beyond their own production line to include contracted orders, repairs and replacements, and even custom work based on a clients specifications. One of their most famous contracts was in the engraving and eventually, the replication of the NHL's Stanley cup in 1962. The Petersen copy was designed to travel about to the winning team's home town as the original was often dented or damaged during travel. The Petersen copy is still in use today.
During the 70's, unfortunately, silver had once again become scarce as prices skyrocketed due to market manipulations. Combined with rising wages it became difficult for the business to remain into the next decade. In 1979, two years after Carl Poul Petersen passed away, the business had ceased operating.