Historical information

This trophy was awarded to William Kermode of Mona Vale for the best pair of Merino ewes exhibited at the Southern Tasmanian Agricultural and Pastoral Society in October, 1879. William Kermode formed the Mona Vale flock in 1829 with VDL C. Saxons. In the early 1870s under Kermode, Ercildoun rams were tried, as was a St Johnstone ram. It is well documented that the famous Steiger-blood ram, Sir Robert (out of a Mona Vale ewe), had considerable impact on a number of Tasmania's influential studs. At its height in the late nineteenth century, Mona Vale was regarded as "... one of Tasmania's leading and parent studs, producing robust fine-wool sheep with quality, long-stapled and dense wool." (Massy 1990: p.406). The first agricultural society in Australia was formed in Hobart on 1 Jan. 1822. The trophy was retailed by Walsh Brothers, Melbourne in c.1875. The cup has no makers marks, but has been attributed by Christie's to Edward Fischer, a local Geelong silversmith. This attribution is based upon stylistic criteria. However, Ms Veronica Filmer of the Geelong Art Gallery (curator of "Geelong's Colonial Silversmiths", Geelong Art Gallery, 1988), has suggested that the lack of stamps is unusual (most of Fishcher's work was stamped) and also that it is somewhat heavy for Fischer's work. The trophy originated from the collection of Edward Clark, an antique dealer. Prior ownership of the trophy is uncertain, but it is believed that Clark purchased it in the mid 1990s from descendants of the original prize recipients.

Physical description

Trophy, sterling silver. Circular, stepped base and tapering stem decorated with cartouches of leaves on a matt background. The bowl of the trophy has an applied belt cartouche with an inscription. Within the belt cartouche is an engraved and embossed panel of two sheep with a cottage in the background. There are ribbon tied floral swags on either side of the cartouche, and a presentation inscription with a beaded border on the reverse of the bowl.

Inscriptions & markings

SOUTHERN TASMANIAN AGRICULTURAL & PASTORAL SOCIETY Presented / to / Joseph Clarke Esq / and awarded to / W.A. Kermode Esq / of Mona Vale / for Best Pair Merino Ewes, / October 1879