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Hogarth, Erichsen & Co., Jewellers, Sydney

By Museums Victoria    |   Monday, 6 January 2020

Julius Hogarth and Conrad Erichsen were partners in a Sydney jewellery firm that struck silver threepence and fourpence tokens bearing their own name, most bearing the date 1858, and others without dates, c.1860. Apparently Hogarth had diesinking skills and Erichsen was the technician. Erichsen was also said to be in the habit of 'Striking a few whenever he felt in need of refreshment.' According to Andrews, the metal in some of their issues were of so low a quality that they were 'withdrawn under pressure from the government.' They are thought to have struck their tokens using J.C. Thornthwaite's press.

Hogarth, Erichsen & Co. - Jewellers - Threepence 1860
Hogarth, Erichsen & Co. - Threepence 1860

In his article 'Tokens of George Street,' numismatist Tom May provides the following chronology of their activities:

  • 1852: Business opened at 394 George Street West 'a small shop...near Liverpool Street...outside the main business district.'
  • 1856: Moved to 310 George Street West, 'between King and Market Streets.'
  • 1857-1858: George Street renumbered, 310 West becoming 405.
  • 1860: Moved to 312 George Street East 'in the same building as Skinner's Hotel, on the south east corner of Hunter Street. The former still exists today as the last convict era building in that part of Sydney.'
  • ~1861: Research conducted by Museum Victoria during 2005 located information about the end of the business. On 7 May 1861, a notice was published in the Sydney Morning Herald, advising the public that Hogarth and Erichsen were insolvent, and that 'a first account current and plan of distribution showing payment of 20s.[shillings] in the pound on preferrent claims, and a first dividend of 7s. 6d. [pence] on concurrent claims,' was lodged with the relevant authorities and, if no objections were raised, would be confirmed on May 17. One week later another pair of notices were published, the first advising the public that the partnership had been dissolved. The second advised 'his friends and the public in general' that Julius Hogarth would be continuing in the jewellery trade, from 21 Hunter Street in Sydney. Erichsen did not give any notice of his intentions at that time.
  • 1863: Hogarth & Erichsen 'ceased trading', Hogarth opened a small business at 99 Hunter Street.
  • 1864: Hogarth, 21 Hunter Street, p.r. (private residence) Pyrmont
  • 1865: Hogarth, 6 Hunter Street (no further listings located)
  • 1868: Erichsen, Conrad, Jeweller, 159 Crown Street

The corner of George and Hunter Streets, c.1849, is shown in an untitled painting held by the State Library of New South Wales, by Andrew Torning. 'Skinner's Family Hotel' is still standing, the last convict era building still standing in that part of Sydney. Both Skinner's hotel and Dixon's tobacconist (third shop from the corner) were still in business in 1860 when Hogarth & Erichsen moved into the second shop from the corner. The premises of their future neighbour and fellow token issuer, James MacGregor, are visible at the right of the picture.

After the partnership was dissolved, Hogarth did some work for Stokes in Melbourne, producing amongst other pieces 'The reverse of some very fair medals for the Exhibition in Melbourne in 1872,' (Andrews, p. 16). A Hogarth family descendant in Melbourne continues to do extensive research on the life and career of Julius Hogarth.

Julius Hogarth, Jeweller & Medal Maker (1820-1879)

Julius Hogarth was born Julius Hougaard in Denmark in 1820. He is believed to have studied under neo-classical sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen. He and the Norwegian Conrad Erichsen (c.1825-1903) arrived in Sydney together from Hamburg in December 1852 and, failing in their quest for gold, returned to the gold trade. He began to use the name Hogarth around this time.

The workshop of Hogarth, Erichsen & Co. was established about 1854 at 252 George St, Sydney. They were probably responsible for developing the style of jewellery incorporating realistic depictions of Australian flora and fauna, and were pre-eminent in this style during the 1850s. The company also became known for its threepenny tokens produced from 1858 to 1860. In November 1856 Hogarth became a naturalised British subject, and two years later married 18-year-old Charlotte Tegg.

Hogarth, Erichsen & Co. - Jewellers - Threepence 1858
Hogarth, Erichsen & Co. - Threepence 1858

Both Hogarth and Erichsen exhibited at the Paris Universal Exhibition in 1855, and Hogarth at the London International Exhibition in 1862. From March 1859 Hogarth, Erichsen & Co were located at 312 George Street, and their workshop employed several other fine craftsmen, including C.L. Qwist. By 1860, however, Hogarth, Erichsen & Co. were in financial difficulty and declared bankrupt. Their stock was auctioned off in January 1861.

Hogarth was undaunted, and set up his own shop at 99 Hunter St. The new business did not thrive, however, and in 1862 was robbed and valuable gold nuggets, jewellery and watches were stolen. Hogarth subsequently moved to 21 Hunter Street, and in 1865 ran his business from 6 Hunter Street. In May that year he was again declared bankrupt, and decided to move to Melbourne with his wife and two children, hoping to work for Stokes and Martin.

His first work in Melbourne was an Aboriginal head for the 1872 Melbourne Exhibition. It was one of the finest pieces yet made in Australia, and it made his employers, Stokes and Martin, the outstanding colonial medallists. The company was awarded the commission for the 1873 Victoria International Exhibition medals. Hogarth's dies were of world standard. The medal was designed by O.R. Campbell, who later collaborated with Hogarth on the fine Melbourne-Philadelphia Exhibition medal of 1876.

In 1878 Hogarth returned to Sydney, now with seven children. He had a jewellery shop in Bailey St, Newtown. He died on 5 March 1879, aged 59, from 'chronic liver disease'.

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