1907 – 1974
Alfred Charles Pruden was brought up in Hammersmith. He took the name Dunstan on his conversion to Roman Catholicism. Attending the Central School of Arts & Crafts, he then worked as an assistant to a goldsmith based in London.
Pruden was interested in Eric Gill’s writings and ideas, and following a lecture he gave on Gill, Pruden was contacted by the man himself. On meeting both men realised that they had much in common, and Gill recommended Pruden for his first major commission, an altar cross for Exeter College, Oxford; this commission proved important in establishing Pruden’s reputation. He went on in his career to complete many more commissions for ecclesiastical metalwork alongside jewellery and more domestic items.
In 1932 Pruden moved to Ditchling and became a member of the Guild. In 1933 his book, ‘Silversmithing’ was published by St Dominic’s Press with illustrations by Philip Hagreen. This helped him secure a teaching post at Brighton Art College where he was to teach for over thirty years.
Pruden’s legacy is continued by his grandson, Anton Pruden. Pruden & Smith silversmiths is run by Rebecca Smith and Anton Pruden and continues the Guild’s commitment to traditional craftsmanship and contemporary art and design, working out of their workshop and gallery on Ditchling crossroads which originally housed St Dominic’s Press. Visitors to the museum can pick up a voucher entitling them to a free tour of the workshop.