Following the release of Nicolaus Copernicus earlier this year, the Montegrappa Avanguardia series continues with an artisanal tribute to Charles Darwin and his remarkable contribution to human knowledge with the Montegrappa Theory of Evolution Limited Edition. With his 1859 publication “On the Origin of Species” Darwin revolutionized human understanding of the natural world. His concept of natural selection unarguably counts among science’s greatest works and continues to echo throughout biology, anthropology, philosophy and beyond. His specimens and legacy are preserved in London’s esteemed Natural History Museum – an institution he helped to create.
For Montegrappa, Theory of Evolution marks a return to classical craft, with lost wax castings that juxtapose Darwin’s landmark findings with the architecture of a building conceived as a ‘cathedral to nature’. Issued in editions of 165, fountain pens and rollerballs utilise sterling silver across their full length, and feature a Montegrappite core and hinged, exhibition-case finial. Among the many motifs found in the edition’s design, vermeil highlights those associated with Darwin’s findings.
On the reverse face, figures reference his observations of Galapagos finches and tortoises, of giraffes as proof of natural selection and his famous Tree of Life – a metaphor for the interconnection of species. On the opposing face, science’s continuation of Darwin’s work is illustrated by frames depicting stages in human evolution and genealogy’s double-helix DNA structure – detailed in vermeil on a spring-loaded silver clip. Also realised in vermeil is a concealed ape skull studded with rubies. A ‘peekaboo’ case mounted on the finial features mirror-polished silver on the inside lid, allowing writers to contemplate their own evolutionary journey.
Castings used to frame these motifs draw from the eclectic Romanesque and Gothic Revival masonry of London’s Natural History Museum. Stone is simulated by a Montegrappite core visible through gaps in the overlay. Our in-house artisanal resin is also used within the finial, where it is visible in cross section.
The packaging created for the Montegrappa Theory of Evolution is suitably elaborate, realised in oak veneer with a brass Charles Darwin nameplate. Companion products supplied with the edition include a Victorian magnifying glass and an A6 notebook with a reusable leatherette cover, along with edition accessories and documentation.
Italy’s first pen producer, Montegrappa, began manufacturing pens in 1912 in its factory in Bassano del Grappa in Italy. Utilizing natural celluloid and precious metals,Montegrappa combines traditional methods such as die-casting with more recent innovations as low-relief engraving to form their precious art objects. Whether Montegrappa use colors reminiscent of the master painters or ornamentation suggestive of Baroque palaces, the Italian heritage and romance is infused into each product.