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Title: Chats on Old Sheffield Plate
Author: Hayden, Arthur
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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    CHATS ON OLD
    SHEFFIELD
    PLATE


                  COMPANION VOLUME BY THE SAME AUTHOR


                          CHATS ON OLD SILVER


                               CONTENTS


    CHAPTER

       I.  THE MARKS STAMPED UPON SILVER

      II.  ECCLESIASTICAL PLATE

     III.  THE MAZER, THE STANDING CUP, THE FLAGON, THE
            TANKARD, THE BEAKER, THE WINE CUP

      IV.  THE SALT CELLAR

       V.  THE SPOON

      VI.  THE POSSET POT, THE PORRINGER

     VII.  THE CANDLESTICK

    VIII.  THE TEAPOT, THE COFFEE POT, THE TEA CADDY

      IX.  THE CASTER, THE SUGAR BOWL, THE CREAM PAIL, THE
            CAKE BASKET

       X.  THE CREAM JUG

      XI.  SCOTTISH SILVER

     XII.  IRISH SILVER

           APPENDIX.--TABLES OF DATE LETTERS, LONDON (1598-1905)--TABLE
              OF DIFFERENCES IN SHIELDS, LONDON
              (ELIZABETH TO GEORGE V)--ILLUSTRATIONS OF
              MARKS, LONDON, PROVINCIAL, SCOTTISH AND IRISH

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CENTREPIECE.

  On circular base, with nine plated wire baskets for glass dishes on
  spiral branches.

  Date 1775-1780.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)


                                                        _Frontispiece._]



                               CHATS ON
                          OLD SHEFFIELD PLATE

                                  BY

                             ARTHUR HAYDEN

                AUTHOR OF "CHATS ON OLD SILVER," "CHATS
                          ON OLD CLOCKS" ETC.


           WITH FRONTISPIECE AND 58 FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS
                  INCLUDING 5 PAGES OF MAKERS' MARKS


                          T. FISHER UNWIN LTD
                        LONDON: ADELPHI TERRACE



                      _First published_      1920
                      _Second Impression_    1924


                        (_All rights reserved_)



                             TO MY FRIEND
                             WALTER IDRIS,
                          IN APPRECIATION OF
                          KINDRED RECOGNITION



                                PREFACE


Many readers have importuned me to write a companion volume to my
_Chats on Old Silver_, to complete the chain of evolution of the
metal-smith's art in regard to silver plate and silver plated ware.
Accordingly this volume appears as a complementary and companion volume
to that on "Old Silver," and although the former describes the history
and character of the silversmiths' work from Elizabeth to Victoria,
the present volume covers a much shorter period, approximately a
hundred years, when the plater's skill, in what is now generally known
as old Sheffield Plate, of superimposing a thin sheet of silver on a
copper base, won a triumph in the great art of simulation until it was
superseded by the modern electro-plating process.

The invention was discovered and first practised at Sheffield, but it
soon covered a wider area, and plated ware by fusion and rolled was
made at Birmingham, London, Nottingham and elsewhere. But it still
retains the name of Sheffield Plate, and nothing can remove this
title from the public mind, although it is a misnomer. "Sheffield
Plate" is Sheffield solid silver duly assayed at the Sheffield Assay
Office, which has existed since 1773, and bears the crown as the town
mark together with the maker's initials and the date letter, the same
as sterling silver plate assayed at London, Birmingham, Chester,
Edinburgh, Dublin, or any other of the assay offices. _Sheffield Plated
Ware_ is a copy or simulation of real plate. It was, as this volume
shows, possessed of considerable artistic qualities, it was fashioned
by craftsmen who were masters of a clever technique, and it is, if not
a lost art, certainly an art not practised in the old methods nor with
the same exactitude nowadays, and as such it is worthy of the serious
attention of the collector.

As to its artistry purists may cavil at its imitativeness. Although
"imitation is the sincerest form of flattery" the contemporary
silversmiths of London and elsewhere were far from flattered. They
began to be alarmed at the growth of the manufacture, and protective
Acts of Parliament were passed to safeguard the interests of
silversmiths against competition by silver platers.

In regard to technique I have given sufficient details to enable
collectors to identify their possessions and to take a further interest
in details of craftsmanship.

By permission of the Board of Education I am reproducing several
designs from the copper-plate illustrations of the old Catalogues and
Pattern Books issued to buyers of their wares on the Continent of
Europe by the leading firms of Sheffield in the eighteenth century.

In regard to information concerning the manufacture of plate by fusion
at Dublin I am under an obligation to Dudley Westropp, Esq., of the
National Museum, Dublin, for notes embodied herein relating to the
importation of Sheffield plated ware into Ireland and its attempted
manufacture there.

I have also to acknowledge the kindness of G. Harry Wallis, Esq.,
F.S.A., of the Nottingham Museum and Art Gallery, for the inclusion of
illustrations of several examples.

The Corporation of Sheffield have allowed me to have special
photographs taken of examples exhibited in the Public Museum,
Sheffield, and I am indebted to the Curator, E. Howarth, Esq., for his
courtesy in enabling this to be carried out successfully.

I have had access by the kindness of collectors to several
representative collections. I am especially indebted to B. B. Harrison,
Esq., for enabling me to illustrate herein many fine examples from his
choice collection.

To Walter H. Willson, Esq., I have to express acknowledgment for
allowing me to reproduce illustrations of specimens of old Sheffield
plated ware that have passed through his hands for many years, and for
much information afforded me in connection with the old technique.

In regard to marks on old Sheffield and other plated ware, in view of
strictures on marks laid down by Acts of Parliament, I have come to
the conclusion that marks on old Sheffield plated ware are somewhat
negligible, as they lack the authoritative exactitude of those placed
by law on silver plate. There were marks when the Sheffield makers
simulated silver marks till they alarmed the silversmiths and were
stopped by statute. Then came a hiatus. Then again they adopted trade
marks plentifully found, but these marks are not always found on
examples of the best period. So in adjudging old Sheffield plated ware,
marks have a subsidiary place, and they are accorded a subsidiary place
in this volume.

I submit this volume unhesitatingly to lovers of old Sheffield plated
ware as a carefully considered exposition of what was produced for
a hundred years, consisting of fine design, exquisite balance, and
wonderful technique, till plating became a scientific process and
electro-plating became of common usage. But this is modernity.


                                                         ARTHUR HAYDEN.



                               CONTENTS


                                                    PAGE

    PREFACE                                              7

    LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS                               13

              CHAPTER I

    INTRODUCTION                                        17

              CHAPTER II

    EARLY DAYS (THE INVENTION OF SILVER-PLATING BY
    FUSION AT SHEFFIELD)                                43

              CHAPTER III

    CANDELABRA AND CANDLESTICKS                         79

              CHAPTER IV

    SALT CELLARS AND MUSTARD POTS                      133

              CHAPTER V

    CAKE BASKETS, DECANTER STANDS (COASTERS), DISH
    OR POTATO RINGS, INKSTANDS AND TAPER
    HOLDERS                                            159

              CHAPTER VI

    TEAPOTS, TEA AND COFFEE SETS, TEA KETTLES,
    COFFEE POTS, SUGAR BASINS                          187

              CHAPTER VII

    SOUP TUREENS, HOT WATER JUGS, THE SUPPER TABLE     217

              CHAPTER VIII

    CENTREPIECES                                       243

              CHAPTER IX

    CLOSE PLATING                                      259

    APPENDIX, MARKS ON OLD SILVER (1753-1840)          271

       "      MARKS ON OLD SHEFFIELD PLATE             285

    INDEX                                              295



                             ILLUSTRATIONS


    Old Sheffield Plated Centrepiece                     _Frontispiece_


    CHAPTER I.--INTRODUCTION

                                                                   PAGE

       Soup Tureen and Fruit Dish carved in Pear-wood                29

       Wedgwood Dessert Basket and Dessert Centrepiece               33

       Group of Silver Lustre Ware and Glass Candlesticks            37


    CHAPTER II.--EARLY DAYS

       Knives, with Medallion of Shakespeare                         51

       Wine Label, Buttons                                           51

       Group of Patch Boxes                                          55

       Candlestick, 1775, from Old Pattern Book (18th century)       65

       Candlestick, 1795, Old Pattern Book (18th century)            69

       Candlesticks, 1797, Old Pattern Book (18th century)           75


    CHAPTER III.--CANDELABRA AND CANDLESTICKS

       Candlestick, 1785                                             83

       Candelabrum, 1800                                             87

       Candelabrum (7-lights), 1820                                  91

       Candelabrum (5-lights), 1810                                  93

       Candelabrum (2-lights), 1790                                  97

       Candelabra, 1790                                             101

       Candelabrum (Single twist), 1790                             103

       Candelabrum (Double twist)                                   107

       Candelabrum, 1795; Candelabrum, 1790-1795                    111

       Candelabrum, Small, Candlestick, Lyre Design                 113

       Candelabrum (3-lights), 1805; Candelabrum (4-lights), 1810   117

       Candelabrum (3-lights), 1820                                 121

       Old Print _Serena_ (after Romney) Chamber Candlesticks       123

       Table Candlesticks, 1765, 1770, 1795                         127

       Table Candlesticks, 1780, 1790, 1795                         129

       Table Candlesticks, 1810, 1820, 1830                         129


    CHAPTER IV.--SALT CELLARS AND MUSTARD POTS

       Salt Cellars, from Old Pattern Book (18th century)           137

       Salt Cellars, from Old Pattern Book (18th century)           141

       Mustard Pots, from Old Pattern Book (18th century)           145

       Mustard Pots, 1775, 1785, 1790                               149

       Mustard Pots, from Old Pattern Book (18th century)           151

       Pepper Casters, Group of                                     155

       Mustard Pots, Group of                                       155


    CHAPTER V.--CAKE BASKETS, DECANTER STANDS,
       DISH RINGS, INKSTANDS, ETC.

       Cake Baskets, Wire Work, 1800, 1810                          163

       Decanter Stands (Coasters), Group of, 1785-1790              167

       Decanter Stands (Coasters), Group of, 1805, 1810, 1815       169

       Decanter Stands (Coasters), Group of, 1805, 1820             173

       Butter Dish                                                  175

       Dish or Potato Ring                                          175

       Inkstands, from Old Pattern Book (18th century)              179

       Taper Holders, from Old Pattern Book (18th century)          183


    CHAPTER VI.--TEAPOTS, TEA KETTLES, COFFEE POTS,
       SUGAR BASINS

       Teapot, 1792, from Old Pattern Book (18th century)           191

       Teapot and Tea Caddies, Cake Basket                          193

       Tea and Coffee Sets, 1810, 1820                              197

       Tea and Coffee Sets, 1825, 1830                              199

       Tea Urn, 1810                                                203

       Tea Kettles and Stands, 1805, 1820                           207

       Coffee Pot, French, Silver-plated; Sugar Baskets, Pierced
          Work                                                      211

       Sugar Baskets, 1825                                          213


    CHAPTER VII.--TUREENS, HOT WATER JUGS, ETC.

       Soup Tureen, 1805                                            221

       Soup Tureens, 1815, 1825                                     225

       Soup Tureen, 1815                                            229

       Hot Water Jugs (2)                                           229

       Entrée Dishes, 1815, 1825                                    233

       Hot Water Jug, Adam style, 1770                              235

       Toasted Cheese Dishes, 1800, 1810                            239

       Pipe Lighter, 1783                                           239


    CHAPTER VIII.--CENTREPIECES

       Centrepieces, 1790, 1810                                     247

       Centrepiece, with Female Figures                             251

       Chestnut Dish; Fruit Basket, 1810                            255

       Appendix

       Marks on Silver Plate                              275, 279, 283

       Marks on Old Sheffield Plate                            287, 291



I

INTRODUCTION

   IMITATION AS A FINE ART

   ECONOMIC SUBSTITUTION

   EUROPEAN IMITATIVENESS

   PARALLELS IN ENGLISH CRAFTSMANSHIP

   EARLY PLATING

   SILVER PLATERS AT SHEFFIELD



                               CHAPTER I

                             INTRODUCTION

   =Imitation as a fine art--Economic substitution--European
   imitativeness--Parallels in English craftsmanship--Early
   plating--Silver platers at Sheffield.=


Imitation is no new thing in art. Indeed it may be advanced as an
axiom that no art worthy of the name has ever come into being without
inheriting the traditions and technique of some preceding _motifs_.
Bizarre movements have at one time and another seized artists and
craftsmen, they have become anarchist in regard to all previous art
postulates, and produced somewhat chaotic and formless results. The
fantastic jazz in art circles known as _L'Art Nouveau_ some years ago,
temporarily upset the balance of the younger generation of designers,
spent its force in unchecked licence, and ended so ignominiously that
it is now entirely forgotten, nor has it left any permanent impression
upon succeeding schools.

Now and again imitation has been resorted to by well-known masters
to flagellate the taste of their own day. Embittered by constant
praise of old works they have made imitations of old masters' styles
and foisted them on their critics until at such moment they divulged
their authorship and pricked the bubble of the undue adoration of
the ancients. Pierre Mignard fabricated a Magdalen and through the
complicity of a dealer it was sold as a newly discovered Guido to
the Chevalier de Clairville. Presently it was noised about that the
painting was by Mignard. Le Brun, the great painter, pronounced it to
be a Guido and in his best manner. The jest had gone far enough, the
owner, Mignard, Le Brun, and the critics met to settle the affair.
Le Brun and the critics adhered to their belief in its authenticity.
Mignard protested otherwise, and said he had painted the work over
the portrait of a cardinal, and as proof dipped a brush in oil and
disclosed the cardinal's hat. Le Brun, bursting with anger, satirically
exclaimed, "Always paint Guido but never Mignard." But the canvases
of Mignard and Le Brun both hang together in the leading galleries of
Europe.

Nor is this a solitary instance of the pique of artists for lack of
discernment in contemporary criticism. Goltzius, that masterly exponent
of strongly graved lines on the copper, produced and published six
prints in the style of Albert Dürer, Lucas van Leyden and others, and
one, the Circumcision, was sold as one of Dürer's finest achievements.
These six engravings of Goltzius are known among his work as the
"masterpieces." They are certainly masterly imitations, and he
executed them to show his critics that though his was a new style, yet
he could if he chose slavishly follow the manner of the old masters.
These are instances of imitation used ironically as a weapon to pour
scorn on the mediocrity and want of knowledge of critics.

In pictures there have been whole generations of imitators and
copyists. The continent in the eighteenth century was flooded with sham
Correggios, Claudes, Poussins, and Cuyps, and many English painters,
afterwards well known, did not disdain to make copies for the dealers
of old masters' pictures. David Allan, called the "Scottish Hogarth,"
was an adept in copying chalk drawings from the old masters; and many
artists eked out a pitiable existence as copyists while waiting for
the public to acclaim their original work. John Jackson copied the
head of Reynolds for Chantrey which could have passed for the original
by Sir Joshua. A Rubens he painted in the presence of the students of
the Royal Academy was acclaimed as faithful to the original. He was
unequalled in such facsimile imitations. Henry Liverseege, in the early
days of the nineteenth century, copied Vandyck, Rubens, and Teniers
with such skill that few could say which was the original and which the
copy. Two pictures, one by Sir Edwin Landseer, and the other a copy,
were to be sold on successive days at auction. The painter, strolling
in to the auction room on the day before the copy was sold, mistook it
for his own work.

At the galleries of the Fine Art Society, in Bond Street in 1875, an
exhibition was held of a series of facsimiles of Turner drawings in the
National Gallery lent by Ruskin and executed for him by Mr. Ward. Of
these replicas, Ruskin said in a note: "I have given my best attention
during upwards of ten years to train a copyist to perfect fidelity in
rendering the works of Turner, and have now succeeded in enabling him
to produce facsimiles so close as to look like replicas--facsimiles
which I must sign with my own name to prevent their being sold for real
Turner vignettes."

=Economic Substitution.=--But imitation has many phases. Modern
photography in copying the great works of old masters has made it
possible to study their works with exactitude in the dimensions of
black and white, and if the work is an etching or an engraving the
reproduction claims a closer relationship with the original. The art
of engraving from painters' work is imitative to the extent that it
depicts the same subject and takes its initial inspiration from the
painted canvas. But it claims a much higher regard--the great school of
interpretative engravers translated painting into terms of black and
white.

Economically, therefore, it will be seen that there is a real reason
why imitative art, on whatever plane it finds itself, should hold its
place. In a broad sense it has had a mission. It is true, as Goethe
said, that "There are many echoes but few voices"; but the echoes have
their value too until they reverberate into nothingness and new voices
arise. As a substitute, therefore, for unattainable works of art any
medium that will so successfully simulate the original as to convey the
lines and the grace, the colour and the harmony, though in a lesser
degree than the original, is to be welcomed for its own sake.

There are many occasions when sacrifices have had to be made and when
prototypes have been destroyed and substitutes have arisen which
have artistically filled the hiatus, if only for the time being. For
instance, the extravagance of Louis XIV in regard to sumptuous silver
passed all bounds. At a fête at Versailles in 1668 on each side of the
royal buffet was elevated on a portico ten feet high a grand silver
guéridon bearing a massive silver girandole which lighted the buffet,
accompanied by numerous large silver vases. On the table and steps of
the buffet, which reached the height of twenty-five feet, were arranged
twenty-four massive bowls of fine workmanship--these were separated by
as many large vases, cassolettes and girandoles of great beauty. There
were on the table twenty-four large silver jardinières full of flowers,
in front was a great silver cistern shaped like a shell, at the two
extremities were four guéridons, six feet high, surmounted by silver
girandoles. Two other tables for the ladies were similarly equipped
with masterpieces of the silversmiths' art.

In 1688 the _Grande Monarque_ needed money to carry on his wars, and
he issued an edict forbidding the manufacture of such massive silver,
and sent all his plate to the Mint. So all this fine work, designed,
made by Claude Ballin, Pierre Germain, Montars and other celebrated
craftsmen after designs by Le Brun, was melted down; happily the pieces
were first drawn by the artist goldsmith Delaunay and their forms are
preserved. The king made it compulsory that the fine plate of the
nobility should be sacrificed too, and in consequence most of the fine
old silver was melted down.

But here comes the imitative note. The age of sumptuous silversmiths'
work was followed by an age of fine pottery. Beautifully decorated
earthenware and porcelain became fashionable. Rouen made a special
service for Louis XIV, and a great impetus was given to the art of the
factories of Moustiers, Marseilles and Nevers, and thus the nobles of
France had their banquets from the clay of the potter instead of from
the vessels of the silversmith.

As will be shown later the relationship between the art of the potter
and that of the silversmith has always been somewhat closely allied.
The designs of the one have, although not necessarily adapted to a
differing technique, been boldly taken and assimilated in results that
leave their note of incongruity to be criticized by collectors and
connoisseurs to-day.

=European Imitativeness.=--In order to arrive at a closer
appreciation of the niceties of imitation, perhaps it would be better
to commence by attempting to understand what is originality and where
it can be found. But that would entail a great amount of study. In
porcelain one would have to follow the attempts of the Dutch school
of potters and bow down in admiration to Meissen, where the first
true porcelain was made in Europe. All else is imitative, including
Sèvres and Wedgwood and Worcester. Nor does imitation stand arrested
at technique, it follows slavishly the oriental prototype in design.
We find pagodas and Chinese landscapes, and little figures which meant
so much in a language of symbolism, scattered promiscuously on Delft
beakers and on Bow cups. Wedgwood, in his Portland Vase, copied a
prototype of blue glass. In his classic subjects in relief on his vases
and his cameos he builded on the reputation of Greek and Roman types
translated through the brain of John Flaxman, and there was a school of
potters who came second-hand after Wedgwood and imitatively carried on
his classic style.

The whole of the school of decorating furniture in lac is imitated from
the East, and a poor imitation at best.

What the glass-worker did at Venice was copied over the Alps in
Germany. It suffered in translation and finally became something new.
The bulbous appendages to German glass were the crescendo note of the
Italian more reticent ornament. When the Murano glass-worker added the
tiny griffin-like symbolized version of the small sea-horse found in
the Adriatic to the handles of his tazzas, he added a touch of grace
and beauty. But the German developed these into chimerical beasts.

In an examination of European art one wonders where imitation ends and
where originality begins. Originality unfortunately often begins just
at that point when the original touch of genius is lost sight of and
when banal excrescences are added, meaningless and offensive.

But originality and fertility of design often begin when
experimentalists set out to produce one thing and realized another, and
commenced a new technique and became original in so doing. The search
for the philosopher's stone was futile, the old alchymists in their
laboratories, though they never found the means of transmuting baser
metals into gold, made experiments which begat the results of modern
science.

Impulses are carried out in various countries in accordance with
national limitations. The East African negro who patiently covers a gin
bottle with bead-work, proudly displayed as native art by a missionary
society in London, is obeying the instinct to embellish and add his own
genius to that of the alien. He knows the value the white man puts on
the spirit bottle, and he worships afar off at the same shrine.

=Parallels in English Craftsmanship.=--In regard to Sheffield
plated ware, if it be advanced that it was imitative of old silver
and therefore negligible, we must claim as a parallel old English
earthenware, where, although the technique differed from that of the
potting of porcelain, it did simulate porcelain, and examples of the
one are found in replica of the other. As to production the reason for
imitativeness is often to effect economy. Nor should this be anathema
in art. Undoubtedly Staffordshire and all its products struck hard
at the English porcelain factories. But, in spite of its initial
imitativeness and its wary regard for competitive lines, it did win a
path of its own. There the parallel ceases because earthenware was made
in England prior to porcelain.

Imitativeness in various arts is common enough. The glass-worker and
the potter copied the silversmith. The cabinet-maker was indebted to
both and _vice versa_. We find acanthus ornament in wood and in metal,
the strapwork of the Tudor carver on wood and on silver. The cupid in
metal on the Stuart clock case is duplicated in the stretcher of the
chair carved in walnut, and is found in stone at Hampton Court and St.
Paul's in similar ornament. Wedgwood snatched the topographical designs
from copper-plate engravings to decorate his service for Catherine
II of Russia, depicting English country seats and views. Chippendale
borrowed from the Chinese, and echoed Marot, the French designer, in
his original designs which burst upon the town in his _Director_.

Nor does it seem to trouble the collector of china overmuch that
Worcester copied oriental models and even used a spurious Chinese
mark, that Bow boldly proclaimed itself as "New Canton," and copied
Worcester, and that Lowestoft copied both. The invention of transfer
printing upon china is claimed by Worcester, by Liverpool and by
Battersea, and all three employed designs which were not original. The
whole school of designs transfer-printed upon china is imitative, many
of them had already appeared as illustrations to books.

Take another art, that of stipple engraving printed in colours. Here
indeed is an imitative art. An engraving in black and white is a
translation of a subject in colours. When printed in colours it sets
out to be imitative of another art. But collectors have not been shy
to give as much as four figures for some of these eighteenth century
colour prints, greater prices even than the original paintings would
bring under the hammer. The subject is illimitable and provocative of
much argument.

  [Illustration: SOUP TUREEN AND LADLE CARVED IN PEAR-WOOD.]

  [Illustration: FRUIT DISH AND STAND CARVED IN PEAR-WOOD.

  (_At the Wedgwood Museum at Etruria._)]

As interesting examples showing the versatility of designers, and
that potters and silversmiths and woodworkers not only touched at
many points but actually assimilated designs more proper to
another technique in which they were working. The technique of the
metal workers should have little to recommend its adoption by the
cabinet-maker, yet we find tea caddies in Chippendale's _Director_
which have details certainly more fit to be executed as mounts by the
French ormulu workers than by the English wood-carvers, even though in
soft mahogany. Josiah Wedgwood availed himself of many suggestions from
other fields than that of pottery. A Soup Tureen and Ladle carved in
pear-wood is at the Museum at Etruria to prove this excursion of his
for models. This illustration (p. 29) clearly shows a design, although
executed in wood, having certain ornaments which more properly belong
to the technique of the silversmith.

Another carved pear-wood model is that of a Fruit Dish and Stand. Here
again there peeps forth not so much the technique of the wood-carver as
the peculiar and more easily obtainable ornament of the metal worker.
It might be a Sheffield plated Decanter Stand or Coaster.

Josiah Wedgwood's collection of shells provided him with many a model
for his cream ware dishes. He has used the small flattish escallop
like shells--_Pholus Æstatus_, _Pectem Japonicum_, _Area Antiquat_ and
others, with great effect and crudely suggested the natural colours. In
these the silversmiths helped themselves liberally to Wedgwood's models
and we find innumerable single shell designs prevalent since their
adoption in pottery by Wedgwood. It would similarly appear that they
were equally indebted to him for another of his bold replicas of nature
in the fine Dessert Centrepiece (illustrated, p. 33). As spoon-warmers
and for other purposes the silversmith found this model from old
Josiah's conchological collection remarkably practical and accordingly
lost no time in imitating it.

Another Wedgwood piece, a Dessert Basket (illustrated, p. 33) proves
that Josiah had his own back, for the pierced ornament is distinctly
taken from the silversmith and is more proper to his art than to that
of the worker in clay.[1] "One can trace the motives of much of his
work, both as to form and decoration, in the collections of various
kinds which he was amassing, and in his constant intercourse with the
metal-workers of Sheffield and Birmingham. To the former source he
was indebted for the designs derived from objects of natural history,
particularly shells and plants; to the latter source he owed many
shapes and methods of decorative treatment which were used for silver
plated ware." His introduction of diapers and other conventional
designs in pierced and perforated work come straight from the Sheffield
silver platers, and this style of ornamentation done in the same county
as Sheffield, at the Leeds pottery, was carried to its extreme limit by
Messrs. Hartley Green & Co., who became the most successful imitators
of Wedgwood's cream ware, about the year 1783.

[Footnote 1: _Josiah Wedgwood_, by Professor Church, 1903.]

  [Illustration: WEDGWOOD CREAM WARE DESSERT BASKET.

  Showing fine pierced work.

  (_Reproduced by the courtesy of Messrs. Josiah Wedgwood & Sons._)]

  [Illustration: WEDGWOOD CREAM WARE DESSERT CENTREPIECE.

  Designed from Josiah Wedgwood's collection of shells.

  (_In the Museum at Etruria._)

  (_Reproduced by the courtesy of Messrs. Josiah Wedgwood & Sons._)]

The illustration (p. 37) shows the competitive repetition of design
contemporary with Sheffield plate. The potter found earthenware,
covered with a fine platinum glaze, was a colourable imitation of
silver plate. If the squire had his plate and persons of lesser degree
more economically inclined had their Sheffield plate, the cottager
could have a fine, glittering array of silver lustre vessels. Nor
was the glass-worker behindhand in coming into the field, as the
illustration shows.

=Early Plating.=--In early days silver was used sparingly before
the Spanish fleets from South America had poured silver into Europe.
Ancient drinking vessels of wood such as the mazer, a drinking bowl
much like a punch bowl, were decorated with silver bands. Cocoa-nut
cups were similarly decorated. By the end of the sixteenth century,
solid silver had replaced most of these forms for use in the spacious
days of Elizabeth. The early records show that certain goldsmiths were
guilty of _mals outrages_. In the fourteenth century gold was debased
by mixing it with glass, silver by adding lead or fine sand. Latten and
brass vessels were silvered and passed off as being of solid silver.
One Edward Bor in 1376 was summoned before the mayor and aldermen of
London to make answer "that he had silvered 240 buttons of latone and
34 circlets of latone for purses called gibesers (gipcières) and had
maliciously purposed and imagined to sell the same for pure silver in
deceit of the people"; both he and a confederate one Michael Hakeneye
were sent to Newgate prison. Another case of John of Rochester in 1414
is recorded where he counterfeited mazer bands in copper and brass,
plated over with silver.

It is interesting to read that "no artificer nor another other man
shall gild nor silver any such locks, rings, beads, candlesticks,
harness for girdles, chalices, hilts nor pommels of swords, powder
boxes, nor covers for cups made of copper or latten, upon pain to
forfeit to the King one hundred shillings every time, and to make
satisfaction to the party grieved for his damages. But that (chalices
always excepted) the said artificers may work ornaments for the Church
of copper and latten, and the same gild or silver, so that always in
the foot or some other part of such ornament the copper and latten
shall be plain, that a man may see whereof the thing is made for to
eschew the deceit aforesaid."

As to the hall marks on silver[2] the series of Acts of Parliament
relating to the assaying, marking and regulating wrought plate and
ascertaining the standard "for the good and safety of the public,"
covers a long period. British hall marks possess a reputation extending
over three hundred years. Heavy penalties were exacted for fabrication
of marks. In France in 1724 an edict was passed declaring sentence
of death against those who counterfeited stamps or insert or solder
stamps on other plate.

[Footnote 2: See _Chats on Old Silver_, by Arthur Hayden, pp. 25-63.]

  [Illustration: GROUP OF SILVER LUSTRE WARE.

    Coffee Pot.      Basin.      Teapot.

  The Staffordshire potter's imitation of silver.]

  [Illustration: GLASS CANDLESTICKS.

  Late eighteenth century.]

It is thus evident that baser metals had from time immemorial been
plated with silver, and, given an unprotected public, many such frauds
could be perpetrated by skilful and unscrupulous craftsmen. In fact
they were perpetrated. In 1767 a working silversmith was prosecuted by
indictment upon Stat. XXVIII Edward I and Stat. VI George I, cap. 11
for soldering bits of standard silver to tea-tongs and shoe-buckles
which were worse than standard and sending the same to the Goldsmiths'
Company Assay Office at London in order fraudulently to obtain their
marks to the same. In France from 1753 to 1759 a set of regulations
to be observed by silversmiths in the profession of their art enacts
that "They shall not make the rims turned over full of solder, in form
of hammered edges to basins, dishes and plates; nor shall they under
pretext of joining, solder on to them other bottoms."

The methods employed prior to the invention of the plating by fusion
and rolling in sheets at Sheffield was known as French plating.
Throughout the eighteenth century clock cases were silvered by this
method, and successive layers of silver could be applied to any
thickness required.

=Silver Platers at Sheffield.=--The platers set out frankly as a
school of copyists to imitate silver plate. They laid a thin imposition
of silver on copper and rolled it and dealt with the sheets as if
they were solid silver. They suffered from many disadvantages which
they eventually overcame; they competed directly, and more directly,
than did the Staffordshire potters with the silversmiths. The potter
snatched the silver models and so did they. But he had less reason
than they because he left his proper technique as a worker in clay
in so doing. It was no new thing to plate baser metals with silver
or with gold. But the method by which it was accomplished and the
rolled-out sheets were new. To rush into a general industry to expend
great capital on it, to launch it on the market, to compete with the
richest and closest corporation of goldsmiths in the world, was a new
and audacious venture, and this Sheffield did, and the designs partook
of the character of the finest produced by the experienced workers in
silver plate.

It is an incongruous situation wherein this school of imitators, who
set out diffidently to simulate silver and were presently met by
severe statutes of the realm and with severe penalties for producing
marks simulating those of the assay offices, overrode the tide that
set against them and were finally acknowledged by statute as genuine
craftsmen to be protected in a great industry, and Sheffield obtained
an assay office of her own, with overlordship over her platers.

In comparison with the other assay offices both Sheffield and
Birmingham own titles which seem to convey that the assay offices
came into being as a protective measure; they were to be watch-dogs
over the silver platers in their district. In 1773 there were, among
others, the "Wardens and Commonalty of the Mystery of Goldsmiths of
the City of London," the "Incorporation of Goldsmiths" of Edinburgh,
and the "Fraternity or Company of Goldsmiths" of Dublin. But the
assay offices established at Sheffield and Birmingham were to be "The
Guardians of the Standard of Wrought Plate," which is suggestive in the
circumstances.

Competitive rivalry in art has often ended in the undoing of a
particular school where imitation was pushed to fulsome lengths.
When the wood engraver simulated the actual cracks in the canvases
of the subjects he was copying on his block he showed a decadence
which shortly led to his extinction. But the Sheffield platers never
added blemishes of their own to the silver they copied. They produced
faithful copies. They selected fine examples and they stood supreme
in what they set out to do, until, by a later process, they were
superseded.



II

EARLY DAYS

   THE INVENTION OF SILVER PLATING BY FUSION

   THOMAS BOULSOVER OF SHEFFIELD (1704-1788)

   A WORLD OF KNICK-KNACKS

   THE SHEFFIELD SILVER-PLATING PROCESS

   EARLY SHEFFIELD PLATED PRODUCTIONS

   JOSEPH HANCOCK

   THE RISE OF THE BIRMINGHAM AND OTHER SILVER PLATERS

   THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE GREAT PERIOD OF SHEFFIELD PLATING

   CONTEMPORARY SILVERSMITHS AND THEIR ART



                              CHAPTER II

                              EARLY DAYS

   =The invention of silver plating by fusion--Thomas Boulsover of
   Sheffield (1704-1788)--A world of knick-knacks--The Sheffield
   silver-plating process--Early Sheffield plated productions--Joseph
   Hancock--The rise of the Birmingham and other silver platers--The
   commencement of the great period of Sheffield plating--Contemporary
   silversmiths and their art.=


It was in the year 1743 that a fortunate accident led to the discovery
that copper and silver could be fused together, and happily the value
of the momentary happening led to the further development of the
process and the final perfected invention of plating silver on copper
which laid the foundation of a great and flourishing art industry
which brought wealth and renown to Sheffield and extended to other
centres. The old method of plating continued with various improvements
for a hundred years until superseded. During the years 1750 to 1790
some of the best examples were issued and a stream of fine work
duplicating the silver plate of the period, and not excluding examples
simulating earlier Queen Anne styles, was poured out. Its excellence
of craftsmanship and its cheapness not only won the approval of the
English public but attracted the attention of Continental buyers, and
contemporary with the catalogues of Joseph Wedgwood issued in French
and other languages we find that the Sheffield and Birmingham silver
platers similarly issued illustrated catalogues with designs showing
what they were producing.


=Thomas Boulsover of Sheffield (1704-1788).=--According to some
accounts Thomas Boulsover was a button maker, a spur maker or a cutler,
probably he was all three, and employed in the making of these and
other metal articles then manufactured at Sheffield. He is spoken of as
an "ingenious mechanic." He was probably a practical workman who had a
small shop where articles were brought for repair. It was in connection
with the repair of a knife handle which was partly copper and partly
silver that owing to an accident in the soldering the copper and the
silver fused together. Although to his credit he immediately realized
the possibilities of his discovery, he was possibly too poor a man to
do more than carry out further experiments in a small way and make
buttons and snuff boxes and minor articles by his process. His name is
sometimes spelt as Bolsover, but it would appear that in the records
at Sheffield he registered under the name of Thomas Boulsover and
Co., which is possibly more correct; although in days when duchesses
spelled their title as "dutchess" matters of a letter or two were not
considered very important even in names.

The following extract from the _Derby Mercury_, September 17, 1788, is
an interesting obituary notice of Boulsover:

"On Thursday se'night died at Whitely Wood, near Sheffield, Mr. Thomas
Bolsover aged eighty-four. This Gentleman was the first Inventor
of Plated Metal: which like many other curious Arts was discovered
by Accident. About the year 1750 (at which Time he kept a Cutler's
Shop at Sheffield), Mr. Bolsover was employed to repair a Knife Haft
which was composed of Silver and Copper; and having effected the
Job, the cementing of the two Metals immediately struck him with the
practicability of manufacturing Plated Articles, and he presently
commenced a Manufacture of plated Snuff Boxes and Buttons. Consequently
from Mr. Bolsover's accidental Acquirement, the beneficial and
extensive Trade of plated goods had its origin. He has been justly
esteemed one of the most ingenious Mechanics that Sheffield can boast."
The name Bolsover, says the writer in the _Derby Mercury_, suggests a
Derbyshire origin.

There is little doubt that among the earliest articles to which
Boulsover turned his attention were buttons. Silver was in the time
of Boulsover being sold at approximately six shillings per oz., and,
in view of the cost of solid silver articles, the invention of a
presentable process that would lessen the cost came at an opportune
moment. It must be remembered, too, that there was a duty of sixpence
per ounce upon silver. In 1784 there was an additional duty of sixpence
imposed. In 1804 the duty was increased to one shilling and sixpence
per ounce, and it is interesting to note that in 1815 by 55 George III,
cap. 185 the counterfeiting of the King's head duty mark was made a
felony punishable by death. Nor did the invention, although coming at
a ripe moment when economies were desirable, seem likely to receive
financial support; for the establishment of an industry on a great
basis, for the very same motives which necessitated economy, prevented
capital from being embarked on what might have been a hazardous
enterprise. At that time the country was in a disturbed condition. In
1742 Walpole's administration came to an end. His fall was occasioned
by his foreign policy, which was based on friendship with France. He
was succeeded by Carteret. His "Drunken Administration," as it was
termed, was not likely to instil confidence in the country. He cared
solely for foreign politics. "What is it to me," he said, "who is
judge, or who is bishop. It is my business to make kings and emperors
and to maintain the balance of Europe." In 1744 France declared war
against England, and preparations for war were made in America and
India. In 1745 Prince Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender,
landed in Scotland, was given a public banquet by the ladies of
Edinburgh, defeated Sir John Cope at Prestonpans, and marched across
the border and through England as far as Derby. His troops must have
passed through Sheffield, and with civil war in the heart of the
country, and at his threshold, Boulsover no doubt quietly pursued his
vocation and added to his experiments. He made snuff boxes and buttons,
and patch boxes, and possibly buckles, and waited for a better day.

It is interesting to notice the inauguration of our two great china
factories about this date. Derby was not likely to commence a new
industry with the Pretender rattling his sabre in the city in 1745.
But we find Worcester commencing operations in 1751, followed by
Derby in 1756. There is stated to have been a political significance
in the advent of the former. It appears that in the cathedral city
in spite of its loyalty to the reigning house there was a growing
Jacobite influence. It was thought that the establishment of a factory
would enable the Whigs to win the election contests which had gone
to the Jacobite party. But we do not remember to have heard any such
association with Sheffield in regard to the establishment of the
Sheffield plating industry. It seems to have been purely a trade
venture and supported by local influence and capital.

It is not generally known that for a long period Sheffield has made
use of Swedish iron for the manufacture of the best steel. Nor is it
public property that "Made in Sheffield" frequently meant that razors,
knives, surgical instruments, scissors, etc., were made at Solingen in
Germany, and sent as "blanks" to be finished in Sheffield. The Master
Cutlers of Sheffield cannot have been aware of these happenings. We
speak of pre-war days when we have seen at Solingen much that should
shame Sheffield.

In the early knife handles illustrated (p. 51) the sheet is very thin,
and the design is stamped and both halves of the handle soldered
together. The thin pointed steel blade is characteristic of old
examples. It had not yet arrived to the stage of the trade mark with
name of firm "made in Sheffield." There is a fault in design. The
object of ornament is to be seen and admired. When these knives were
set on a table, the head of Shakespeare in the medallion was upside
down. This is a small detail, but details such as these were carefully
studied at Sheffield at a later date and ornament used to its fullest
capacity.

In regard to the particular design of the head of Shakespeare. There
is a reason for its existence. It comes straight from the days of
the great Shakesperian revival by David Garrick, where in 1741 he
acted Richard III for the first time. Quin and Cibber were outshone
by this new actor, who drew the fashionable world of St. James's to
his little house in Goodman's Fields. He became an idol. In 1742 with
Mrs. Woffington he acted in Dublin for a season and created a
great sensation. In 1747 he was joint lessee of Drury Lane Theatre.
A Chelsea figure represents him as Richard III and, in complement to
the new worship of Shakespeare who had been forgotten for a hundred
years. Addison had omitted him from his "Account of the greatest
English poets," and Steele did not include him in his essay "A Dream
of Parnassus" in the _Spectator_. Sheffield, quick to seize an idea of
marketable value, stamped the little medallion of Shakespeare on her
knife handle with an eye to fashionable demands of the day.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD KNIVES.

  With steel blades and plated handles with medallion of Shakespeare.]

  [Illustration:

    OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED BUTTONS.      OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED WINE LABEL.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)]

Buttons were also a strong feature in early days, and continued as a
leading feature to the end of the Sheffield plated period. Firms were
established in London who carried on this branch till quite a late
date. It is stated that a plated button was the first article made
by Boulsover. In Ireland John Roche, of Usher's Quay, Dublin, also
produced buttons in this style. The designs were stamped according to
order. The illustration (p. 51) shows the type with copper shank firmly
soldered on to the back. Possibly Army buttons of the same date were
similarly made. Collectors have a field here for search and research.

Wine labels, or as they were termed, "bottle tickets," offer, if not
great variety of style of decoration, certain curious indications as
to the wines and liqueurs they were intended to label. We illustrate a
label used for "Madeira." But some of the others were for wines either
now known under more familiar names or forgotten altogether, such as:
"Shrub," "Bucellas," "Xerez," and others.

The patch boxes (illustrated, p. 55) show the type of work executed
in the early days. The plating was carried out on the exterior; the
interior of these examples is bare copper. The left-hand example
shows in its ornament the swirls and curves of the rococo style
which Chippendale adapted and spiritualized in its translation. The
right-hand specimen owes something to Dutch influence and to tobacco
boxes which were common at the period. It is a genre subject, with the
figure of a man standing and a lady reclining on a sofa. The middle
patch box is in tortoiseshell and silver, and represents the fable of
the Fox and the Crane. The sides and base of this box are plated, and,
as in the case of the others, the interior is copper.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED PATCH BOXES.

  1. Rococo design with floral ornament. Interior of box copper.

  2. Tortoiseshell, inlaid with silver. Fable subject: Fox and Crane.

  3. Rococo border, with figures of man and woman. Interior of box
copper.]

  [Illustration: DETAIL OF ABOVE.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)]

=A World of Knick-knacks.=--The world of London and Bath had set
the fashion in trinkets, as much affected by the masculine sex as by
ladies of fashion. Buckles, clasps, etuis, snuff boxes were made in
gold or silver gilt. But one Christopher Pinchbeck, who died in 1732,
a "Clock and Watchmaker and Toyman," as he terms himself on his trade
card with his engraved portrait, became a specialist in reproductions
and replicas. It is of interest to quote the advertisement of the son
of Pinchbeck in the _Daily Post_, November 17, 1732, as showing what
articles he made of a metal in imitation of gold, and with this as
a parallel it will be possible to draw a conclusion as to the class
of articles of a similar character which were made at Sheffield at a
slightly later period:

"To prevent for the future the gross Imposition that is daily put upon
the public by a great Number of Shopkeepers, Hawkers, and Pedlars,
in and about this town, Notice is hereby given that the ingenious
Mr. Edward Pinchbeck, at the Musical Clock in Fleet Street, does not
dispose of one grain of his curious metal, which so nearly resembles
Gold in Colour, Smell, and Ductility, to any person whatsoever; nor
are the Toys made of the said Metal sold by any one person in England
except himself: therefore Gentlemen are desired to beware of Impostors,
who frequent Coffee Houses, and expose to sale Toys pretended to be
made of this Metal, which is a most notorious Imposition upon the
Publick. And Gentlemen and Ladies may be accommodated by the said Mr.
Pinchbeck with the following curious Toys, viz. Sword-Hilts, Hangers,
Cane-Heads, Whip-Handles for Hunting, Spurs, Equipages, Watch Chains,
Coat Buttons, Shirt Buttons, Knives and Forks, Spoons, Salvers,
Tweezers for Men and Women, Snuff Boxes, Buckles for Ladies' Breasts,
Stock Buckles, Shoe Buckles, Knee Buckles, Girdle Buckles, Stock
Clasps, Necklaces, Corrals." The advertisement goes on to enumerate
"Watches and Astronomical Clocks, which newly invented Machines are
artfully contrived as to perform on several Instruments great variety
of fine Pieces of Musick composed by the most celebrated Masters, with
that Exactitude, and in so beautiful a manner that scarce any hand can
equal them. They likewise imitate the sweet Harmony of Birds to so
great a Perfection as not to be distinguished from Nature itself."

Pinchbeck articles are now collected. They display fine workmanship and
artistic decoration, and true to the asservation of the inventor they
have kept their colour in a wonderful manner.

=The Sheffield Silver Plating Process.=--It has been already shown
that the superimposition of silver and gold on baser metals was not
an unknown thing, and that many old statutes exist to prevent such
wares being substituted for solid gold and silver plate. These earlier
processes mainly depended on washing or laying on successive sheets or
foils. The Boulsover process consisted in cutting off from a solid bar
of copper a rectangular piece some three inches wide, twelve inches
long, and about one inch in thickness. This was pure soft copper and
easy to work. Later an alloy was made with the addition of a sixth part
of brass making the base or body harder. One side of this copper block
is carefully filed, extreme cleanliness being employed to exclude any
dirt from the surface. A silver sheet of slightly lesser dimensions,
after being made thoroughly flat and kept perfectly clean on one side,
is laid on the copper with the two prepared surfaces fitting upon each
other. The silver was about a quarter of an inch in thickness. Over the
silver is laid a piece of sheet iron the exact size of the silver. The
three sheets are then tightly bound together by means of iron wire.
The whole is then put into a furnace until it is red hot; at the exact
moment when it is considered by the skilled workmen that the two metals
had properly fused together the block was carefully taken from the
furnace and put aside for cooling. It is obvious that if the workmen
were careless and did not by constant practice know the correct length
of time to allow the operation to continue in the furnace the result
would have been a failure. The silver, instead of exactly fusing with
the copper, would run over the edges and leave patches where the two
metals had not properly adhered. It is the same in old processes such
as the tempering of a sword. There are no exact rules, the craftsman
must have a sure eye and be quick to act at a second's notice.

Those who have witnessed the cabinet-maker in the exactitude with which
he commands his mastery over glueing parts, as is experienced in the
manufacture of air-craft parts, know that given perfect conditions
of temperature and glue of indubitable character the parts cannot be
separated. Similarly in the Sheffield plating the silver adhered to the
copper base and remained a component part and not a layer likely to be
disturbed by future bending or hammering.

The next stage in the process was the process of passing these blocks
under steel rollers in the rolling mills. And during this operation
it underwent several further stages of heating or annealing. Here
again the workman has to ascertain to a nicety the exact moment
to discontinue the firing, otherwise all would be ruined and the
silver be burnt off the face of the copper. In glass blowing similar
technical difficulties render the art one of great rapidity and quick
judgment. At the last stage, by an act of misjudgment, all the previous
work might be wasted and the piece turn out a wreck. The fire is a
capricious agent. In pottery it is the same. Many a vase after being
elaborately painted by the artist and fired in the ovens, owing to some
accident, comes out a distorted and misshapen mass.

The result of this Sheffield plating was to produce a sheet which could
be manipulated in the same manner as though it were solid silver. The
interiors of vessels, it is true, showed the copper, but these were
tinned till at a later date silver was placed on both sides of the
copper and fused at the same operation in the furnace. In regard to
the ornament a good deal found on old Sheffield plated ware was made
by the use of dies, such as feet, handles, knobs, and were cast in two
halves and soldered together prior to being affixed in their positions
on the articles. In other forms of decoration similar to that found
on the silver plate of the day the same technique was employed in the
_repoussé_ work in producing a raised design on the exterior, that is,
by means of hammering against a sand-bag, using a tool on the inside
of the vessel. Chasing and engraving is done on the outside while the
vessel is filled with sand or with some other composition.

This technique is not confined to Sheffield plated articles; it is
the technique of the silversmith, where _repoussé_ work receives its
striking force by a tiny hammer from within the vessel; chasing with
sunk lines, and elaboration and finishing the _repoussé_ design, is
done from the exterior.

In regard to designs, the productions duplicate some of the
finest plate. At its best Sheffield plate realized its artistic
responsibilities. It did not disseminate shoddy imitations of English
plate. Its copies had the saving grace of being executed by men who
understood the value of the originals. They worked faithfully in a more
economic medium, but they did not debase the original design, and they
were too clever to add meretricious touches of their own and mar work
which they must have loved or they could not have copied it so truly.

=Joseph Hancock of Sheffield.=--Thomas Boulsover claims our
regard for his invention and his steady application to it on a minor
plane. But Joseph Hancock took longer views. He was a member of the
Corporation of Cutlers in Sheffield, and he it was who saw to what
great uses the new invention could be put if handled on a great scale.
He made candlesticks, teapots, salvers, and many other more important
articles, and by so doing he raised the process above the snuff-box and
button level and established commercially the great industry for which
Sheffield has become famous.

Mills were erected for rolling out the ingots, skilled workmen were
procured who had served their apprenticeship as silversmiths in
London and elsewhere. Sheffield, almost concurrently with the great
impetus given to the making of plated silver ware, began to make
silver plate. But such solid silver had to be conveyed to London to
receive the marks of the Goldsmiths Company of London to denote its
standard quality. In regard to embarking on so novel an enterprise as
raising a great industry founded on the designs of the silversmiths,
there must have been many forebodings as to legal possibilities. The
laws on the subject were very stringent. Persons had been fined and
imprisoned in the reign of George II for manufacturing plate of lower
value than the standard. In 1741 one Drew Drury of London stated that
he was inadvertently concerned in making a stamp resembling the "Lion
Passant," that he had never made any use of it, and that he had caused
it to be broken. The Wardens of the Goldsmiths Company did not accept
his confession and proceeded against him.

Among exceptions not required to be assayed were metal spouts to
china, stone or earthenware teapots and shirt buckles or brooches. But
silver shoe-clasps, patch boxes, salt shovels, tea strainers, caddy
spoons, bottle tickets (wine labels), and all buckles except the above
mentioned were, if silver, to be assayed.

It is remarkable to find the Sheffield silver platers somewhat
incautiously flying in the face of the protective legislation in
regard to silver plate and its marking. In fact, it appears that
they recklessly placed three marks on some of the earlier ware
resembling those on silver plate. In 1773 a Committee of the House of
Commons was appointed to inquire into the manner of conducting the
several assay offices in London, York, Exeter, Chester, Norwich, and
Newcastle-upon-Tyne. York, Exeter, and Norwich, it was found, were
not in operation and had closed down. In regard to evidence a Mr.
W. Hancock, a silversmith of Sheffield, said that his work had been
injured by scraping. He went to the Goldsmiths Hall of London and
"gave some drink to the Assay Master and scraper, since which time his
plate had been less damaged." Mr. Spilsbury said that scrapers had the
opportunity to deliver to the assayer better silver than they scrape
from the work, and that the assayer had the opportunity of favouring
what silversmith he pleased. When his plate had been objected to he
found that these difficulties were removed on "giving drink at the
Hall." This may be said to have been in keeping with the old tradition
of the Goldsmiths Company of London, for we read that in 1359 one of
the members of the Fellowship was found guilty of _mals outrages_. He
prayed the mercy of the Company and offered them ten tuns of wine. He
was duly forgiven on paying for a pipe of wine and twelve pence a week
for one year to a poor man of the Company.

The Committee in their Report found in regard to Sheffield and
probably Birmingham that "the artificers are now arrived at so great a
perfection in plating with silver the goods made of base metal, that
they very much resemble solid silver, and that if the practice which
has been introduced of putting marks upon them somewhat resembling
those used at the assay offices shall not be restrained, many frauds
and impositions may be committed upon the public."

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CANDLESTICK.

  Designed in Adam style, 1775. From copper-plate engraving in old
  catalogue issued by Sheffield makers to the Continental markets.


  (_At the Victoria and Albert Museum._)

  (_Reproduced by permission of the Board of Education._)]

The result was to draw the teeth of the platers by appointing assay
offices at Sheffield and Birmingham. The penalties laid down in the
Act of 1773 put an end to silver plate being marked. In 1784 another
Act was passed, 24 George III, cap. 20, which had some interesting
stipulations concerning silver plated ware. "Whereas doubts have
arisen whether a Manufacturer of Goods plated with Silver can make or
strike his Name upon such Goods without incurring the said Penalty
(one hundred pounds): and by reason of such Doubts the Manufacturers
of Goods plated with Silver have been deterred from striking their
Names upon plated Goods, whereby a proper Distinction betwixt plated
Goods of the different Manufacturers is prevented, and all Emulation
in that Branch of Business is destroyed: to the certain and manifest
Prejudice of the said Manufactory. For obviating such Doubts be it
further enacted by the Authority aforesaid, that it shall be lawful
for any Manufacturer of Goods plated with Silver within the said town
of Sheffield, or within One Hundred Miles thereof, to strike or cause
to be struck upon any Metal Vessel or Thing plated or covered with
Silver, his or her Surname, or, in case of any Partnership the name of
the Firm of such Partnership, and also some Mark, Figure, or Device,
to be struck at the end of such Surname, or other Name of Firm: such
Mark, Figure or Device not being the same or in Imitation of any
Mark made use of by any Assay Office established by Law for assaying
wrought Plate, without being subjected to any Penalty or Forfeiture
for so doing; any Thing in the said Act to the contrary hereof
notwithstanding."

A later clause lays it down that "it shall be Provided that every such
Surname or Name or Firm as aforesaid, shall be in plain and legible
characters, and struck with one Punch only."

The clause "within one hundred miles of Sheffield" included Birmingham,
which gave a control to Sheffield; but the severe rules as to stamps
being the surname or name of the firm made the marking of Sheffield
plated articles a cumbrous business and not much to the liking of the
silver platers, although it must be regarded as a compliment that they
were legally compelled to mark their ware so carefully, apparently for
no other reason than that its resemblance to silver plate was so strong
that it might be mistaken for the sterling article.

=The Rise of the Birmingham and Other Silver Platers.=--What
Joseph Hancock did for Sheffield Matthew Boulton did for Birmingham.
Prior to 1773 the mark used consisted of three stamps with two crowns
and the letters B&F (Boulton and Fothergill); in 1784 the mark was two
suns struck in duplicate and was registered as M. Boulton and Co. at
the Sheffield Assay Office in accordance with the Act of 1784.

The 1773 Act (13 George III, cap. 52) made no provision for the
Sheffield and Birmingham platers, but gave powers to the Sheffield
and Birmingham Assay Offices. Certain portions of this were repealed,
and provision made for the marking of plated ware. But this revision
only applied to Sheffield and for some reason Birmingham was omitted,
therefore the Birmingham platers, although silver could be assayed at
Birmingham, had to put themselves under the ægis of the Sheffield Assay
Office. Hence we find Boulton & Co. registering at Sheffield.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CANDLESTICK.

  From copper-plate engraving issued by eighteenth-century Sheffield
  plate makers to the Continental markets. Date 1795.

  (_At the Victoria and Albert Museum._)

  (_Reproduced by permission of the Board of Education._)]

At Nottingham the silver plating industry was established, and in
London it obtained so great a stronghold that although it was born
in Sheffield it died in London, as the craftsmen, although they found
themselves somewhat moribund and a gradually dwindling body, owing to
the newest invention from Sheffield--plating by electro-process--held
on until some years after the new invention had extinguished the older
styles elsewhere, but in the end silver plating by fusion and rolled
plate work succumbed.

In regard to Ireland there is some evidence that an attempt was made to
manufacture silver plate by fusion and rolling in the Sheffield manner.
But very little fused plated ware was actually made in Dublin. Certain
premiums were offered by the Irish government for "light plate" made in
that country. Light plate evidently being understood to be plated ware.
There are numerous notices and advertisements in Irish newspapers from
about 1760 onwards announcing imports of Sheffield plated goods. There
is no doubt that a considerable amount of Sheffield plated ware was
imported into Ireland. The records of one firm show that between 1784
and 1804 plated articles to the value of £60,000 were exported from
Sheffield to Ireland. Although the Dublin directories of the period
show many names of Irish "silver platers," this is not evidence enough
to establish the fact that any of these craftsmen worked in rolled
plate; there is every likelihood that they plated small articles in the
old manner and later, after the early years of the nineteenth century,
with the process known as "close plating." The name "Sly. Dublin"
appears on a steel meat skewer plated with silver belonging to these
latter days. There is, too, the possibility that some of the Sheffield
platers actually exported rolled plate in sheets, though there is no
direct evidence of this, as it would have been somewhat suicidal to
place in the hands of other artificers the material to convert into
what would have been practically Sheffield plated ware although made
elsewhere.

But there is confirmation, although somewhat meagre, that plating by
fusion was accomplished at Dublin, though apparently only practised to
a small extent.

In 1779 the Goldsmiths Company of Dublin complained of the great amount
of plated goods imported, and in 1783 the Dublin Society offered a
premium of £150, being at the rate of 6 per cent. on value of Irish
plate and light plated goods manufactured in Ireland, by rollers,
between 1782-3 and 1783-4.

The records show that on November 25, 1784, the sum of £24 7s. was
awarded to Christopher Haynes, goldsmith, of Dublin, being at the rate
of 6 per cent. on the value of light plate goods entirely manufactured
by him in Ireland _by rollers_, from 1st July, 1783, to 1st July,
1784; value £405 17s. 3d. It is further noted that a premium of £11
17s. 4d. was paid to John Lloyd, goldsmith, of Harolds Cross, Dublin,
being 6 per cent. on value of light plated goods manufactured by
him in Ireland _by rollers_, value £197 3s. 3d.; and also premium of
£2 2s. 11d. being 6 per cent. on value of plated goods manufactured
by him in Ireland _by rollers_, value £35 10s. In 1792 "A Company of
Manufacturers" in Abbey Street, Dublin, advertise plated metal for
Button Makers at 4s. 4d. per pound.

=The Great Period of Silver Plating.=--Contemporary with the
growth of Sheffield plating were influences which were very stimulating
in regard to the fine and the applied arts. The quarter of a century
from 1765 to 1790 teems with rich inventiveness on every hand. In 1768
Sir Joshua Reynolds became the first President of the Royal Academy,
and he died in 1792. His brilliant canvases, with their Titian colours,
and his children as graceful as those of Correggio, brought noonday
into English art. Thomas Chippendale's _Director_ was published in
1754, and the translations of great French styles acclimatized in
this country. Horace Walpole built Strawberry Hill in 1750. In 1793
Sheraton's _Cabinet Maker's and Upholsterer's Drawing Book_ appeared.
Between these points a great influx of ornament and design burst upon
the country. Flaxman was holding a mirror to the classic graces and
Wedgwood was translating them into clay. Brothers Adam classicized
certain parts of London. The Adelphi is typical. David Garrick lived
in the Adelphi Terrace; Antonio Zucchi painted his drawing-room
ceiling, and a white marble mantelpiece chimney piece cost three
hundred pounds. Great engravers were working in mezzotint and in
line: stipple engravers under Bartolozzi's influence produced gems of
English art printed in colours. A great outburst of work of permanent
artistic quality stamps the period. Nor were the silversmiths behind in
perpetuating glorious designs. Here then was the fine field in which
the Sheffield platers could browse for inspiration. Their results
justify their existence.

How great the industry became is reflected by the series of Design
Books issued showing the patterns that Sheffield was able during a
period of training of less than twenty years to send to the Continent
and that, be it noted, in the days of _Louis Seize_. The illustrations
of Candlesticks from these Design Books illustrated (pp. 65, 69, 75),
are described in detail in Chapter III in relation to their technique
and artistic features (pp. 86, 89).

=Contemporary Silversmiths and Their Art.=--For ten years of the
reign of George II, and from 1760 to for thirty years of the reign
of George III, English plate is remarkable for simple and practical
designs embracing the exuberant ornament from the hand of Paul Lamerie
and imbued with the classic spirit of Robert Adam. Its variety is a
noticeable characteristic, and silver plated replicas carry on the
tradition until the second or decadent period when cumbersome and
unwieldy design overloaded ornament, and finicking details choked the
fine inspirations that had come down from the past.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CANDLESTICKS.


  From old Pattern Book issued by R. C. & Co. (Robert Cadman & Co.) about
  1797. The prices of the above examples (written in ink) are given at
  20s. and 45s. per pair.


  (_At the Victoria and Albert Museum._)

  (_Reproduced by permission of the Board of Education._)]

The cherubs' heads, the satyrs, the lion-masks, and the engraved and
pierced work of Paul Lamerie extended from 1742. Thomas Gilpin was
noted for his fine scrollwork; Peter Taylor has fine designs embodied
in tea caddies engraved with Chinese figures and embellished with
shell ornament. Isaac Duke with his sauce boats with handles formed
as dragons and rich chasing and ornament holds high reputation. John
Cafe, Edward Wakelin, John Swift and George Wickes all were of the
middle eighteenth century and are well known. Daniells, William Shaw in
1785, Orlando Jackson and James Wilkes carried on the traditions. Peter
Archambo, who worked a decade or two previously, had left a technique.
The designs of Elston of Exeter are still honoured. At Dublin, R.
Calderwood in 1750 and William Homer, of Dublin, and John Williams,
of Cork, twenty years later were producing masterpieces of delicate
artistry. And before the decadence came William Plummer and Paul Storr.
It was therefore with no misgiving as to choice of rare design that
the Sheffield plate workers set out to immortalize the work of these
men with no less courage than did McArdell and the great school of
mezzotinters in regard to the canvases of Sir Joshua Reynolds.



III

CANDELABRA AND CANDLESTICKS

   EARLY TYPES

   THE ADAM STYLE AND ITS PROMULGATION TO THE CONTINENT

   THE CANDELABRUM

   THE VARIETIES OF THE SPIRAL FORM

   THE TRI-FORM CANDELABRUM

   THE CHAMBER CANDLESTICK

   THE EVOLUTION OF THE TABLE CANDLESTICK



                              CHAPTER III

                      CANDELABRA AND CANDLESTICKS

   =Early types--The Adam style and its promulgation to the Continent--The
   candelabrum--The varieties of the spiral form--The tri-form
   candelabrum--The chamber candlestick--The evolution of the table
   candlestick.=


In commenting upon early types of Sheffield plated candlesticks a good
deal of past history has to go by the board. One does not need to
discuss pricket candlesticks of ecclesiastical form. Unfortunately the
exquisite Stuart examples, the symmetrically ideal forms of the Charles
I period, so rarely found, and the finely balanced types of the Charles
II, James II and the William period pass--as they were never duplicated
by Sheffield.

Sheffield commences with George II and Sheffield ended with George III.
Happily the banalities of the early-Victoria era never encompassed her
craftsmen. Therefore, the early types of candlestick belong to the days
of George II. They belong to the days when Boulsover looked to Joseph
Hancock, the master cutler, for inspiration, and Joseph Hancock the
cutler of Sheffield set out on a true path. A certain modernity was
in the air. The year 1751 had only 282 days, and the year 1752 only
355. The calendar was in process of reform. Joseph Hancock's types
of the early days (we are speaking of 1750 to 1765) must have been
the ordinary types made by the great silversmiths, though it may be
imagined, as though in leading strings, Sheffield gently pursued her
way with experimental copying.

To come to technique there were the edges of the silver and copper
plate, an ugly witness of inferiority. These must be hidden somehow by
godrooned edges, of solid silver maybe, rather than show the poverty of
the rolled plate. If they were cast then there were the seams to screen
from common observation. To this day the seams denote the genuineness
of the old plate. Dies came into being. Portions were cast, ornaments
were soldered together and attached to the article. At first there was
always the factor determinable enough by close inspection that the
silver was only on one side of the copper. The interior of vessels
was copper, which was tinned. In candlesticks this was not a very
formidable obstacle to successful imitation, as the nozzles could be
French plated and otherwise concealed. The bottom could be plugged with
a mahogany post and filled with solder, could be covered with shellac
at the base and have a fine baize screen from all obtrusive gazers. But
Sheffield soon got above and beyond any of these artifices.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CANDLESTICK.

  One of a pair, with finely shaped facets, decorated with leaf ornament.
  Date 1785.

  (_In the possession of G. H. Wallis, Esq., F.S.A._)]

It is curious how collectors have come to love the candlestick,
possibly it is because it represents something that vanished during the
horrible era of the gas chandelier and the paraffin lamp, and has been
resuscitated in later days in the form of an electric chandelier or in
electric standards. Electricity has galvanized the old candlestick and
the antique candelabrum into life. The Dutch hanging brass pendants are
now one of the stock lines of the electric fitter who furnishes the
villa in pseudo-Jacobean or pseudo-Georgian style. The shopwalker or
his satellites will pronounce empirically upon styles with the surety
of an encyclopædia. In consequence all electric lights are hall-marked
with "periods": they are "Adams" (_sic_), or "Chippendale," or
"Sheraton." Possibly collectors of another age may find shoddy written
over a lengthy period of our modern fitments for illumination.

=The Adam Style and its Promulgation.=--That Sheffield did great
things in candlesticks is shown by a visit to the Victoria and Albert
Museum. One of the finest examples of the classic style with urn shaped
nozzle with classic pilaster column, both urn and base decorated with
festoons in classic style, of the period of 1782, is a Sheffield silver
candlestick. Sheffield was undoubtedly making fine silver candlesticks
and candelabra at this period, and this is not unimportant in regard
to the consideration of what she did as an echo of such work. During
the last twenty years of the eighteenth century her output was of the
highest character. Since 1773, as we have shown, Sheffield had stood
on her dignity as the proud possessor of an assay office with all the
newly acquired rights of silversmiths jealous of infringements on so
close a corporation. This had, without doubt, an enormous influence on
the quality of the work perpetrated by the silver platers. Sheffield
made a bid to become a silversmiths' centre and she has not lost her
ancient ambitions to-day.

In the illustration given (p. 65) of a candlestick from a copper-plate
engraving of pure Adam style, in date about 1775, it is seen how far
Sheffield had advanced to be able to send such pattern books with
designs broadcast to buyers of her ware on the Continent of Europe.
This and another illustration (p. 69) indicate the class of candlestick
Sheffield was prepared to export. Sheffield had not snatched at renown,
she had won it. A series of Design Books of the period, from which
we reproduce illustrations, establish the fact that Sheffield plated
wares were as acceptable on the Continent as being something especially
English, as were the equally original products of Wedgwood in pottery,
and at a later date the Ironstone Ware of Mason, where it is said that
he inflicted more injury upon the French potters than did the English
fleet under Nelson.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CANDELABRUM.


  With two lights detachable for use of standard as a single light.
  Removable nozzles. Date about 1800. Showing signs of copper owing to
  bad usage.


  (_In the collection of Author._)]

These are trade matters, but interesting withal, as they show the rapid
rise under careful and patient intuition of skilled craftsmen whose
resplendent models tempted the Continent to buy our replicas where
perhaps the original work was either not proffered for sale or was too
expensive for the continental market.

We give another illustration (p. 75) of two table candlesticks, 1797
in date, sent out, as the catalogue states, by R. C. & Co. (Robert
Cadman and Company). In one example we have the favourite design of
the ostrich feathers beloved of Hepplewhite and others in the chair
backs of the same period. The classic influence of Adam is waning.
There is nothing purely Grecian in the column. The Ionic pillar has
long since disappeared. We have something as a substitute in design.
The Maltese cross as a novelty finds itself as a feature in the design.
It is composite, it is in a measure feeble in comparison with previous
designs. It marks the oncoming period. It is just the sign of something
confused in the design. We shall soon see something not only confused
but extremely mixed and utterly banal with false and meretricious
ornament, with little meaning except that here it stands, as ornament
or as attempt at ornament, but as to balance or symmetry--that has
been irretrievably lost. The age of decadence no one can explain. One
marvels as much at ineptitude as at beauty in design.

Happily the Sheffield designers went backwards for some of their
designs in a period that threatened decadence. The smaller of the
candlesticks (illustrated, p. 75) suggests the reticence and
simplicity of a brass candlestick of the Stuart period. As such it must
be regarded. It stands quietly unassailable in its English dignity.

A fine clean-cut example, in date 1785, of pure design, with facets
sharply cut and decorated with acanthus leaf design in due subjection,
is illustrated (p. 83). The urn stem and the urn nozzle determine the
period, and the candlestick stands on a fine round base. Its clear
defined reticence is almost like cut steel work on a minor plane of the
same period, such as frames to cameos and later adapted to purses and
chatelaines. Cut steel mounts to clock faces belonged to the coming
Empire days. Here, in this candlestick illustrated, is an indication of
facetted work as clean cut as glass, which in its working and in its
technique is a metal too.

=The Candelabrum.=--Whatever may have been the varieties of the
hanging candelabrum in Dutch interiors, finely wrought brass and copper
with a variety of designs always pleasing and so attractive as to find
a ready duplication as a modern electric light candelabrum, we do not
find the table candelabrum at an early date in England. As days went
on it became massive, and had seven or eight lights. Old engravings
depict Jewish and other candelabra as standing on the ground, sometimes
of great height and with many lights, but for domestic use their
acceptance as table or sideboard lights came in the middle
eighteenth century, in Georgian days with great spread of mahogany and
massive furniture. They seem almost related to the Adam resuscitation
of classic candelabra on tripod feet. But most of the massive Sheffield
plated examples bear relationship to Hogarthian pre-Chippendale
mahogany, and solid sideboards groaning with silver, engirt with
monteiths and punch bowls and all the equipments of a period when
members of Parliament hiccupped their speeches in the House, and when
fox-hunting and port-drinking squires drank each other under the
table. The evolution of the candelabrum from its simple form with two
lights to its conclave of twelve is as interesting as the evolution
of the gate-leg table during a somewhat longer period. In regard to
practicability, as has been pointed out to the writer, some of the
later replicas overdo the number in the attempt to be ornate, and if
filled with candles and lighted they would burn each other. This is
an interesting fact as indicating that sometimes in his attempt to be
original the modern fabricator invents something that could never have
been used. For, after all, our ancestors, however handicapped they were
by want of illuminative mechanism, were never so foolish as to employ
candelabra that would cause guttering by one candle firing another on
account of its close proximity.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CANDELABRUM.

  Branched with seven lights. A square base with ball feet. Fluted
  decorations on column. Date 1820.

  (_By courtesy of Walter H. Willson, Esq._)]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CANDELABRUM.

  With five lights: on hexagonal base with claw feet. Nozzles urn-shaped,
  richly decorated. Column with acanthus leaf and diaper ornamentation.
  Date 1810.

  (_By courtesy of Walter H. Willson, Esq._)]

In considering candelabra, the ordinary branched three-light
candelabrum is interesting, and many forms follow each other
indicating the steady progress onwards. The example illustrated (p. 87)
is capable of being used as a single candle or as two lights. It is in
the usual nomenclature of the trade termed a three-light candelabrum,
though only two lights are capable of being used at the same time. The
nozzles are removable. Now the removable nozzle was not introduced
into silver plate until about 1758, when the tall Corinthian column
types first had this invention. But the example under notice has other
indications to place it about 1800. It has the slight suggestions of
oncoming Empire style, the commencement of a return to austerity, a
poverty of design, and the urns and nozzles betray the newer forms of
ornament. The oval bases and the touch of floriate ornament under the
nozzle urns have their indicative note. It will be observed that the
camera, with more penetration than the human eye, has brought out the
thinness of the plate, and it is here represented in the illustration.
It denotes perhaps less of a delinquency on the part of the plater or
a flaw in his technique than a grave indictment against generations of
housemaids who have used metal polish which contained mercury or some
other noxious compound inimical to the longevity of the superimposed
silver. So here it is indicating a last stage of its simulation and the
base copper peeps forth triumphantly.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CANDELABRUM.

  One of a pair. Two-light: about 1790. Fluted column handwork. Fluted
  leaf ornament on cups, with Gothic looped branches surmounted by an
  acorn.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)]

A glorious candelabrum of massive form branched with seven lights
on square base with ball feet is in date about 1820 (illustrated, p.
91). The grease cups indicate its late date, and underneath is the
same bud-like floriate ornament we noticed in the last example. But
in addition to give it yet a later date is the broken branch with
ball-like ornament. It is a fine example, especially noteworthy as
being representative of a period just before a decadence of design set
in which thrusts the collector out and freezes any interest he may take
in perfect technique by reason of a fearfulness he has of banal design.

A splendid example of a candelabrum with five lights, one of a pair is
illustrated (p. 93). The late classic influence from Pompeii derivative
through French sources is here evident. The tripod stand terminates
on claw feet embellished by a floriated winged design. The column has
a richness almost akin to the worker in ormulu. The base is decorated
with acanthus leaf ornament, followed by ordinary fluting which breaks
off in the centre of the pillar. The upper portion is decorated in a
diaper pattern and the capital is a fluted urn, from which spring the
branches. The grease pans are richly godrooned, and here the feature
underneath is noticeable, the little circular boss beneath the pans.
At a later date the grease pan disappeared, but the little rosette
was left. This is especially noticeable in the example in date 1800
(illustrated, p. 87). The grease pans have become too diminutive to
be of use, but there is sufficient suggestion of their presence left
to disturb the fine proportions of the urn above. The fluted branches
have an added ornament which it is charitable to believe was placed
there for practical reasons to give added strength to the branches, but
denotes a wavering in design from exquisite, unbroken curves. Ornate as
this great candelabrum is, possessing design carried out with cunning
technique, there are restless elements in its conception, which mark it
as belonging to a transition period.

=The Varieties of the Spiral Form.=--There is something peculiarly
interesting in following the variation of spiral forms in the branched
candelabra from the early days until at the last they sank into
mediocrity and became in the last stages little better than what was
afterwards the standard pattern of the mid-Victorian gas bracket or gas
chandelier, with its meaningless branched arms and its fulsomeness of
meretricious ornament, a form, be it said, actually copied by the early
electricians till they learned better and walked serenely in the paths
of old design.

It would appear that at first the spiral curl of the branched
candelabrum was in due subjection, that is to say, it was a well
considered part of a complete design. It fell within the four corners
of a set harmonious whole. It did not detract from the whole by any
eccentricity, nor did it attract especial attention except as
a factor in an _ensemble_. For instance, take three examples and
examine them minutely. The first is on one of a pair, in date 1790
(illustrated, p. 97). The convolutions of the spirals are apparently
intricate till one more closely realizes that they approximate to
the Gothic designs then being promulgated by Chippendale. The top
loop forming a circle, the side loops forming similar circles, the
intersections of these and the lower arcs forming an angle over the
urn-ornamented nozzle are little other than the loops and angles
forming the tracery of a Gothic design which might with little addition
be the leadwork of a window. These same designs may, with an observant
eye, be traced in fanlights and doorways in the suburbs of London where
the middle and late eighteenth century styles still linger in the
façades and in the railings.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CANDELABRUM.

  With two lights: having branches with interlaced spiral design as
  central ornament. Date 1790.]

  (_By courtesy of Walter H. Willson, Esq._)]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CANDELABRUM.

  With two lights: having S-shaped branches interlacing at centre. Date
  1790.

  (_By courtesy of Walter H. Willson, Esq._)]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATE CANDELABRUM.

  Two lights, oval base, removable nozzles, fluted lobes, and single
  spiral branches. Date 1790.

  (_By courtesy of Walter H. Willson, Esq._)]

Take another example still in date about 1790 (illustrated, p. 101);
here the base is an urn and the single-candle standard form nothing
very especially removed from a design very beloved by the brass turners
of a slightly later date. But it is the branched form which commands
respect as a piece of decorative ornament. Its =C=-shape spirals
interlace at centre and form a pleasing ornament. Its simplicity and
grace are at once apparent. It has the practicability that it is not
readily injured by ill-usage. Its wearing parts are confined to a
narrow space. Among all the spiral forms there is nothing, however
elaborate, that excels this in grace. It is almost honeysuckle like in
conventional ornament. We have seen the ironworker spin such reticent
spirals, but in the silversmiths' work it is rare to find this form.

Another 1790 design (illustrated, p. 101) carries the loops out in
such a manner as to suggest an elongated urn. The oviform intersection
of the loops, plain and formal though they appear at first glance, do
not come into such a severe classic position by mere accident. The
low dropping loops afford just that contrast and upward spring which
make the intersection, and give it its maximum ornament as two bands
enclosing a space, which space is in itself a component part of the
ornament to the candelabrum.

Two fine examples illustrated (pp. 103, 107) exhibit respectively the
fine use of the twisted form in the arms. They are both two-light
candelabra with central vase ornament. In the former with single loops
the vase is very properly left nearly level with the apex of the arms.
This would have been a blemish in the other example illustrated (p.
107), where the vase ornament is larger and carries off the strong
double twisted design in the arms. This example is original in its
treatment of curves and carries the idea to the utmost limit. Beyond
this the ornament became disastrous and added a note of eccentricity to
otherwise well-balanced designs.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD CANDELABRUM.

  Two lights: oval base, acanthus leaf decoration in column. Double
  spiral branches.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)]

When the loop went awry, as it did, it became an excrescence. In two
examples this is shown in varying stages of decadence. It is obvious
that the designer had lost sight of the fact that the curved loops
could so be manipulated as to become an integral part of the design
and contribute to its harmony. The same thing happens in regard to
chair-backs. It was here that Chippendale proved himself a prince of
designers. It was not so much what he put in as what he left out. In
other words, take a great design of one of his superlative chair-backs
and let the eye trace the spaces, that is the space form, trying if
possible to eliminate the concrete solid design. The silhouette of the
outlines of the spaces are really the key to the justness and beauty of
the design. If one could remove the mahogany portions of an intricate
carved back and placing it against a black sheet retain the beautiful
outline of the spaces, the result, example after example, would be a
design book in itself as fascinating as a book of Japanese stencil
plates.

In the example 1795, with the three lights (illustrated, p. 111) there
is little to quarrel with the design except that the long stem and
wanton simplicity and lack of grace suggest the cast iron standard
which effect is carried out by the common place spiral leading to the
central light, which, by reason of its curves, attracts an attention
to itself which is unwarranted by any special beauty it possesses. It
is a blemish. It has no meaning as a curve and it detracts from a
simplicity which otherwise the candelabrum might possess.

The other example illustrated (p. 111) has unmeaning spiral design
utterly vitiating an otherwise harmless candelabrum. Its spirals run
riot and offer nothing pleasing. They stand as an attempt undoubtedly
original on the part of the designer to produce something effective
as a novel design. The style otherwise of the candlestick does not
suggest that the craftsman had a hold upon sound design, but we might
pass that. We are extremely thankful to know that nobody seems to have
continued this style. In all possibility, by the laws of practical
usage, the housemaid placed her vengeance on the offending spiral arms
with no support and they broke in halves. The same servitor teaches
the offending potter a lesson when, in vessels intended for everyday
use, he adds ornament that is unduly projecting in handle or in spout.
They pass into the heap of shards because common utility abhors useless
ornament.

As a comparison with other forms of branched candelabra and as
exemplifying the completed mastery the artist craftsman had over his
design and its execution, two examples of rare form and character are
illustrated (p. 113). The two-light candelabrum is of unusual shape,
the standard being a full-bodied urn on which stands another urn.
Branches issue from the lower urn and in their intersections form
beautiful curves of pleasing form.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CANDELABRUM.

  With three lights: having central branch with corkscrew spiral.
  Standard of unusual form. Date 1795.]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CANDELABRUM.

  With two lights: having elongated spiral branches interlacing at
  centre. Date 1790-1795.]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CANDLESTICK.

  On oval base, with standard in form of lyre. Threaded oval cups and
  nozzles. Date 1795. Height 10 in.]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CANDELABRUM.

  With two lights: having =S=-shaped branches, with standard in form
  of vase surmounted by another vase ornament.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)]

The single candlestick (illustrated, p. 113), has another adaptation of
curves in ornament. The standard springs from a circular base and is
in the form of a lyre which supports an urn-shaped nozzle. This form
undoubtedly is derivative from French sources. We find it in ornaments
to metal clock cases, and it bespeaks the Sheraton period in possessing
a grace and _finesse_ associated with the designs of _Louis Seize_ that
he acclimatized in this country.

=The Tri-Form Candelabrum.=--The candelabrum with three branches
has been found capable of much variation in character. These branches
have had the advantage of being able to conform to conventional usages
in regard to a triangular conformation and a trifid ornament. It is a
favourite device in art from the lotus leaf of the Buddhist emblems to
the _fleur-de-lys_. The love of a threefold ornament appealed to the
wood-carver, and it is found on sprigs decorating porcelain. The use
of three balancing adjuncts in ornament is universal, apart from the
deeper or symbolical meaning of such forms.

In the example illustrated (p. 117), in date 1805, the three curved
branches spring upwards and the lights are all level. This form is
typical of some of the best three-branched candelabra then made. It
is solid and massive, and has no false or overloaded ornament. It is
dignified and imposing. The other example, in date 1810, illustrated
on the same page, betrays at once classic influence. The old models of
Herculaneum and Pompeii had been eagerly refashioned as something new
in the First French Empire. The portrait of Madame Rècamier by David
shows her sitting on an empire settee with a tall standing candelabrum
at its foot. The couch is a replica of old Roman stone forms and the
candelabrum is a duplicate of a Pompeian style on tripod feet. The
candelabrum illustrated has a stand consisting of three tapering legs
reeded, and ending in claw feet. This supports an urn which in its turn
supports another, which latter can be used as a light. From the lower
urn proceed three branches, spread out in triangular manner.

A later candelabrum with two arms and centre light, illustrated (p.
121) betrays every sign of bad design. The floral scroll work is
hard and offensive. The leaf and shell ornament at base is equally
unsatisfactory. It was this form that survived as it came on the
threshold of the era of illumination by coal-gas. It was about this
date that Sir Walter Scott lit Abbotsford by gas. "His application of
gaslight to the interior of a dwelling house was in fact attended by so
many inconveniences," says Lockhart his biographer, "that ere long all
his family heartily wished it had never been thought of. The effect of
the apparatus was at first superb. In sitting down to table in autumn
no one observed that in each of three chandeliers there lurked a
tiny bead of red light. Dinner passed off, and the sun went down, and
suddenly at the turning of a screw, the room was filled with a gush
of splendour worthy of the palace of Aladdin; but as in the case of
Aladdin, the old lamp would have been better in the upshot. Jewelry
sparkled, but cheeks and lips looked cold and wan in this fierce
illumination; and the eye was wearied and the brow ached if the sitting
was at all protracted. I confess, however, that my chief enmity to the
whole affair," continues Lockhart, "arises from my conviction that Sir
Walter's own health was damaged in his latter years in consequence of
his habitually working at night under the intense and burning glare of
a broad star of gas."

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CANDELABRUM.

  With three lights: having spiral branches interlacing at centre.
  Circular base terminating in vase ornament. Date 1805.]

  (_By courtesy of Walter H. Willson, Esq._)]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CANDELABRUM.

  With four lights: having spiral branches on tripod column with claw
  feet, standing on hexagonal base. Date 1810.

  (_By courtesy of Walter H. Willson, Esq._)]

=The Chamber Candlestick.=--This form has had a long survival and
up to quite a recent date, before the adoption of electricity, a row of
earthenware candlesticks formed part of the appurtenances of the hall
or corridor of any provincial hotel. The illustration (p. 123) entitled
_Serena_, from an engraving by J. R. Smith after Romney's picture,
shows a fair reader, entranced in some old world romance, illuminated
by the light of a single candle, as injurious in its faint glimmer
as was the glare of the gas to Sir Walter Scott. Romney painted Miss
Sneyd as _Serena_ at a date between 1770 and 1790. The form of the
candlestick in the print, it will be seen, differs somewhat from the
Sheffield plate examples illustrated on the same page. The example
with the circular nozzle and circular base is in date about 1810,
and the two others with square nozzles and square bases are in date
respectively 1815 and 1825. They are ornate in their ornament, and
have silver filled mounts and edges. The example of the latest date is
silver gilt.

=The Evolution of the Table Candlestick.=--The table candlestick
is of long lineage. The Sheffield plated examples cover the last
hundred years of the existence of the candlestick as a means of
domestic lighting. During this period, especially during that portion
from 1765 to 1790 a brilliant procession of fine designs in silver,
made under the direction of highly inspired artist-craftsmen, exhibits
a flexibility of ornament and a diversity of character rarely equalled
in English metal work covering so short a period of time. It embraces
the traditions of the Queen Anne period still retained in the types
carried on in the reign of George II as robust as were the designs in
mahogany in Chippendale's early manner following the broader splats
and swelling lines of the Hogarthian period. With the Adam influence
reticent decoration eminently fitted to grace and embellish table
ornament made its permanent impression on the period, tinctured with
inclinations towards flowing lines--the ribbon decorations of the
carved wood chair-back, or later the subtle graces of boudoir art
reflected in the designs of Thomas Sheraton. And with the steady
flow of models of table candlesticks reflecting the exuberance and
native originality of a crowded art-period the creations of the potters
were running concurrently in emulation of silver. Chelsea and Bow
produced candlesticks environed with peasant maids and shepherdesses,
in the technique appertaining to the clay, rich in colours and pleasing
in effect. Wedgwood produced table candlesticks in black and blue
jasper ware with cameo decorations in white, or finely modelled classic
figures in basalt in which candelabra were embodied, and running
through the period are the competitive creations of table candlesticks
as an echo of silver forms by the glass-worker.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CANDELABRUM.

  With two arms and centre light. Arms curved and ornamented with floral
  scroll work. Base plain, with circular band of silver leaf and shell
  ornament. Height 24 in. Width 24 in. Date 1820.

  (_At the Sheffield Public Museum._)

  (_Reproduced by permission of the Corporation of Sheffield._)]

  [Illustration: "SERENA."

  (From an old print.)

  Engraved by J. R. Smith, after Romney.]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CHAMBER CANDLESTICKS.

  Gilt: silver-filled, gadroon and shell edges. Date 1825.

  Circular base, vase-shaped nozzle, silver-filled mounts. Date 1810.

  Square base, ornate silver-filled mounts; single plate. Date 1815.]

The series of illustrations of the various types of Sheffield plated
table candlesticks do little more than approximately indicate the
rapidly changing styles in a period so richly inventive in decorative
ornament. In the group illustrated (p. 127) the example on the left, in
date 1765, is on a square base with cluster columns and leaf capitals.
The example on the right is in date 1770. The base is round. It is here
that the plater has exercised his ingenuity in fine reticent die work,
and the edging is delicately beaded. The candlestick in the centre has
a square base, with fine batswing fluting, and square-shaped columns
ornamented with classic medallions. The nozzle has a character of its
own in having a rim which is pierced.

The illustrations (p. 129) show other forms in process of evolution.
The tall Corinthian column made a handsome table ornament. The example
on left is one of a set of four, twelve and a half inches high. The
bases are square and are decorated in clever die work with rosettes
and festoons carried around the pyramidal base. This type has cluster
columns terminating in capitals decorated with formal leaf design. The
adjacent candlestick is a form found about 1790. The base is square and
fluted, and the column is in classic style terminating in a capital in
Ionic style, with volutes springing out of twisted leaves and husks.
The third example in the upper row is about 1795 in date. The base is
square and follows the same classic suggestions of previous types. The
capital is square and fluted, and is decorated with conventional floral
ornament. The nozzle is urn shaped.

The three lower examples of the period from 1810 to 1830 show signs
of debasement in form. The bases have now become circular. Each
candlestick has certain beauties in it, little touches which invite
respect and regard, but each also contains blemishes detracting from
the exact symmetry which was the character of the earlier types. The
floriate decoration as an ornament to the lower half of the column in
the first example may be passed. In the second it has grown into an
unpleasing excrescence, and the base is decorated in a florid manner
disturbing to the eye. The last example has lost that fine feeling
dependent on the easy flow of simple line. It is composite in
character, it betrays a lack of inspiration. It is a very poor relation
to the fine table candlesticks of the earlier period, where the beauty
wins and fascinates. There is no such grace and distinction in these
late examples, but they doubtless reflected the silver fashions then
prevalent, which were in the main execrable in taste.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CANDLESTICK.

  With broken fluted column on square base with ball ornament. Nozzle
  richly decorated with acanthus leaf design. Date 1765. Height 10 in.

  (_By courtesy of Walter H. Willson, Esq._)]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CANDLESTICKS.

  With square base, batswing fluting, square-shaped column with
  medallion, and having unusual nozzle with pierced gallery. Date 1795.
  Height 12 in.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)

  With circular base, column and nozzle fluted, ornamented with bead
  edging at base, column and nozzle. Date 1770. Height 10 in.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)]

  [Illustration: GROUP OF CANDLESTICKS, OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED.

  Exhibiting types and variation in style for fifty years.

  _Upper Row_--

   =1780.= Broken fluted
   column. Acanthus leaf decoration, square base, medallion and ribbon
   ornament.

   =1790.= Square base, broken fluted column, terminating in Ionic
   capital.

   =1795.= Square base, tapering column fluted, surmounted by urn
   nozzle.

   _Lower Row_--

   =1810.= Circular base, spiral fluting, lobe decoration,
   urn-shaped nozzle retained.

   =1820.= Circular base, with bulbous column heavily decorated with
   floral scrolls.

   =1830.= Broken circular base, onion-shaped column, bulbous
   ornament.]



IV

SALT CELLARS AND MUSTARD POTS

   THE SALT CELLARS

   THE PATTERN BOOKS OF SHEFFIELD

   THE NEW STYLE OF TABLE SALT CELLAR

   THE MUSTARD POT

   A BID FOR THE CONTINENTAL TRADE



                              CHAPTER IV

                     SALT CELLARS AND MUSTARD POTS


   =The salt cellars--The pattern books of Sheffield--The new style of
   table salt cellar--The mustard pot--A bid for the Continental trade.=


There is nothing so ancient and so massive about the salt cellars that
Sheffield made as there is in the old styles beloved by the collector
of rare silver plate. There are no standing salts in Sheffield plate,
such as those treasured at the Universities, or brought out on state
occasions at the dinners of the great London Companies. There is
nothing in the eighteenth century in silver approaching the grandeur
affected by the standing salt and its place of honour at the tables
when those who sat above the vessel and those who sat below it were
of different status. The trencher salts of a later day were more
democratic; they were smaller and they answered the practical purpose
of serving salt to the diners. But they had nothing of the stateliness
of the great standing salt with its ritual as fixed as that of the
loving cup which circulated, although the salt was a permanent fixture.
Those who sat below the salt were either the Greek chorus or they
were "preposterous shadows lengthening in the noon-tide of one's
prosperity." They were poor relations, "a blot on your scutcheon, a
rent in your garment, a death's head at your banquet." Charles Lamb
touches on the late eighteenth century phase of the dependent below
the salt. "He casually looketh in about dinner-time--when the table
is full. He offereth to go away seeing you have company--but is
induced to stay. He filleth a chair, and your visitor's two children
are accommodated at a side-table.... He declareth against fish, the
turbot being small--yet suffereth himself to be importuned into a
slice, against his first resolution.... He is a puzzle to the servants,
who are fearful of being too obsequious, or not civil enough to him.
The guests think they have seen him before. He calleth you by your
Christian name, to imply that your other is the same as his own. He
is too familiar by half, yet you wish he had less diffidence. With
half the familiarity he might pass for a casual dependent; with more
boldness he would be in no danger of being taken for what he is. He
is too humble for a friend, yet taketh on him more state than befits
a client. He is a worse guest than a country tenant, inasmuch as he
bringeth up no rent. When the company breaks up, he proffereth to go
for a coach--and lets the servant go. He recollects your grandfather,
and will thrust in some mean and unimportant anecdote of the family.
He knew it when it was not quite so flourishing as 'he is blest in
seeing it now.' He is of opinion that the urn is the more elegant
shape; but after all, there was something more comfortable about the
old tea kettle--which you must remember."

  [Illustration: DESIGNS OF SALT CELLARS.

  From an old Pattern Book issued by eighteenth-century Sheffield platers
  to Continental markets. The volume contains 86 full-page plates in
  copper engraving, illustrating various Sheffield plated articles. Date
  about 1784.

  (_At the Victoria and Albert Museum._)

  (_Reproduced by permission of the Board of Education._)]

What a picture, graphic and piquant, of the closing years of the
eighteenth century. Had the great standing salt survived how Elia would
have revelled in his sly whimsical manner in portraying the exactitude
with which it was fixed as a thermometer to register the correctitude
of degrees of social affinity with the host. But the scattered plebeian
trencher salts, as was the urn, which succeeded the copper kettle, were
of the days when Sheffield and the silversmiths ran neck and neck.

=The Pattern Books of Sheffield.=--Advertisement is often
considered to be of modern origin. In the twentieth century it is true
it has taken to itself attributes which might very well have been
eliminated. The press is the fourth estate, and its power for good or
evil is illimitable. It is obnoxious to find a page of advertisement
printed on the cheap edition of a novel. It is a stab in the vitals
to read an insidiously worded article carefully printed in an evening
paper and find it only an advertisement. There is a Plimsoll mark in
advertising, and modernity has not always agreed as to where this
should be placed.

There were advertisements in the journals of the days of Charles II. In
Anne's day in the _Spectator_ we find on June 2, 1712, advertisements
concerning a preparation for "polishing and setting Razors, Penknives,
and Lancets, not to be paralleled, being much more durable and smooth,
never growing rough by using, but setting Razors with greater Fineness
and Exactitude than any other sort possibly can. Price 1s. each. Sold
only by Mr. Allcrafts, a Toy Shop at the Blue-Coat Boy against the
Royal Exchange in Cornhill and Mr. Paishon, a Stationer at the Maypole
in the Strand."

Sheffield goes back to 1624, when the Cutlers Company was incorporated
by Act of Parliament. Cutlery and tools were the great features,
but later there grew up a special branch known as "steel toys."
Button-hooks, corkscrews, key rings, nut-crackers, swivels and spring
hooks, and many other articles. Here then was the foundation of
trade long established and trade customs long in operation. It is
not therefore surprising to find that when the great impulse came
with factories and mills arising on every hand for rolling plate and
manipulating it into shapes acceptable to the world of fashion, that
Sheffield rose to the occasion. Her catalogues, beautifully engraved
and costly to produce, were embellished with designs of examples she
was prepared to export to the Continent. From these Pattern Books
we get a very interesting sidelight into the intricacies of the
business side of the undertakings which were evidently on colossal
proportions.

  [Illustration: DESIGNS OF SALT CELLARS.

  From an old Pattern Book issued by eighteenth-century Sheffield platers
  to Continental markets. Of the 86 copper engraved plates, many were
  designs made by J. Parsons & Co. Date about 1784.

  (_At the Victoria and Albert Museum._)

  (_Reproduced by permission of the Board of Education._)]

In the examination of the designs each by each it will be observed that
as is usual in modern trade publications every variation is given of
designs differing from each other although in apparently unimportant
details to the public. But this peep behind the scenes shows how exact
were the traders in illustrating such differences in design.

The point arises as to whether the Sheffield platers themselves made
these slight variations in design, adding here a piece of chasing
and there a chain of festoons, each article having this slight
variation from its fellow, or whether they were actually following the
silversmiths' designs in silver plate where similar variations may have
been made. We do not know. It is a moot point. If we cannot find in
silver, and examples have not always been found to agree exactly with
Sheffield plate reproductions, all that we know Sheffield produced
we are on the horns of a dilemma. First, some of the silver designs
required to indicate originals that Sheffield must have copied are
missing and must have been destroyed, or, secondly, some of the designs
of Sheffield had no counterpart in silver; that is to say, they were
original designs made by the Sheffield silver platers as variations (as
the illustrations show) of silver models.

This is an interesting point, and it has never been quite cleared
up, as to whether all Sheffield plated work can be matched by having
examples of solid silver plate produced as prototypes from which such
models were taken. Until this is done systematically it is not quite
certain whether Sheffield did or did not invent certain additions
of her own in embellishing designs which originally came from the
silversmith. The presumption is that she did; broad general designs
as prototypes were used, but details in ornament and decoration and a
series of minor differences were made to suit the technique or to offer
variety to clients.

An examination of the specimens from the old copper-plate designs
(illustrated, p. 137) shows how slight some of the variations in
chasing were. No. 338 on the top row on left is similar to No. 340 in
same row which latter is minus the festoons. No. 339 has an upright
medallion and a central band of chased lozenge ornament. No. 337 has
the same design in bands top and bottom, the medallion is sideways and
there are added panels of ornament at side.

Another illustration (p. 141) shows similar minute variations which
were offered to the trade. No. 486 on the left at the top row is
practically the same as No. 489, on the second row beneath which has
floral chasing added, and the next example, No. 490, differs only
inasmuch as it has a broken curved top. The differences therefore are
only those found in trade catalogues.

  [Illustration: DESIGNS OF MUSTARD POTS.

  From an old Pattern Book issued by eighteenth-century Sheffield platers
  to Continental markets, by J. Parsons & Co., about 1784. This series
  indicates the minute differences of detail in ornament of exceptional
  interest to collectors nowadays.

  (_At the Victoria and Albert Museum._)

  (_Reproduced by permission of the Board of Education._)]


=The New Style of the Table Salt Cellar.=--Apart from the days of
the great standing salt of the late seventeenth century, the potter
followed on at Rouen and at Lambeth with simulations in white ware
of these creations of the silversmith. In the days of Queen Anne and
in the reign of George II the trencher salt was of minor proportions
and simple in design. It had no feet and it did not attempt to be
ornamental in the same degree that is observable in later salts where
the decorative effect is beautiful and symmetrical and where they
followed in succession all the phases of contemporary ornament. They
had hoof feet, claw and ball feet, were perforated in their designs,
were oval or hexagonal in shape, adopting in turn the classic festoons
of the Adam period, and the godrooning of the tureen of the late George
III massive style. They had three feet and then four feet, till they
finally dropped the foot altogether. When Empire forms were in vogue
they are found with sphinxes or winged griffons and on tripod stands,
and in the decadence they sunk to trivial designs as inartistic as the
crude earthenware butter pan in the dairy.

It is interesting to the collector of old Sheffield plate to trace
his designs and compare them with the silver hall-marked specimens
throughout the period from 1770 till 1820. He will find that in the
main the Sheffield plated examples of the period about 1785 to 1795
offer examples in decorative style not surpassed by any others, and
he will also find that the silver plate of that particular period is
not quite so replete with similar designs as one would suppose, taking
it for granted that all the designs of the platers were taken from the
prototypes found in silver.

=The Mustard Pot.=--"What say you to a piece of beef and mustard?"
says Shakespeare in his _Taming of the Shrew_, which shows the use of
this condiment at the sixteenth century English table, though there is
no record of mustard pots having formed part of the plate. Swift gave
certain satiric directions to a servant how to snuff a candle, and he
added further injunctions, "Stick your candle in a bottle, a coffee-cup
or a mustard pot."

In collecting, the mustard pot bursts on the horizon about the year
1760. Fitted with blue glass liners, they ran in triumphant progress
with the sugar pails, and cream pails, through a period of thirty to
thirty-five years, offering the choicest specimens of cut and pierced
work, with festoons and with medallions in classic style, and decorated
with exquisite chasing.

  [Illustrations: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED MUSTARD POTS.

  1775. With bar piercing: Medallions and festoons. Circular base; dome
  lid. Handle of form used on flagons.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)

  1785. Oval shape. Handle with Prince of Wales's feathers as
  thumb-piece. Medallion star pierced. Threaded rim.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)

  1785. Round in shape on collette foot; scroll piercing. Circular lid
  surmounted by knob.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)

  1790. Vase shaped on collette foot. Bead edging and beaded handle. Star
  piercing.

  All these examples have blue glass liners.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)]

  [Illustration: DESIGNS OF MUSTARD POTS.

  From an old Pattern Book issued by eighteenth-century Sheffield platers
  to Continental markets. Many are by J. Parsons & Co., about 1784. The
  fine character of the cut and pierced ornament indicates the artistic
  output of that period.

  (_At the Victoria and Albert Museum._)

  (_Reproduced by permission of the Board of Education._)]

Their shapes varied with varying fashions. The illustration (p. 145)
taken from an old Design Book by J. Parsons and Co. of Sheffield,
about 1784, shows the type then fashionable. All these are of oblong
form. The lids spring up with fine contour and are chased with various
patterns, all of them terminate in an urn pediment, following the
prevailing note in decoration. As was shown with salt cellars in regard
to these old pattern books the designs are only slight variations
from each other, differentiated from each other by numbers for trade
reasons. But the differences are trifling, as will be seen from the
illustration. The middle examples on the two rows illustrate this. The
same ostrich feathers, a simulation of the _fleur-de-lys_, and later in
Hepplewhite manner to be affiliated with the Prince of Wales's feathers
as a permanent feature in design. In both examples this is a feature as
a pierced medallion. The floral festoons are the same in both cases,
but the only variation is the chasing in the upper and lower bands. The
other examples show similar relationship.

During the period of classic design there was a drum-shaped upright
form as is shown in the illustration (p. 149) with handle and lid, by
the way, which go to an earlier period. The adjacent example, 1785 in
date, is oval, like the copper-plate pattern book examples illustrated,
but its character is finer. The pierced designs as in the 1775 example
are of a fine quality. The thumb piece at the handle, it may be noted,
goes back to seventeenth century days and is found in flagons.

Other drum forms are shown in the illustration (p. 151) and the same
slight variations appear in trade differentiations in this copper-plate
catalogue of examples ready for export. Some of these, it will be
noticed, have flat lids and one example has the dome-shaped lid of
the flagon of earlier days. The tall urn-form offers another variety
of shape. It is here shown in the engraved examples and it is further
exemplified in two fine examples in date 1785 and 1790, illustrated
(p. 149). In the left hand specimen the pierced work exhibits an
originality and beauty in its curved perforations. The other mustard
pot has pierced star ornament and delicate beaded decoration, on body
and handle. In regard to the handles of these urn mustard pots there
is a departure from exact classic countour. The illustration (p. 151)
shows the handles in fine curve, but severely classic. The practical
examples have lost this severity, the handles are more the handles of
the working silversmith than the designs of the drawing master. In
regard to Sheraton's design books there are similar differences. The
practical craftsman did not always live up to the ideal of the designer.

A page of mustard pots illustrated (p. 155) shows the diversity of
the styles, and collectors can compare their Sheffield plate not only
with marked examples of silver but with designs that were issued from
Sheffield in the series of Pattern Books which happily have not been
destroyed. A page of pepper castors illustrated (p. 155) shows similar
inventiveness in design and ornament.

  [Illustration: GROUP OF OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED PEPPER CASTORS.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)]

  [Illustration: GROUP OF OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED MUSTARD POTS.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)]

=A Bid for Continental Trade.=--The series of illustrations
reproduced throughout the volume show that Sheffield was organized
and fully equipped as an art industry, ready and competent to seize
foreign markets. To those who imagine that the Sheffield silver plating
process was something comparatively trivial, wholly imitative, and
more or less of little moment in reckoning the eighteenth century art
industries in England, this should come as a shock. We do not remember
that Worcester or Derby, Chelsea or Bow, our much vaunted porcelain
factories, ever had much relationship with the Continent in the way
of trade. Wedgwood did, and the other Staffordshire potters did,
because they were more organized than the porcelain factories. It is
interesting, therefore, to find that on the Continent a demand had
arisen for English metal work. The metalsmiths on the Continent were
by no means deficient in originality. For centuries in Italy and in
Holland, in Germany and in France, some of the finest workers in gold
and silver, in brass and iron, artists in jewels and in enamel, had won
a great renown. It is somewhat flattering to find that the foreigner
saw, what perhaps was less recognized in the country of its origin,
that the work of the Sheffield silver platers stood on a plane apart.
And their flattering attentions were not only confined to purchasing
replicas of fine English silver. Whether they bought it as being
useful from a trade point of view to copy English silver designs, as
a short cut to getting fine models, or whether they loved it for its
own sake as a cheap and as a beautiful reproduction of fine designs,
we cannot determine, but they did the Sheffield platers the honour
of copying their technique and there are some fine examples of their
work. In France, plated ware in the Sheffield manner was manufactured.
We illustrate a coffee pot of no mean design (p. 211) of French
workmanship, and it is stated that in Holland and in Russia similar
imitations of the Sheffield technique were made. Special marks were
compulsory for this plated ware in the country of its origin in order
to prevent its sale as solid silver plate. Two French marks illustrated
(p. 291) show the words _Doublé_ (copied) or _Plaqué_ (plated) together
with figures denoting the quantity of the silver.

V

   CAKE BASKETS

   DECANTER STANDS OR COASTERS

   DISH RINGS

   INKSTANDS AND TAPER HOLDERS



                               CHAPTER V

   =Cake baskets--Decanter stands or Coasters--Dish rings--Inkstands and
   taper holders.=


As the days wore on at Sheffield the technique, as collectors know,
became amazingly perfect. The silver wire following the intricate
outlines of a vessel disguising the raw edges of the copper, was used
in a manner unequalled by the craftsman in silver plate because he
had no need of such artifices to conceal in his technique the poverty
of the base. He was working in a solid metal where no base metal
at every conceivable point thrust itself into prominence. He could
engrave deeply with no possibility of going too deep and betraying the
shining copper. His applied ornament was solid silver, and here the
Sheffield plater runs parallel in regard to die work and soldering
parts together. But, in all, the Sheffield plater was more skilled,
his die work is delicate and exhibits no noticeable trace as to its
extraneousness. He may be compared with the artist in veneer of the
same or an earlier period. The perfection of applied veneer and the
exquisite skill employed by the cabinet-maker in covering oak with fine
figured mahogany is unsurpassed. Veneers have in modern days been
so skilfully made until they are no thicker than a cigarette paper,
the modern glue and the modern processes have worked on scientific
lines, although in many respects they have not outrivalled the old
worker in veneers. Similarly, in Sheffield plate, the great note of
exclamation, surprising and wonderful, is at the wire edged work, the
handling of dies in a subtle and delicate manner, and the great result
produced by a difficult technique. Stage by stage the Sheffield platers
increased their facility for cunning handicraft. Machinery they had,
and clean-cut differentiation of task. In fact the various branches
soon became specialized in such a great industry. There were the die
sinkers, and the workmen who fashioned dies and the workmen who fitted
them ingeniously in position were others than those who soldered
candlesticks together. The candlestick makers became a separate
industry. Piercing and cutting, and the designs for this craft, soon
became separate and were carried to a great point of perfection.
Chasing as a craft and the designs for chasing as an art it may readily
be believed formed another separate branch. From the preparation and
fusing of the copper and silver, the rolling of the ingot, to the later
stages of artistic technique, so great and extensive an art industry
systematized itself into component working parts. But through it all
runs like a silver thread the intensity of the magical working of wire.
Wire, unheeded by the tyro but beloved by the connoisseur, converted
copper and silver, with its too obvious copper edge into solid plate
to all appearance. It duplicated all with which the silversmith could
endow his plate and it represented toil and infinite pains, the genius
of Sheffield, in producing results which are unequalled as _tours de
force_ in metal technique.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CAKE BASKET.

  Woven wirework with gadroon border, with handle in plain double bands
  and hinged. Date 1800.]

  (_At the Sheffield Public Museum._)

  (_Reproduced by permission of the Corporation of Sheffield._)]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CAKE BASKET.]

  With circular base: having wire body surmounted by a broad lip heavily
  decorated with floral ornament: massive handle with hinges. Date 1810.
  Diameter 9½ in. Base 4 in.

  (_At the Sheffield Public Museum._)

  (_Reproduced by permission of the Corporation of Sheffield._)]

=Cake Baskets.=--The cake or bread basket offered a fine field
for free manipulation of the sheet silver, for fine pierced-work, or
designs classic and severe, or urn-shaped and massive. All these are
found, and Sheffield plate cake baskets are always sought after by
collectors as offering something delectable in design and exquisite in
detail.

The example illustrated (p. 163) is composite in its technique. The
broad solid band as a rim has pierced ornament, as has also the foot.
The body of the basket is wire work. The hinged handle is a solid
band. A fine woven wire example, in date 1800, has a gadroon border,
with handle with double bands and hinged. This is in simple basket
form. The woven wire follows the technique or simulates the character
of a plaited straw basket, just as Wedgwood ware baskets and dishes
simulated the plaited and interlaced rush baskets. One must compare
Sheffield plate with the silver examples by Edward Romer and William
Plummer about 1760. A later example, in date 1810, illustrated (p.
163) has a circular base from which springs a wire body surmounted by
a broad lip or rim heavily decorated with floral ornament, and having
massive handle with hinges. The touches of extraneous ornament indicate
the departure from the wire worker's reticence and simplicity. The
design is debased from such simplicity as is found in pure wire work by
these added floral ornaments. Lightness and grace are the keynotes in
wire work and here they are destroyed by the unwanted additions.

=Decanter Stands or Coasters.=--This is a great family. At first
glance it would not seem that there was much room for variation in
articles designed for so simple an object as holding a bottle or a
decanter and preventing it staining the polished mahogany table. But
an examination of various types shows how inventive was the Sheffield
designer in producing original shapes of great diversity of character.

In regard to ornament they received the elaborate attention of the
piercer who allowed his designs to attain a rich quality only excelled
by the dish rings to which reference is made later. They were circular,
they had broken tops with flowing curves, or they were octagonal. They
had richly gadrooned edges or fine bead-work, or in some examples they
had four handles reminiscent of decorative ornament of an earlier
period.

  [Illustrations: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED COASTERS.

  Finely chased and pierced. Threaded and plain edges. Date about 1790.

  Pierced and chased with bead edges and shaped top. Date about 1785.

  Finely pierced in classic style with bead edges. Date about 1785.

  Octagonal in shape; pierced design with straight thread edges. Date
  about 1790.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)]

The four examples illustrated (p. 167) illustrate types which were
being made from 1785 to 1790. They are all from pairs, and each
exhibits representative features. The earlier form was not quite
so deep as is found in later coasters. In later examples the height
is twice that of the earliest type. Perhaps it was found that bottles
or decanters were apt to fall over as the evening wore on, but it
is certain that the protective guard became higher, and some of the
tallest can be used quite comfortably nowadays to hold a syphon of
soda. The elaborate pierced floriate work in the 1785 Coaster (p. 167)
is classical in character, and it has bead edges and stands as an
excellent piece of workmanship. The adjacent example, 1790, is seen to
be taller though still not so tall as were made at a later date, in the
decadence. The pierced work is less effective and may be compared with
some of the designs on what are known as Irish dish rings or potato
rings. It has threaded and plain edges.

A departure from the circular top is shown in the lower example, of
1785 in date, with pierced and chased work of rosettes and festoons.
Its broken curved top rim is decorated with bead edges. The other
octagonal shaped specimen, in date 1790, is pierced in reticent manner
corresponding with its geometric form, and has straight thread edges.

  [Illustrations: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED COASTERS.

  With broad beaded pattern: having turned wooden bottom with silver boss
  in centre. Date 1810. Diameter 5⅞ in.

  Vertically fluted: with moulded border of scroll design. Turned wooden
  bottom with plated boss in centre. Date 1815. Diameter 6⅛ in.

  (_At the Sheffield Public Museum._)

  (_By permission of the Corporation of Sheffield._)]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED COASTERS.

  Circular bases with turned wooden bottoms. Rims with gadrooned edges
  terminating in four raised scroll ornaments. Date 1805.

  (_In the collection of G. H. Wallis, Esq., F.S.A._)]

At the opening of the nineteenth century new forms came into vogue, the
pair of Coasters illustrated (p. 169) are of an unusual design where
four scrolls ornament the rims. These scrolls have the suggestion of
French First Empire decorative work found in domestic ornament and
embodying bronze work sphinxes, griffons and other bold designs adapted
reminiscent of Herculaneum. These coasters have turned wooden bottoms.

Another Coaster (p. 169), in date 1810, has a broad beaded pattern
at edge and a turned wooden bottom with a silver boss in the centre.
This particular style has become a favourite and has been duplicated
indefinitely and is known as familiarly the world over. In this it
resembles the success of the willow pattern plate which, as a piece
of pseudo-Chinese design, won the admiration of the public in the
eighteenth century, and has been made by all the Staffordshire potters
almost as a stock pattern.

On the same page is a later Decanter Stand, about 1815 in date, having
a turned wooden bottom with silver boss in centre. It is vertically
fluted, and has a heavy moulded border of scroll design. It will be
seen how far this example has departed from the fine character of the
types which were being made in the great period prior to 1790. The love
for ornament ran riot. It was misplaced and heavy mouldings and solid
ornaments were added to articles that could not stand such meaningless
exuberances and carefully executed details which choked all natural
simplicity of line.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED COASTERS.

  Lip decorated with scalloped floral design. Turned wooden bottom with
  plated boss. Date 1820.

  With moulded edge and broadly fluted. Turned wooden bottom with plated
  boss. Date 1805.

  Interior of above. Diameter 6⅛ in.

  Interior of above. Diameter 6¾ in.

  (_At the Sheffield Public Museum._)

  (_Reproduced by permission of the Corporation of Sheffield._)]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED BUTTER DISH.

  Oval, finely pierced, having chased lid surmounted by pineapple.
  Twisted wire handles, on four claw and ball feet. Blue glass liner.
  Date about 1785.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)]

  [Illustration: OLD SILVER PLATED DISH RING.

  Pierced ornament of floral design and scrolls. Date 1775. Made in
  imitation of Irish silver Dish or Potato Rings.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)]


Restlessness of invention seized the Sheffield and other platers. Old
forms were discarded, not because they had outlived their usefulness,
but because fashion demanded or appeared to demand something new. The
decanter stand began to have its lip spread out more like a dish than
like the early form of coaster. Some were decorated lavishly with
scalloped floral design as in the example illustrated (p. 173), in
date 1820. An illustration of the vessel upturned shows the crowded
character of the design. The wooden turned base has the usual silver
stud or boss in centre. The adjacent example, fifteen years earlier,
shows a finely moulded edge broadly fluted. The character of this
example is not open to any criticism as to over lavishness of ornament.
It is true it exhibits a newer style, but it holds its own as a fine
and comparatively reticent piece of design.

=The Dish or Potato Ring.=--The Irish silversmiths were
particularly ingenious in their pierced work. Will Hughes at Dublin
about 1770 made some interesting pieces reflecting the sanest art.
There was always a dignity and grace in the decoration which was
strongly classical in its lines, embodying medallions and rosettes and
festoons of drapery. The Dish Ring or Potato Ring is a form peculiar
to Ireland. It was only made for a comparatively short period, and has
been revived again as a modern memory of old fashions, though its use
is not quite understood nowadays. These rings are stands upon which
bowls were placed to prevent the hot vessel from injuring the surface
of the mahogany table. They are also believed to have supported wooden
bowls containing potatoes. Genuine Irish examples are always circular.
Bowl and dish were synonymous terms in the late eighteenth and early
nineteenth centuries, hence probably the term "Dish Ring." They were
made as early as 1760. There is a marked example with the Dublin hall
mark for that year, together with the maker's mark, Robert Calderwood.
Large prices have been paid for examples of old Irish silver dish
rings. £129 was given for an example hall-marked 1757, and other prices
range from £50 to as high as £250; in view of their slight weight this
works out in some instances at two hundred and thirty shillings per oz.

Examples of Irish work are sometimes apparently simple, but having such
careful technique and skilful manipulation of the design as to give
the greatest opportunity for the effective play of light and shade and
silhouette. Another form more intricate embraced the use of birds and
flowers and miniature pastoral scenes embossed, while a more simple
form yet capable of fine character was that which confined itself to
basket work with round or flat wire interlaced.

  [Illustration: DESIGNS OF INKSTANDS.

  From Pattern Book of eighteenth-century Sheffield platers' work;
  issued by J. Parsons & Co. about 1792. The left-hand examples with
  perforated lid are pounce boxes. The lower stand is priced at 30s.,
  the others at 21s. each cash, and the book is signed "Jno. Green,
  escompte 30%."

 (_At the Victoria and Albert Museum._)

 (_Reproduced by permission of the Board of Education._)]

It is natural therefore that the Sheffield silver workers saw in the
Irish dish ring a design worthy of imitation; and imitate it they
did. In consequence a great number of plated replicas were exported
to Ireland. They have an interest, and the example illustrated (p.
175) shows the class of work the Sheffield craftsmen turned out in
emulation of their Irish silver prototypes. It is an ordinary pierced
design embellished with festoons. Some of the Sheffield examples were
finely pierced and chased in a manner no less perfect than the same
class of work one finds on the sugar pails, the mustard pots, and
the salt cellars of the best period. The Butter Dish illustrated (p.
175) fully exemplifies this type of work at its best. It is oval and
finely pierced with an unusual design giving in silhouette the effect
of diaper ornament. It is on four ball and claw feet, and the lid is
chased and is surmounted by a pineapple. The handles are twisted.
These vessels, like the others enumerated above with pierced work, are
furnished with blue glass liners, and these collectors are fortunate
who find bargains with the original glass liners.

=Inkstands and Taper Holders.=--The old Sheffield plated inkstand
is beloved by collectors. The oval tray was always an elegant piece of
work, either pierced with fine running design over an extended surface
as border top and bottom and often chased with medallions. The three
examples illustrated (p. 179) are from an eighteenth century Pattern
Book issued in 1792 by Messrs. J. Parsons & Co. of Sheffield. Written
in ink on the first page for information of continental buyers is "_Jn.
Green escompte 30%_." Green was one of the partners of the firm. This
little book in paper covers has no less than eighty-four copper plate
engravings, and for the delectation of the later collector the prices
are written in ink throughout. The prices of the examples illustrated
are "21s. Each" the two top ones, and "30s. Each" the lower example.

It will be seen that the latter has three pots. The pounce pot was
always a necessary portion to the old inkstand, being used as a
sifter in the days before blotting paper was invented. Fine sand was
dusted over the writing. It would appear that the pounce pot with its
perforated lid is on the left in all the three examples. The centre
pot in the lowest inkstand was additional, though not as one might at
first assume for a different coloured ink as the lid has not the same
cover as those for ink with a tiny hole in centre. It was apparently
a receptacle for some of the appurtenances of the writing table,
certainly not pens, for steel nibs were not then invented, and every
one wrote with a quill pen which he could sharpen with a penknife.
Nowadays the art of cutting a quill by hand is one of the lost arts.


  [Illustration: DESIGNS OF OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED TAPER HOLDERS.

  From Pattern Book issued by R. C. & Co. (Robert Cadman & Co.) about
  1797 to Continental markets. The book contains 70 whole-page copper
  plate illustrations, and some of the descriptions are in French as
  well as English. The above Holders are priced at 17s., 24s., and 14s.

 (_At the Victoria and Albert Museum._)

 (_Reproduced by permission of the Board of Education._)]

An illustration from a Design Book issued by Robert Cadman and Co. of
Sheffield about 1797 gives three examples of Taper Holders (p. 183).
The nozzle at the top shows the tiny light from the coiled wax taper.
The apex of the stand really consists of a miniature candlestick. Two
of the stands, as will be seen, have the handles and thumb pieces at
the bottom. They are all of varying form; that on the left has a
canopy covering the coiled taper, that in the centre encloses the
taper in a wire cage, while the example on the left is the simplest
in construction and enables us to see how the taper as it burned was
thrust upwards to the aperture at the top. All three have extinguishers
attached by a chain. Some of the descriptions in the book from which
these designs are reproduced are in French as well as English, as it
was intended for use in the Continental markets.



VI

   TEAPOTS

   TEA AND

   COFFEE SETS

   TEA KETTLES

   COFFEE POTS

   SUGAR BASINS



                              CHAPTER VI

   =Teapots--Tea and coffee sets--Tea kettles--Coffee pots--Sugar basins.=


The eighteenth century of the days of Hogarth, with his _Gin Lane_ and
_Beer Street_ and with his satiric pencil reflecting the follies of his
day is filled to repletion with eating and drinking, especially the
latter. During the later years of George II there had been going on a
vigorous protest between two parties as to the relative effects of beer
drinking and gin drinking. In 1752 appeared a print of the "Funeral
Procession of Madame Geneva." A song was very popular in 1757 under
the title of the "Beer-Drinking Briton." One couplet will suffice to
indicate its character:

    For your beef eating, beer-drinking Britons are souls
    Who will shed their last blood for their country and king.

In 1758, owing to the scarcity of corn, a bill was passed for the
prohibition of the distillation of spirits. Porson wrote a series
of epigrams in the _Morning Chronicle_ about Pitt and Dundas going
drunk to the House of Commons on the evening when a message was to be
delivered from his Majesty relative to war with France. Pitt, who
tried to speak, found himself unable to do so, and was kindly pulled
down to his seat by his friends.

    "Who's up?" enquired Burke of a friend at the door.
    "Oh! no one," says Sherry, "though Pitt's on the floor."

Sheridan, the maker of the quip, and Porson, the Greek scholar,
together make up a fine quartet as exemplifying the Bacchanalian habits
of their day.

As to the vessels used in spirit drinking and in wine drinking
Sheffield contributed her share. The punch bowl more often than not
was of oriental porcelain, but the finely shaped monteiths, where the
scalloped rim allowed of a row of glasses being hung around were made
as early as 1700 by Anthony Nelme, by Fogelberg in 1701, and many
another great silversmith. They continued to the middle and latter
years of the century, and in Sheffield plate there are some very
excellent examples, and there are punch bowls with designs simulating
those in the Flaxman manner executed by the silversmith. Ice pails with
lion mask handles, and a glorious array of wine coolers, urns in the
classic style simple and reticent, or vases with richly godrooned rims
and massive handles, such as Roberts and Cadman made in 1815; all these
were found on the sideboard receiving the attention of the butler.

  [Illustration: DESIGN OF TEAPOT.

  From Pattern Book issued by eighteenth-century Sheffield platers to
  Continental markets. The signature "Jno. Green, 1792," a partner of J.
  Parsons & Co., indicates its origin. Teapots holding 1½ pints were
  priced at 40s. each, and quarts 46s. each. The medallion enclosed by
  wreath and ribbon applied ornament, was probably silver, to enable a
  crest or monogram to be cut without exposing copper.

  (_At the Victoria and Albert Museum._)

  (_Reproduced by permission of the Board of Education._)]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED TEAPOT AND TEA CADDIES.

  Teapot, with silver medallion and engraved initials. Date 1795.
  Caddies finely chased and having locks.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CAKE BASKET.

  Plain band-hinged handle. Pierced work at foot and shoulder. Shaped
  and fluted body.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)]

But the teapot and the coffee pot did not go unrecognized by the
Sheffield artisans. What the silversmith did the platers did, and
followed the fashions in rapid simulation of styles just catching the
public taste. In determining date this must be borne in mind. At most
the silver plate was only a year ahead of the replica. Sheffield was
too alert to lag behind in fashion, especially in fashions which might
readily change.

In eighteenth century polemics we find opponents to tea and to coffee.
Jonas Hanway, the eastern traveller, who popularized the use of the
umbrella in England, was antagonistic to the use of tea as a national
beverage. And epigram writers were busy, as for instance:

    If wine be a poison, so is tea--but in another shape,--
    What matter whether we are kill'd by canister or grape.

The illustration (p. 191) shows the class of teapot made about
1790. The price, which is written in ink, is "1½ Pints 40s." and
"Quart, 46s. Each." These prices must seem delightful to the lover
and collector of old Sheffield plate nowadays who has to pay swinging
prices, especially when we read that the old trade prices were subject
to thirty per cent. discount. But it is the same with old Worcester
china, where the original prices were a tenth of what is paid now. An
interesting feature about this teapot illustrated is that it shows
the fusion of the classic design in the wreath and the Chippendale
manner in the ribbon ornament, which latter style finds its way into
bookplates of the period. The French school of engravers of the _Louis
Seize_ period embellished their oval portraits with ribbon ornament in
this character.

These medallions intended to receive the crest of the owner were of
silver. The Sheffield plater affixed them in position in a cunning
manner with no unskilful touch. They were capable of receiving deeply
cut engraving without exhibiting the copper underneath. They are a
feature present in many examples not only of teapots but many other
articles made in plated ware.

A similar teapot to the design in the Pattern Book is illustrated
(p. 193). The Pattern Book bears the name Jn. Green 1792, and as he
was a partner in J. Parsons & Co. there is some likelihood that this
is one of their productions. On the same page are two Tea Caddies,
oval in shape, with broken outline, in the same fashion as silver
tea caddies made about 1785, and having the characteristics of the
Sheraton delicacies in cabinet work. The lid of one is surmounted by
a round knob and the other by a hinged handle. They both have locks.
The chasing is in classical manner, not so severe as that of the Adam
period, but still retaining much of the formal grace of the festoons.
The cake basket shown on the same page is contemporary, though it
indicates a departure from classic feeling.


  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED TEAPOT, SUGAR BASIN, AND CREAM JUG.

  Date 1810.]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED COFFEE POT, TEAPOT, SUGAR BASIN,
  AND CREAM JUG ON TRAY.

  Date 1820.

  Four-piece sets were made after this.]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED SET.

  Date 1825.

  (_By courtesy of Walter H. Willson, Esq._)]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED SET WITH TRAY.

  Date 1830.

  (_By courtesy of Walter H. Willson, Esq._)]

The earliest tea caddies came from China and were decorated in
blue and white. Worcester produced fine examples, some in powder
blue. Whieldon made and dated others "Green Tea, 1765." Wedgwood had
his square canisters in black basalt ware. Liverpool printed dainty
transfer pictures on these dainty caskets. They are found enamelled by
Battersea in rich colours. They are found in pewter and they are found
in glass. Bristol produced white opaque bottles inscribed "Hyson" and
"Bohea," and there are square cut-glass caddies with silver mounts and
handles, and in Holland the old Delft examples came with the early days
of tea drinking. The cabinet-makers, Chippendale and Hepplewhite and
Sheraton, show tea caddies in their Design Books and they were splendid
pieces of work in mahogany and satinwood with ivory and coloured
marquetry. Many of the little caddy spoons of such pleasing variety
of shape were made to go with these tea caddies, and were produced at
Sheffield as well as in solid silver.

=Tea and Coffee Sets.=--It was not until about 1820 to 1825 that
tea sets were produced with teapot, cream jug, and sugar basin as
well as the coffee pot. The set illustrated (p. 197), about 1810 in
date, shows this omission. Later in 1820, as shown in the illustration
below, the coffee pot became part of the set; and in the illustration
of the sets it is clearly seen that the styles of the coffee pots are
in keeping with the rest of the set and have not been matched or added
later. The four-piece sets became a common feature after the first
quarter of the nineteenth century, and some of these are of pleasing
character. Two sets, 1825 and 1830 in date, are illustrated (p. 199).
With these were accompanying trays of solid manufacture and about
this date they were very heavy and richly ornamented by die work with
_appliqué_ shell patterns and foliage at the rims. They only emulated
the very solid silver of the late Georgian era when silver was sold
by weight by the dealers and so much added for "fashion," that is,
fashioning it. This latter item in massive pieces was a comparatively
insignificant sum compared with the total cost, which provoked the
eighteenth century epigram:

    When Loveless married Lady Jenny,
    Whose beauty was the ready penny;
    "I chose her," said he, "like old plate,
    Not for the fashion but the weight."

The tea urn offered fine opportunities for rich design and splendour
of ornament. It was in vogue in the opening years of the nineteenth
century and had a fairly long life. Nowadays it is relegated to the
lumber-room, or, if the hostess be a collector, it is dragged forth
from its obscurity to grace the display of family plate. The example
illustrated (p. 203) is on an octagonal stand with claw feet. It
belongs to the same period and has the same ornament at the base as
the candelabrum illustrated (p. 93) showing First Empire influence
derivative from Pompeii. The whole piece is richly decorated in
floriate style. Patrick Robertson of Edinburgh produced tea urns in
silver under the same influence.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED TEA URN WITH COVER.

  Circular base, to which is attached an octagonal stand on claw feet.
  Richly decorated rims in floriate style. Date 1810.

  (_At the Sheffield Public Museum._)

  (_Reproduced by permission of the Corporation of Sheffield._)]

=Tea Kettles.=--There is something especially fascinating about
these old vessels. As early as Queen Anne, tea kettles with a little
spirit lamp beneath were in use. One hall-marked for the year 1709 made
by N. Locke sold in 1909 for £243, being two hundred shillings per oz.
Paul Lamerie made some fine examples just when Thomas Boulsover was
launching his invention at Sheffield. It is not surprising to find the
Sheffield kettles appealing to connoisseurs because many of them are
possessed of beautiful ornament, and the die work is exceptionally
perfect. Even in late examples the artistic possibilities of so
graceful a vessel have not been missed. They are usually termed tea
kettles, and there is no doubt that since the days when Queen Anne
drank tea in the Orangery at Kensington Palace and Dr. Johnson graced
the tea table of Mrs. Thrale, these vessels were part of the tea
table equipment. But there is reason to suppose that they also bore a
brave part in preparing the hot water for toddy and for punch. But in
any case they hold a firm hold on the collector's esteem and regard,
whether he be as austere as Father Mathew, who tilted a lance at
spirituous cordials, spiced and unctuous, which, like ginger, were "hot
in the mouth," or whether he be as convivial as Father Prout, whose
Bacchanalian songs belong to the days of Bèranger.

The examples illustrated (p. 207) each have pleasing qualities to
attract attention. The upper one, in date about 1805, has a fine body.
Its cover is surmounted with a twisted flame ornament such as is found
in candelabra. The ornamental stand is rococo, almost reminiscent of
the period of _Louis Quinze_. But the whole effect, though ornate, is
very pleasing.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED TEA KETTLES.

  With spirit lamp on stand, with floral scroll ornament. Oval body;
  curved and looped handle; lid surmounted by conventional tongue of
  flame. Date 1805.

  (_By courtesy of Walter H. Willson, Esq._)

  With spirit lamp on stand, with rococo ornament. Melon-shaped body;
  hinged handle; dome-shaped lid, surmounted by bell flower. Date 1820.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)]

The lower example, in date 1820, the last year of the reign of George
III, has a melon-shaped body, and the handle is hinged. The base
exhibits rococo ornament in Chippendale manner, suggesting certain
designs in his _Director_ which were too ornate to be carried out. They
were only designs as suggestions rather than working drawings. But it
suggests, too, curiously enough, certain forms of the watch-stand then
fashionable. In fact, taken away from its present environment, it might
with a very little brazing be used as a support for a watch, that is,
if the lower superstructure be taken away.

=Coffee Pots.=--With so many varieties of coffee pot made by the
leading silversmiths Sheffield had no reason to be short of examples.
The coffee pot was always taller than the teapot, and it has retained
its form to this day, though the earliest teapot known in this country
was tall and might well be mistaken for a coffee pot; it is in date
1670 and was presented by George, Lord Berkeley, to the Honourable
East India Company. They were made in various parts of the country,
in London, at Chester, and the marks shown on a coffee pot made at
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in date 1737, of quite the ordinary form in use
to-day, are given in the Appendix (p. 279).

  [Illustration: OLD FRENCH SILVER-PLATED COFFEE POT.

  Made in the Sheffield manner. Ovoid body; wooden handle; dragon spout.
  Applied classic ornament, terminating in three legs on claw and ball
  feet. For marks see p. 291. Date 1815-1820.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)]

The illustration (p. 211) shows an example of silver plated ware made
in the Sheffield manner by fusion and rolling which was made in France.
Its body is oviform. It has three legs, which terminate in claw feet.
At their juncture with the body there is an ornament of conventional
honeysuckle pattern produced by die work. The shoulder is decorated
by a band of classic ornament. The cover is surmounted by an acorn.
The spout is moulded in the form of a dragon's head, a form found in
a coffee pot made by Patrick Robertson of Edinburgh in 1769, and in
the Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh. The handle is wood. There is
no doubt about the character of this piece. It is un-English in its
design, though it undoubtedly duplicates the technique of Sheffield. It
bears the French mark of "10.M," illustrated in Appendix (p. 291), the
highest quality of plated ware, and has the additional stamp _Plaqué_
(plated) without which no plated articles could be sold in France. The
French law in regard to plated goods is severe. "The punch of each
maker _de doublé_ or _de plaqué_ has a particular form determined by
the Administrator of the Mint. The maker also indicates on his works
the numerals denoting the quantity of silver which they contain."

In regard to plating on copper or any other baser metal the worker
can employ silver in any proportion he may desire. But he is required
by law "to place upon each of his works his own punch determined by
the Mint (as stated in article above quoted). He shall also add to
the stamp numerals indicating the quantity of silver contained in his
work, on which also shall be impressed in full the word _doublé_." And
this is exactly what the French craftsmen have done as shown by the
illustrated marks given in Appendix (p. 291).

=The Sugar Basin.=--The earliest form of the sugar basin was that
with a glass liner and capable of receiving highly ornamental pierced
work. They were not always of the same height as is shown by the two
examples illustrated (p. 211). The oviform surface of the vessel lent
itself to broad bands of decoration and lozenge work in combination
with the pierced design. The handles were hinged. These sugar pails as
they are often called, although there is the cream pail with liner to
which it is more suitable to apply the term "pail," offer delightful
variety in treatment, and the number turned out by Sheffield indicate
that they were exceptionally popular at the date of their manufacture.
We find them about 1770 to about 1795. In their early form they were
classic basins decorated with medallions and festoons and having
elongated handles. S. and J. Crespell, the London makers, produced
examples in the Adam style. Some of the silversmiths' work is pierced
sheet silver, so that in regard to comparison with Sheffield there is
in appearance not much to choose.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD SUGAR BASKETS.

  Circular on collette foot, with fine pierced work. Blue glass liners.
  Threaded handle, date 1790. Beaded handle, date 1775.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED SUGAR BASIN.

  Circular form with two handles. The body divided into fourteen globular
  sections by repoussé work. Marked D✳S (Dixon & Sons). Date 1825.
  Height 4⅛ in. Base 3-7/16 in.

  (_At the Sheffield Public Museum._)

  (_Reproduced by permission of the Corporation of Sheffield._)]

These basins were a later luxury of a more effeminate age. In 1711,
according to the _Spectator_, in a "celebrated Coffee House near the
Temple" an elderly ill-dressed man "called for a Dish of Tea, but as
several Gentlemen of the Room wanted other things, the Boys of the
House did not think themselves at leisure to mind him.... At last one
of the Rascals presented him with some stale Tea in a broken Dish,
accompanied with a Plate of Brown Sugar." We are not concerned with
the rest of the story, how the old stranger found his son in the well
dressed _habitué_ of the House, and exclaimed "Hark you, sirrah, I'll
pay off your extravagant Bills once more, but will take Effectual care
for the Future that your Prodigality shall not spirit up a parcel of
Rascals to insult your Father." But we are interested in the "stale
Tea in a broken Dish," and the "Plate of Brown Sugar" excites our
curiosity inasmuch as it comes as a surprise to learn that other sugar
was then in use; possibly it was candied on strings as we remember it
in our boyhood at the table of an old-fashioned prelate and recluse.
But centrifugally whitened and crystallized sugar it cannot have been,
for that belongs to days within memory. A later example of sugar basin
with melon-shaped body is in date about 1825 and its bold handles
are finely ornamented. The rim and the foot have a pleasing contour
following the fourteen sections of the _repoussé_ body (illustrated, p.
213). It was made by Dixon and Sons, and the mark is a star with the
letters D and S on each side.

VII

   SOUP TUREENS

   HOT WATER JUGS

   THE MARKS OF THE MAKERS

   THE SUPPER TABLE



                              CHAPTER VII

   =Soup tureens--Hot water jugs--The marks of the makers--The supper
   table.=


There has been a recent dispersal of many fine collections of old
silver plate, much of which consisted of glorious examples of periods
which could and would only be used on state occasion at the dinner
table. However much the possessor of old plate may love his family
heirlooms, there is a hesitancy in actually bringing into use even
in rare circumstances old plate of the Stuart period. Even though
he may not be a connoisseur he might prefer some of his second-best
silver for common use especially in days when people of high and low
degree have often come very near to dining with Duke Humphry. It would
therefore seem somewhat of a hollow mockery to bring out of the silver
closet fine Queen Anne or early Georgian services with provender as
bare almost as the larder of the Count Federigo degli Alberighi in
Tennyson's "Falcon," in which story is told how that "noble bird" came
to be served up as a meal for the lady Giovanna. Hence silver plate
that is not used has been deemed a luxury to be sold under the hammer,
and another race of owners will treasure old silver though it may not
have come down from their ancestors.

=The Soup Tureen.=--That prologue to the banquet heralded and
brought in with ceremony, from whose uncovered urn issues forth the
incense to the feast, from which savoury and warming nectar, compounded
of rare ingredients and rich essences, is dealt forth to titillate
the palate, that forerunner of entrées and roasts, of baked meats and
dainty sweets, marks the status of the _chef_--it is at this point that
one determines whether or not he is a true _cordon bleu_. Hence the
trappings of so great a caldron must fit the occasion. The soup tureen
that is insignificant is a cruse that promiseth no oil. It betokeneth
poverty of invention and it might better be an earthern crock which
fortune might mayhap endow with golden contents.

Perhaps the silversmiths have imagined all this or carried on a train
of thought resulting in producing soup tureens of fine design and
imposing character, and Sheffield has followed with her replicas and as
the needle follows the pole.

We must look to Paul Lamerie, to Peter Archambo in the early period and
Paul Storr at the end of the century for silver prototypes.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED SOUP TUREEN.

  With cover and tray. Tureen urn-shaped, the rim raised at two points,
  with lion masks and rings. Cover surmounted by strap handle. Date 1805.
  Tureen 9⅝ in. high. Cover 11 in. diameter. Tray 12¾ in. by 16 in.

  (_At the Public Museum, Sheffield._)

  (_Reproduced by permission of the Corporation of Sheffield._)]

The Sheffield plated Soup Tureen illustrated (p. 221) with tray is
typical of the fine stability of design which came as an inheritance
from the Queen Anne period, soberness and reticence without that
added touch of classic austerity which brought Greece and Rome to the
English dinner table, and scattered the gods of Olympus throughout
Staffordshire. The rim of the vessel is raised at two points, as is the
tray. The godroon ornament is quietly sufficient to sustain the dignity
of the design. The lion and mask handles complete a fine piece of
restraint in composition. When this made its appearance at table depend
upon it it was followed by sound cuisine, and the port of mine host was
well chosen and from the right bin.

The Tureen illustrated (p. 225) is of the year of Waterloo. It is oval
and stands on scroll feet, and the beautiful graduated form of the lid
is especially noticeable. The rim is richly, though not too lavishly,
decorated for so fine a piece. The upper portion of the cover springs
in dome-like fluted conformation and is surmounted by a handle with
floriated base. The handles, a strong feature in well designed tureens,
are practical, as are other portions of the ornament cleverly executed
in die work.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED SOUP TUREEN.

  Richly ornamented with scroll ornament. Date 1815.

  (_By courtesy of Walter H. Willson, Esq._)]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED SOUP TUREEN.

  Rococo scroll ornament, pierced heater, with spirit lamp in centre.
  Date 1825.

  (_By courtesy of Walter H. Willson, Esq._)]

Another Soup Tureen illustrated (p. 225) is of oval form with massive
handles suggesting those of an urn. It carries its heavy decoration
well, but the base is too rococo with its swirling curves. This example
has a pierced heater with spirit lamp in centre. This is in date 1825,
when Canning "called the New World into existence to redress the
balance of the Old."

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED TUREEN.

  With floral repoussé decoration and four spirally fluted scroll legs.
  Cover richly chased and gadrooned, surmounted by ball. Date 1815.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)]

An interesting Tureen exhibiting the restlessness of _motifs_ and the
travail of the artist in his search for new designs is exemplified in
the specimen illustrated (p. 229) where an excellence of technique
is at once apparent. There is a beauty and a grace in the cover with
its delicate incised chain ornament, its _repoussé_ floral design and
the striking godroon edge. The cover is surmounted by a ball on a
leaf base. On the body the raised design, especially with the fruit
and foliage, resembles that found on posset pots of the seventeenth
century, but it is marred by an unfortunate leaf in the centre with a
rib so prominent as to suggest casting. This is an undoubted blemish
in ornament as the eye cannot leave this spot. But a bold attempt to
win originality is shown in the legs and feet, which are of a curious
and striking floral design, boldly _rococo_ and somewhat Italianate in
character; at first glance one expects to find them to be cherubs.

Entrée Dishes are always, when at their best, ripe with well-conceived
and well-balanced ornament. The illustration (p. 233) shows a specimen,
one of a set of four, with delightful design. The richly ornamented
rims and the finely considered balance in regard to the double-tier
effect make this especially acceptable. The cover has a finely ribbed
effect which catches the play of light and displays its full effect and
the ribs are so unobtrusive as almost to escape notice, but the full
bodied effect is carried out to perfection.

Another example of a later date, 1825, stands on its fine perforated
ornament in the body. The feet are somewhat close together, and
are made to appear more so by the dome-like cover swelling almost
pear-shaped to an apex decorated by a cone. It is an unusual form, and
free, notwithstanding its idiosyncrasies, from the glaring evils of
elaborate and feeble decoration found at a slightly later date which
impoverished design for the next thirty years.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED ENTRÉE DISH.

  One of four, with heavy ornament of scroll design. Date 1815.

  (_By courtesy of Walter H. Willson, Esq._)]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED ENTRÉE DISH.

  With bulbous cover surmounted by rose. Date 1825.

  (_By courtesy of Walter H. Willson, Esq._)]

=Hot Water Jugs.=--The form of the jug offers endless
possibilities to the artist who designs practical shapes that the metal
worker, the glass-blower, or the potter can bring into being, each
according to his technique. It is the duty of the artist, if he be
practical as well as ideal, to offer only such designs as can be easily
worked in the particular craft for which he is drawing his designs. In
regard to narrow-necked vessels there is the suggestion that they are
more suited to the potter than to the metal worker. In the East, where
metal workers carry on traditions that go back long ages, we do not
find that wide-mouthed vessels claim preference. It is not so much
that the craftsmen are conservative and do not seek new forms, but
rather that, having mastered their technique, they confine themselves
to its limitations recognized centuries ago. There is no doubt that the
narrow-necked jar in the old fable of the Fox and the Crane was one
made by the potter. The difficulties in technique in manipulating a
jug such as is illustrated (p. 235) must have been great, though not
insuperable.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED HOT WATER JUGS.

  Circular base: lower part of body decorated with star fluting. Cover
  surmounted by pineapple. Dated 1775.

  Urn-shaped body on octagonal foot. Classic ornament. Silver shield.
  Date 1795.

  (_By courtesy of Walter H. Willson, Esq._)]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED HOT WATER JUG.

  Urn-shaped, on base with claw feet. Rosette decoration carried out in
  base and body, together with festoons. Shoulder and base ornamented
  with band of vertical fluting. This example typifies the Adam style at
  its best. Date 1770.

  (_By courtesy of Walter H. Willson, Esq._)]

But the fine Adam jug, with this premiss as to narrow vessels in
general, offers a superlative example of the Adam style executed as
early as 1770 (illustrated, p. 235). The square base with ball feet,
the simple festoon of drapery, encircling rosettes but not being
supported by them, the band of ribbed ornament placed just at that
position where it attains the maximum effect, the fine exquisitely
balanced proportions of the neck as natural and wonderful as nature in
graceful birds such as the swan, and the pleasing lines in the curve of
the spout--all these points are points of beauty impossible to describe
in words, but quick to strike the trained eye satiated with improper
ornament and feverishly awaiting the advent of pure unalloyed beauty
of form. One never grows weary of contemplating such a perfect example
as this of the art of the modern metal worker, that is modern since
the old days of Greece and Rome, and modern as in comparison with the
outburst of the great Italian Renaissance.

Two other hot water jugs are illustrated (p. 229) each typifying forms
into which the metal worker converted his sheet silver. That on the
left is severe in form. It represents the spirit of classicism cold and
unsatisfying. The absence of the curve in the body and the straight
lines at the shoulder might have proved, had Hogarth seen it, some of
his points as to the line of beauty. The plane surfaces are too
few to be attractive, to increase their number would be to depart
from a simplicity of outline at which the artist-designer has aimed.
The elongated handle striking a sharp acute angle adjacent to the
edge of the broad facetted body offers a inharmonious note. The space
between the handle and the body is not a pleasing space to the eye.
In technique the jug is perfect, as perfect as the silversmiths could
fashion it, and as representative a replica as Sheffield could turn
out. The eye wanders to the upper portion and finds restfulness, and it
is this upper portion which makes the jug lovable and beautiful.

Its fellow on the same page affects a new form. Its handle carries one
back to the porringer of Stuart days with its out-turned terminal. The
body swells with beautiful symmetrical curves. Its plain cold effect is
relieved by the broken flutings carried part of the way up. The spout
again is reminiscent of the earlier forms in the flagon of bye-gone
days. The cover has a delightful pineapple ornament of sufficient size
to give character to the piece. Although composite in its conception it
takes its place on a plane indubitably its own.

=The Marks of Makers.=--Having extolled the object made, it
would be delightful to be able to extol the maker. But the records
of the copyist platers of Sheffield are not in such an exact state
as to determine this. Even when certain initials and marks identify
a particular firm, and one has run it to earth, one is confronted
with the proposition as to who did actually make the piece. At what
particular part of the chain, leaving out the drawers of the ingot from
the charcoal fire and the mechanical rollers, was it fashioned by the
man whom we wish to admire. Names of firms we know are hall marks as
to quality. In silver formerly the maker did make the piece to which
he was proud to stamp his initials, but even then the law conspired
to cheat him of the guerdon of posterity's worship. The initials of
Christian name and surname that is sensible enough. We all are aware
of that abbreviation, and of accredited signs, from =E.R.=,
_Elizabeth Regina_, to the butterfly of Whistler. But disguised under
the first two letters of his surname the silversmith in 1697, by
William III, 8 & 9, _cap._ 8, left little evidence of his personality.
William Keith becomes =KE= and Robert Cooper is =CO=, and
Seth Lofthouse is =L.O.= In 1739 by George II, 12, _cap._ 26, just
before the Sheffield period, the first two initial letters of Christian
name and surname became compulsory. So that there is every reason why
at Sheffield, the workmen who executed the mouldings and the craftsmen
who pierced the design or chased it, should have added their initials.
The die sinker might go by the board, but the artisan who with the
highest art concealed art with his die work and his wire, he too might
place his sign. There are workmen's marks, but nowadays they
mean nothing except that they _are_ "workmen's marks." On Worcester
porcelain it is the same, certain symbols are believed to be workmen's
marks. That is all. The French were wiser. At Sèvres the marks of each
painter, decorator, and gilder of the porcelain from 1753 to 1800
is duly recorded. A crescent denoted that Ledoux painted the birds,
=LG= tells that Le Guay did the gilding, a pair of compasses show
that Mutel painted the landscapes, =LR= stands for La Roche and
his medallions and emblems, =F= is Falot for butterflies, and so
on. There are over a hundred and twenty known workmen's marks. And in
1750 the French cabinet-makers stamped their names on their works.

That certain workmen's marks did appear on the old Sheffield plate
indicate pride of work of execution. But specialization should not
have stamped out personality to the extent that it apparently did.
Even names of firms are forgotten and initials of producers are not
always readily traceable. There is much research needed in regard to
old Sheffield plate. Much has already been done. But the idolatry of
the Sheffield replica standing as it does on its perfect technique,
should be carried back a stage. We have said nothing of the artist
designer and draughtsman who carefully, with skilled pencil, worked out
the drawings to be carried out by the craftsmen. He it was who stood
between the silver plate prototype and the silver plated translation.
The admiration should be extended to the original makers of the models.
A scientific classification of old Sheffield plate should set out to
identify what particular makers and designers of silver plate were
copied by the silver platers of Sheffield and elsewhere. A collection
of Sheffield plate without the knowledge as to the fount from which
it came is like a collection of interpretative engravings from old
masters' paintings with the old painters' names omitted.

=The Supper Table.=--In an age when a considerable amount of
inventiveness was displayed in regard to economical forms of furniture,
such as folding tables, library steps which shut up, dressing tables
with wings that pulled forward, telescopic dining tables were invented
and patented in 1830 by Richard Gillow, and nests of drawers arranged
as though space were as great a desideratum as it is in a modern flat,
it is not surprising to find that the metal workers at Sheffield
came into line with the fashion for neat and ingenious contrivances
for the table. A special feature was made of small delicate fitted
appurtenances for the card room and the supper table. Collapsible
toast racks were made about 1825 to 1830 standing on four ball and
claw feet, by a firm stamping its name as R.C. & Co. Tinder-boxes with
candlesticks were cunningly contrived. Reading shades came into being
with circular green silk guards, capable of being raised and lowered
and manipulated in a variety of positions. Many of these articles
only achieved a momentary success. But among those remaining are
certain supper dishes for serving cheese. In the example illustrated
(p. 239) it is seen that it has six compartments for toasted cheese
to be served hot and kept hot. These cheese dishes are uncommon. The
handle is wood. In date this is about 1800, the adjacent example is
about 1810 and has applied shell and foliage at the corners of the
cover, and a similar wooden handle.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED TOASTED CHEESE DISHES.

  Showing interior with six compartments. Date 1800.

  Showing exterior: cover with ornament. Date 1810.

  (_By courtesy of Walter H. Willson, Esq._)]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED PIPE LIGHTER.

  With pierced escalloped top, wooden handle, and on tray with pierced
  rim on claw and ball feet. Date 1783.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)]

A fine specimen of a little known article of former use is illustrated
on the same page. It is a Pipe Lighter, with pierced and escalloped
edge. It has three ball and claw feet. It stands on a circular tray
finely pierced having ball and claw feet. It might at first glance
suggest to the collector that it was Dutch in origin, and suggests some
form of charcoal brazier, but it is indubitably a remarkable specimen
of old Sheffield plated work in date about 1783.



VIII

CENTREPIECES

   THE CENTREPIECE

   THE DESTRUCTION OF OLD DIES

   THE MELTING DOWN OF MASSIVE SHEFFIELD PLATE

   THE PASSING OF THE DINNER TABLE



                             CHAPTER VIII

                             CENTREPIECES

   =The centrepiece--The destruction of old dies--The melting down of
   massive Sheffield plate--The passing of the dinner table.=


The centrepiece was the _pièce de résistance_; it made an imposing
feature with its fruit which was to be served at dessert; it has
developed later into an object for floral decoration standing as a
monument of colour on the table, and was in more modern usage combined
with lights when the old candelabra were considered to be out of
date, and before the modern electric candelabrum made its appearance.
Accordingly, we find massive decoration and strong bold design in most
of these centrepieces. The _Frontispiece_ illustrates an especially
fine example with ten baskets of glass and the twisted branches are
constructed to give the massive piece a lightness and a grace, although
it was necessary to have a certain solidity to carry its heaped-up
delicacies. There is a fine balance in this example and it is typical
of the openwork centrepiece as distinct from a more massive form
introduced when an ambitious bid made by Sheffield for recognition in
carrying out the modelled figures and other elaborate structures which
became so prevalent in the first thirty years of the nineteenth century.

Another example produced in wire work in early manner, in date about
1790, is illustrated (p. 247). This is on four ball feet and has a
large basket at the top, vase-like in form, with handles. From the
standard supported by three C-shaped branches are suspended four
smaller baskets. Its lightness and flexibility of design are its
noticeable features and there is a practicability too in the form as
the small baskets with handles can be readily removed from the branches
on which they hang.

A massive centrepiece with stand on four richly moulded feet in French
style is ornamented by heavily gadrooned architectural ornament. This
supports three semi-nude female figures who form a column which is
surmounted by a large urn-shaped basket ornamented with interlaced
bands and floral pierced work. A heavy glass bowl of cut glass
with serrated rim and facetted ribs completes a grandiose piece
representative of the period about 1825. (Illustrated, p. 251).

Other forms are found with peculiarities of design which win
acclamation, though on the whole there is always in comparison with
the silversmiths' art of a century earlier something undesirable, not
so much as to what is lacking but what has been added. There is a
departure from soberness and an attempt to give ornament a place
whether ornament is necessary or not. This effort to be ultra-artistic
more often than not over-reached itself and the results do not give
the same æsthetic pleasure as those of earlier designers who know
the golden rule in art--what to omit. But comparisons are odious. We
take representative examples of a period and continue the study and
give them the respect due, and when one finds an oasis in a desert of
meretricious art one is profoundly thankful.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CENTREPIECES.

  With finely-cut glass dish in centre, and five branches supporting
  smaller glass dishes. Elaborate scroll ornament embodying the Prince of
  Wales's feathers as central support. Date 1810.

  Oval wire basket, with double wire handles on standard. Four smaller
  circular baskets supported from C-shaped branches. On scroll feet, with
  bar and ball ornament. Date 1790.

  The two examples typify the ornate and the simple in design.

  (_By courtesy of Walter H. Willson, Esq._)]

The Centrepiece illustrated (p. 247) offers many points of
attractiveness. It attempts magnificence and almost achieves it. The
employment of three ostrich feathers in the design suggests at once
the period of George IV. It has been employed in minor pieces by the
silversmith as it was successfully used by Hepplewhite in his carved
mahogany chair-backs. This is not the only example known with similar
feather decoration so prominently featuring in the design. There is
another example with outstretched plain branches having four cups so
far removed from the central standard as to suggest gas-globes. The
feathers by this arrangement are given an undue prominence and lose
the graceful effect they have in the example here illustrated, where
the curved branches with rich scroll ornament harmonize with the more
prominent central support for the cut glass dish. The branches support
four smaller cut glass dishes of really fine character. This cut glass
work is of the most beautiful character and adds greatly to the
grandeur of the piece.

As indicating the return of the Sheffield workers to designs prior to
their own day the Chestnut Dish and Cover illustrated (p. 255) offers
conclusive proof. It has all the quietude of the work produced in
the Queen Anne period. It depends for its effect on its form and the
play of light on its surface. The twisted handles are terminated by
lion masks. The foot is plain, but the edge of the rim of the body
is quietly godrooned. The lid is surmounted by an oval knob, which
the Staffordshire potters seized later as their own. The accompanying
illustration shows a Fruit Basket, in date about 1810, and it resembles
the work of Paul Storr, the London maker of that period. It is of
simple basket form. Its broad rim emulates the technique of the basket
maker in appearance and is equally necessary here in order to add to
the strength of a design carried out in wire. The base is oval and
stands on four claw feet in combination with scroll design as shown in
other examples in candelabra and other work of the same period.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CENTREPIECE.

  Hexagonal base on scroll feet. Urn-shaped wire basket, supported by
  three semi-nude female figures, surmounted by large circular cut-glass
  bowl.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)]

=The Destruction of Old Dies.=--The Sheffield firms were not
wise in their generation. They committed a great blunder which they
regretted for long afterwards. We do not say that this led to the
extinction of the industry, for there were other very important causes
which resulted in silver plating in the old style being superseded.
But undoubtedly the destruction of old dies by a number of firms did
lead to the constant production of work which might very well have
been left undone. When the fashion for the classic designs of the
Adam period and that immediately succeeding it was found to have been
discarded, these old dies were melted down for the value of the metal.
They represented many thousands of pounds outlay to each of the firms
who had produced them, and nowadays, when reticence and sobriety of
design have again come into their own after the long night of the early
and later Victorian meaningless trivialities in design in metal work,
these old dies would have won distinction by their re-employment. But
they must remain a sad memory to those who know what once has been,
and as so often happens in any industry dependent on the caprice of
fashion, it is easy to be wise after the event.

=The Melting Down of Massive Sheffield Plate.=--Yet another
deplorable misfortune overtook Sheffield plate. It was found that the
copper in some of the old examples was valuable. Prices of copper had
risen, and on the other hand silver had fallen. Certain enterprising
firms dealing in metals began to collect all the old Sheffield plated
examples they could lay hands on, and they ruthlessly melted them
down. Quite considerable sums of money were made in this manner, and
very few fine pieces were rescued from destruction. Though we heard of
one instance of a dealer who was artistic enough to select certain
examples that he liked for their beauty, and his family have them to
this day. We hope his taste was sound. But the result was to aim a
blow at collecting Sheffield plate, and to create many a hiatus which
collectors find to their chagrin to-day.

=The Passing of the Dinner Table.=--With all due respect to
modernity there is in middle-class households still to be observed an
absence of taste in silver. There is silver present and enough of it.
But not sufficient care has been paid to studying the fine forms and
the exquisite creations of former generations of English silversmiths.
Now and again great surprise is expressed at big prices realized at
Christie's or elsewhere for fine specimens of plate. But as to the
general education relating to the art of the silversmith and the
really beautiful designs that have come down for hundreds of years as
ornaments to the dinner table the average city merchant and the average
man of affairs has surprisingly little knowledge. When he steps out of
his own world into that of art he stumbles blindly and often wilfully.
His pictures please him and he is often boastful concerning them--but
there are others who know different.

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED CHESTNUT DISH.

  Plain design in Queen Anne style: silver gadrooned edges: lion mask
  handles. Date 1810.

  (_In the collection of B. B. Harrison, Esq._)]

  [Illustration: OLD SHEFFIELD PLATED FRUIT BASKET.

  In fluted oval base, with four scroll feet. Wire work design; broad
  gadrooned rim. Date 1810.

  (_By courtesy of Walter H. Willson, Esq._)]

Perhaps nowadays the hotel and restaurant habit has contributed not
a little to disturbing the pride that the Englishman took in his own
table. A hundred years ago, and right down to the time immediately
preceding our own--the days of Thackeray and Dickens--there was a keen
regard by the host for the appointments of his table. He carefully
laid down wine, he personally supervised his cellars and knew the
temperature necessary to maintain the character of the contents of his
bins. He was a connoisseur in wines; nowadays he leaves that sort of
thing to his wine-merchant. He kept an eye, too, on the plate closet,
and knew to a nicety what particular services and what special vessels
fitted functions over which he presided. Perhaps life has become more
complex for him to-day, possibly he now pays more attention to his golf
clubs and his motor-car. He has more extraneous pleasures, and after
all modernity has its claims on his time. He may suffer less from gout
than did his sires. But as a giver of a feast, as a host with inner
knowledge, as a man sensitive for the palates of his guests, the modern
host is not the same host as was his grandfather.



IX

CLOSE PLATING


   CLOSE PLATING

   THE BUCKLE MAKERS

   GERMAN SILVER AND OTHER WHITE METALS

   THE FACTORY SYSTEM

   THE END OF THE STORY



                              CHAPTER IX

                             CLOSE PLATING

   =Close plating--The buckle makers--German silver and other white
   metals--The factory system--The end of the story.=


Apart from the process of covering baser metals with silver by fusion
and preparing sheets of copper superimposed with silver by rolling,
there was the earlier process always designated as French plating. As
we have shown, the plating of baser metals was nothing new, but the
Sheffield process was a new invention which had far-reaching results.
About the year 1800 a great many small articles in common use were
manufactured by a method known as close plating. Knives, snuffers,
skewers, buckles, spurs and harness were subjected to this means of
silver plating. A great many of these articles have the name of the
maker stamped upon them. Fruit knives, table spoons and forks, fish
knives, sugar tongs, and in fact all small articles which it was easier
to make in this manner than manipulate from the silver plated sheet.

Iron skewers were so plated with silver and steel blades of knives.
An iron skewer made in Ireland is marked "Sly. Dublin," and the marks
of the makers of the close plated work are as difficult to trace and
identify as some of the others in the process of plating by fusion.
Horday & Co. is found on some late examples, and the _fleur-de-lys_ is
another mark frequently seen. The close plating process seems to have
been followed both at Birmingham and Sheffield from about 1795, and was
subsequently employed in London. The base for close plating was mainly
iron or steel. Instead of resorting to the longer and more expensive
mechanical process of fusion and rolling, the article intended to be
plated with silver was covered with a thin sheet of silver and while
hot it was burnished down to the core of the baser metal, by means of a
compound of lead and tin, which, employed at a low temperature, did not
lessen the temper of the article thus plated.

It is to be observed, however, that the permanency of close plated
articles cannot be compared with those produced under the rolling
process. Whatever may be the reason there seems to be a weakness in the
technique, for it is found that they are strongly affected by exposure
to damp or extreme heat.


=The Buckle Makers.=--It has been asserted that Boulsover made
buckles; this is unlikely. The trade had mainly settled in Birmingham
and Wolverhampton, and there was an extensive trade carried on in
London. The fashion of the buckle underwent many vicissitudes in
fortune. The Puritans adopted shoe strings. It was in Stuart days that
Herrick sang of his mistress:

    A careless shoe string, in whose tie
    I see a wild civility.

Silk laces with silver fringes and tags were in fashion on the eve
of the Restoration, although the common folk confined themselves to
leather laces.

All through the eighteenth century the buckle was worn. Sometimes,
happily for the buckle makers, the fashions grew so extravagant that
the ladies wore such large square buckles either of silver or silver
plated as almost to conceal their feet. Towards the end of the century
fashion deserted the buckle makers and they were in a parlous state.
It was natural that they termed the displacement "the most ridiculous
of all ridiculous fashions the effeminate shoe string." Birmingham,
Walsall and Wolverhampton employed no less than twenty thousand workers
in the buckle industry, and they could ill afford to be flouted by the
fickle jade Fashion.

In 1792 the buckle makers of the provinces determined to enlist the
sympathies of the First Gentleman in Europe on their behalf. They
were introduced to the Prince of Wales by Sheridan. They represented
that although the interest of the button manufacture had enlisted
parliamentary assistance they had no redress against the shoestring.
They did not desire sumptuary penalties, but they claimed the personal
support of His Royal Highness to obviate the stagnation of trade
causing "miseries, emigrations and other horrible consequences."

The buckle makers' petition runs as follows:

"We beg leave to observe, that when Fashion, instead of foreign or
unprofitable ornaments, wears and consumes the manufactures of this
country, she puts on a more engaging form, and becomes Patriotism. When
Taste, at the same time and by the same means that she decorates the
persons of the rich, clothes and fills the naked and hungry poor, she
deserves a worthier appellation, and may be styled Humanity. We make no
doubt but your Royal Highness will prefer the blessings of the starving
manufacturer to the encomiums of the drawing-room. We know it is to no
purpose to address Fashion herself; she is void of feeling, and deaf
to argument; but, fortunately, she is subject to your control. She has
been accustomed to listen to your voice, and obey your commands."

The Prince of Wales, followed by the Duke of York, ordered the
discontinuance of the use of shoe-strings by members of his household.

The buckle makers of London and Westminster followed in the wake of
their provincial brethren, by publishing an appeal to the public,
complaining that, however mischievous the whim, however effeminate the
appearance of shoe-strings, the wearing of them still increased, and
hoping that henceforth no philanthropic friend to his country would, by
following an evil example, virtually take part in snatching the bread
out of the mouths of thousands of poor and industrious families. They
also petitioned the King and Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duke and
Duchess of York, the Princess Royal, and her brothers Clarence and
Gloucester, to aid them in their extremity. They unbosomed their cares
to King George as a parent and protector whose soul was his people's.
They assured Queen Charlotte that her disapproval of shoe-strings
coming into her royal presence, would suffice to reinstate them in
their former blessings; while they told the Princess that if she would
but wear buckles, they should no longer remain monuments of silent
grief, but commemorate with grateful peals of acclamation the annual
return of the day which shone so propitious on their wants. Equally
lavish of praise and prayer to the rest of the royal family, they
reserved (for some unknown reason) the most extraordinary of their
appeals for the Duke of York.

After informing him that "honour, dignity, and birth are like the
landscape when the luminary is behind a cloud, without the rays of
beneficence tinging each distinction with its inherent brightness,"
they remind him that ribbon, leather, and whipcord threaten to ruin a
staple manufacture doing an incredible trade abroad, and humbly pray
his Royal Highness to discourage shoe-strings "both militarily and
domestically." Then they break out: "Conceive what immense numbers
of persons have spent the prime of their youth and manhood; entered
into connections; _increased their families_; and embarked their
all, having this trade for a dependence. Their hearts bleeding at
the cruel inconsiderate capriciousness of Fashion; difficulties and
impossibilities rise in quick succession to defeat the probability of
fixing on any other branch or occupation. The nuptial tie, pitiably
relaxed by reiterated sorrows; the children cry louder and more
vehemently for food; the husband unmanned; his wonted courage fails;
the wife, more delicately sensible, is not able to resist one of
the obtruding woes which crowd upon her mind. Few friends before!
less than ever now! Demands come quickest upon the most needy, often
reminded of their bereaved trade, and no philosopher's stone to smooth
the creditor's brow! Now spread wide the happy cause, the prospect
changes; Hope with cheering looks advances. A letter from the trade
at large informs them of our appeal to your Royal Highness. Instantly
they assemble, and congratulate each other they have so glorious a
source of expectation! Hope, with magic power, appeased their hunger,
removed their despondency, makes the manufacturer's heart dance with
joy; and the Duke and Duchess of York echoes in their cups, toast
after toast. And your petitioners will ever pray." The result of all
this was that buckles were unusually prevalent at the Queen's birthday
drawing-room, held soon afterwards, when the beauty and brilliancy of
the buckles worn by the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, and the Earl
of Fife attracted general notice and admiration. It was but a transient
triumph: Royalty failed to control Fashion; and although exceedingly
small buckles were occasionally seen down to 1800, their fate was
sealed, and by 1812 the buckle was extinct.


=German Silver and White Metals.=--The early silver plating was
on soft copper, but towards the end of the plating period, an alloy
was made with brass in order to give the base a greater strength and
possibly for reasons of economy. Later German silver was introduced
as a base. It was hard. It was not altogether a success, possibly by
reason of its greater cost. But it had the quality of forming a hard
solid basis beneath the silver plate, and when the latter showed signs
of wear the German silver, being of a light colour, did not come into
undue prominence in betraying the wear and tear.

There is also tutenag, an obscure metal, an alloy of antimony and
zinc which was known to the Chinese, though not much has been written
concerning this alloy and its employment in this country for articles
of artistic excellence. But candlesticks and fenders have been made of
pleasing appearance and having good wearing qualities. Then there is
the Britannia metal period where pewter and Britannia metal met. In
fact, during the latter days of Sheffield plating there were many minor
competitors offering substitutes for the silver plating at a lower
price. Commercialism was in the air, and at the flood the old methods
of plating by fusion were swept away.


=The Factory System.=--Looked at from all points of view the
Sheffield plating industry betrayed the rise of the factory system, as
did also the great Wedgwood and other Staffordshire firms. The factory
system, by reason of its systemization, apportions set tasks to a
chain of individuals, so that no one individual can be said to be an
artist-craftsman in the same sense that he would have been in the old
days. The old Italian masters compounded their own pigments and carved
and gilded their own frames. Life was then more crystallized. The
viciousness of the factory system was that it destroyed the personality
of the craftsman. In latter days strong movements have been inaugurated
to attempt to revive art industries where the artist craftsmen will not
be obliterated under the name of a firm or a syndicate.


=The End of the Story.=--It has been shown throughout this volume
that old Sheffield plate by reason of its artistic excellence, should
be treasured and loved. Its fashioning is most certainly a lost art.
The old methods have disappeared for ever. It would be impossible to
procure workmen nowadays with the fine instinct shown by those under
the old _régime_. If a return were made to the old process in lieu
of the solid plate; if, let it be granted, that electro-plate were
superseded by a freak of fashion which demanded Sheffield plate in
the old manner, the operation would still be impossible. The cost of
producing Sheffield plate by fusion and rolling would be greater than
if it were solid silver. Hence collectors have realized the value, not
only æsthetically but the actual value of a fine series of wonderful
works of art produced in an artistic manner which can never come
again. It has been collected by far seeing enthusiasts, and they have
bought at prices which will never occur again. Recently at Christie's
a set of four Adam style candlesticks brought thirty-two pounds. But
this was not too much for so splendid a technique. And without doubt
old Sheffield plate, especially in examples that are not forthcoming
as having been made in silver plate, will command much higher prices
in the future. English earthenware in some instances has eclipsed
porcelain in regard to prices under the hammer, and engravings after
paintings in oil finely executed in a masterly technique, never again
to be equalled or attempted, have won a greater acclamation at auction
than the originals. Technique is a factor and a great determining
factor in collecting, and sound connoisseurship recognizes this. Old
Sheffield plated ware in its finest period exhibits one of the most
surprising techniques in metal work ever produced in this country.



APPENDIX


I

EXAMPLES SHOWING TYPES OF HALL MARKS ON SILVER PLATE

Used by the various Assay Offices in operation during the Manufacture
of Sheffield Plated Ware


II

EXAMPLES OF MARKS

Found on old Sheffield Plate during the period 1753 to 1840


I

EXAMPLES SHOWING TYPES OF HALL MARKS ON SILVER PLATE[3]

Used by the various Assay Offices: London, Exeter, Chester,
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, York, Sheffield, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow,
Dublin, and Cork

[Footnote 3: _The Position of Marks._--Marks are not placed on
old silver in a straight line. They are shown in this manner for
convenience, and are the author's own arrangement. They are in practice
irregularly stamped and sometimes upside down. The maker put his stamp
on the piece prior to sending it to the Assay Office. The remaining
stamps were done under the directions of the Wardens. Although the
maker's mark was stamped first, some of the other marks were placed on
either side of it.]

The following series of Hall Marks on Silver by the various Assay
Offices are given as they fix the exact date when certain types
of silver were made, and the maker's stamp with initials enables
identification. It is only by comparison with original examples of
dated silver that approximate dates can be ascertained of old Sheffield
plate which set out to copy silver. Accordingly, the work of the
following London makers should be studied with a view to establishing
the original designers of many of the old Sheffield replicas. The
following great masters came on the threshold of the Sheffield plate
invention: Paul Crispin (1743); Paul Lamerie (1746); John Cafe (1749);
Peter Taylor (Tea Caddies) (1747); Frederick Kandler (Inkstands)
(1757); Thomas Whipham (1747); John Swift (Coffee Pots) (1749); Richard
Rugg (1754); William Grundy (1757); Edward Wakelin (1753); Isaac Duke
(Sauce Boats) (1743); Simon Jouet (1747); George Wickes (Candlesticks)
(1750); Samuel Taylor (Caddies, Sugar Basins) (1756); Henry Herbert
(1753).

When the Sheffield industry was at its height the following London
makers had established a reputation for various classes of designs
which they had made their own.

=Sugar Basins= (Fine pierced and festoon work): Benjamin Gignac
(1761); J. Denizlow (1781); Henry Chawner (1792); L. Herne and F. Butty
(1750); Daniel Smith and Robert Sharp (1769); S. Herbert & Co. (1767).

=Cream Jugs, Sauce Boats=: Samuel Meriton (1761); Walter Brind
(1763); Parker and Wakelin (1775); James Wilkes (1784); Peter and Anne
Bateman (1791).

=Candelabra and Candlesticks=: Robert Hennell (1777); Wakelyn and
Taylor (1782); John Tayleur (1786); John Schofield (1786).

=Centrepieces=: William Plummer (Adam Style, 1787).

=Tureens and Services=: Dave Smith and Robert Sharp (1747); Thomas
Heming (1772); William Pitts and Joseph Preedy (1793); Robert Sharp
(Wine Coolers) (1803); Samuel Hennell (Wine Coolers) (1813); Paul Storr
(1796-1820).

=Punch Ladles=: Dorothy Mills (1771).

=Salt Cellars=: Daniel Hennell (1758).

=Inkstands=: Thomas Heming (1764).

=Toasted Cheese Dishes=: Thomas Heming (1779).

=Tea Urns=: Orlando Jackson (1771).

=Teapots and Coffee Pots=: William Plummer (Teapots and Caddies)
(1764); Frederick Knopfell (1765); Samuel Taylor (Caddies) (1770);
W. Cripps (1762); Samuel Wood (1785); William Shaw (Caddies) (1788);
Robert Garrard (1805); Philip Rundell (1819).

LONDON

  [Illustration: 1779]

  [Illustration: 1798]

  [Illustration: 1826]


EXETER

  [Illustration: 1748]


The date letters of the various London alphabets are readily
ascertainable. The differences in the shape of the shields are not
great; the leopard lost his crown in 1821 and has been cat-like in
appearance ever since. Exeter continued as an Assay Office till 1882,
but York, which was not mentioned among the Assay Offices in 1773,
recommenced about the beginning of the nineteenth century and continued
till 1870. Its mark was a St. George's Cross and five diminutive Lions.
Newcastle-upon-Tyne similarly discontinued assaying silver in 1884.

=Exeter.=--The mark, as is shown, is a castle with three towers.
The Date Letters were =A-Y= (1773-1796). The letter =I= was
used for two years 1781 and 1782. =A-U= (1797-1816) in square
shield and =a-u= (1817-1836) in square shield with four corners
cut off. About 1775 the following silversmiths' marks are found on
Exeter silver: Richard Jenkins, William Coffin, Richard Freeman, and
Thomas Thorne (Plymouth), David Hawkins (Plymouth), William Harvey
(Plymouth), Richard Bidlake (Plymouth).

=Chester.=--The Town Mark formerly was three Demi-Lions with
wheatsheaves on a shield. In 1775 it was changed to three Wheatsheaves
with a dagger, which is still in use at the Chester Assay Office. In
addition there is the Lion passant and the Leopard's head denoting
sterling silver, as at London.

=Newcastle-upon-Tyne.=--The complete Marks are the Lion passant,
the Leopard's head, the Town or Hall mark of three Castles, the Date
Letter, the Maker's Mark, and the Duty Mark of the sovereign's head
used, as at all other offices, till 1890, when the duty on silver plate
was abolished.

=Sheffield.=--An Assay Office was established by Act of Parliament
in 1773 (13 George III, Cap. 52), and Sheffield obtained the rights
to hall mark silver. It is unfortunate that between 1773 and 1823
the date letters were taken at random. The difficulty of identifying
silver plate between these two dates (an important period) is thereby
increased by this irregular choice of the Guardians of the Wrought
Silver Plate of Sheffield. It is as though they had designedly set
conundrums for posterity which none of the other Assay Offices did with
their regular series of date letters. But from 1824-1843 the alphabet
denoting the date runs from =a-z= (the letters i, j, n, o, w and y
being omitted), and from 1844-1867 the alphabet was =A-Z= (J and Q
being omitted).

The marks on the opposite page have been taken from specimens of silver
plate hall-marked by the various provincial Assay Offices.

The Chester silversmiths made a variety of excellent plate. There
was Richard Richardson whose designs were in the Queen Anne style,
and doubtless attracted the attention of Sheffield. In 1768 Bolton
and Fothergill made a variety of articles, including some fine
candlesticks, and other silversmiths about 1775 whose marks were
stamped at Chester are: Geo. Walker, Jas. Dixon, Gimble and Vale
(Birmingham), John Gimlet (Birmingham), Ralph Wakefield (Liverpool),
Christian Thyme (Liverpool), and Ralph Fisher (Liverpool).

The mark given of the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Assay Office is from a Coffee
Pot. Although of a slightly earlier period it exhibits the type of
mark. Newcastle produced many tankards, teapots and coffee pots of
plain character and simple form that Sheffield in the early days might
have essayed to copy. The following names of the Newcastle makers may
assist possessors of Sheffield plated ware to establish a parallel:
Isaac Cookson (1752); Robert Makepeace (sauceboats) (1754); Langlands
and Goodriche (1754); Langlands and Robertson (1794).

At York in 1819 Robert Cottle and J. Barber were at work as
silversmiths. A teapot of that date made by them exhibits fine design.

Early after the passing of the Act in 1773 the Sheffield silversmiths
distinguished themselves by producing fine candlesticks, and among
the early makers' marks with the Sheffield hall mark of the Crown as
the Town Mark of Sheffield, is that of Samuel Roberts & Co., and this
is found together with the mark of the Lion passant and the Leopard's
head. Another mark on candlesticks of silver (1791) is I. P. & Co. (J.
Parsons & Co.). That Sheffield made silver plate before this is shown
by the evidence before the Select Committee of the House of Commons in
1773, alluded to on page 63.

CHESTER

  [Illustration: 1775 Maker, Richard Richardson.]

  [Illustration: 1800]


NEWCASTLE-UPON-TYNE

  [Illustration: 1737]


YORK

  [Illustration: 1800]


SHEFFIELD

  [Illustration: 1778]


The Birmingham Assay Office came into being in 1773 under the same Act
as that governing Sheffield (13 George III, _Cap._ 52). The marks
are an Anchor (the Town Mark), a Lion passant, Date Letter, Maker's
initials, and the Duty Mark of the sovereign's head from 1776.

Scottish marks come under another series of Acts and are a field to
themselves. Besides Edinburgh and Glasgow marks the number of Scottish
marks is legion (Sterling, Perth, Inverness, Dundee, Aberdeen, Banff,
etc.).

Edinburgh used the Standard mark of the Thistle after 1759 in place of
the Lion passant found on English silver. The hall mark is a Castle
with three towers. The alphabets of Date Letters A-Z and the Maker's
initials have been regularly used since the fifteenth century. The Duty
Mark of the sovereign's head was added in 1784. It was also formerly
usual to add the Assay master's initials.

Glasgow, in honour of her patron saint, St. Kentigern (known also as
St. Mungo) has a hall mark of a Tree with a bird on uppermost branches,
a Bell suspended and a Salmon transversely across the trunk. This fish
has a ring in its mouth, the latter alluding to the miracle of the
recovery of the last ring of Queen Caidyow. The Standard Mark is the
Lion Rampant, used after 1819, and the Maker's Mark his initials. The
Duty Mark of the sovereign's head was the same as at Edinburgh.

Dublin marks have a figure of Hibernia, a Harp and Crown, together
with Maker's Mark and the Date Letter. The Cork marks are varied.
Sometimes there is a castle stamped twice and sometimes only the word
STERLING and the Maker's initials or mark.

=Birmingham.=--Among the makers of silver plate we find Matthew
Boulton, who also made plated ware, with fine silver candlesticks
with the hall mark and date letter for 1794. The date letters of the
Birmingham alphabets run: =A-Z= Roman capitals (1773-1798);
=a-z= small Roman (1798-1824); =A=Z= Old English capitals
(1824-1849); etc.

=Edinburgh.=--Among the well-known makers are Joseph Kerr (1790)
and Patrick Robertson (1778). An example is given of the mark of the
latter found on a Coffee Pot made in 1769.

=Dublin.=--There are a number of makers with a reputation for fine
designs. R. Calderwood (1760); George Beere (1760); J. Laughlin (1765);
Stephen Walsh (1765); W. Townshend (1765); Will Hughes (1770); William
Homer (1771); Darby Kehoe (1771); Capel Harrison (1771); Thomas Lilly
(1772); Charles Townshend (1773); Thomas Jones (1775); Robert Williams
(1776); John Nicklin (1780); Matthew Walsh (1780); William Law (1790);
Matthew West (1791); Robert Breading (1802); and James le Bas (1819).
The initials of these makers will be found on Irish silver of the
period.

=Cork.=--Here there were fine designs of an unusual character
produced. Robert Goble, an early maker, had left a tradition. There
was George Hodder (1745-1770) who made fine coffee pots and other
articles. John Williams (1780) who produced sugar baskets finely
pierced and chased in classic style, and there was Jonathan Buck, who
was renowned for his magnificent repoussé and chased work in cream jugs
and the like, who signed his pieces sometimes "J. Buck," in script, and
sometimes stamped them with the mark of the buck.

BIRMINGHAM

  [Illustration: 1804]


EDINBURGH

  [Illustration: 1769 Maker, Patrick Robertson.]


GLASGOW

  [Illustration: 1824]


DUBLIN

  [Illustration: c. 1770 Maker, Will Haynes.]


CORK

 [Illustration: c. 1764 Maker, Jonathan Buck.]



II

EXAMPLES OF MARKS

=Found on old
Sheffield Plate
during the period
from 1753 to 1840
together with Marks on
French Silver Plated Ware=

The bell, the crossed arrows (three and four), the crossed keys, the
pineapple, the orb, the hand, are all marks used by Sheffield makers.
The following firms are well known:--Roberts, Cadman & Co., Goodman
& Co., Parsons & Co., Wilkinson & Co., Williams & Co., Dixon and
Sons, Holy & Co., Gainsford, Walker Knowles & Co., all of Sheffield.
At Birmingham there was Matthew Boulton, and the Soho Co., Hardy and
others. In London there were many firms settled in the Soho district.

The cross keys, illustrated, is the mark of H. Wilkinson & Co.
(formerly John Parsons & Co.), Sheffield, though during what period
this was used is not determined. The Orb (that is, the ball and cross)
was the trade mark of Walker Knowles & Co., Sheffield, but exactitude
in regard to the period of its use is lacking. The open hand was the
sign of Messrs. Watson, Sheffield, and the crossed arrows of Messrs.
Fenton, Creswick & Co., Sheffield.

The original firm Roberts, Cadman and Co., who commenced business in
1784, used the Bell as a mark. They also used, as is illustrated,
R.C. & Co. and R.C. & Co. Patent. The latter mark is stamped on a
candlestick made about 1797. In the same period Roberts, Cadman & Co.
produced Coffee Pots with "Ivory Pine Knob" as advertised in their
catalogues of that date. There were Tinder Boxes at 10s. 6d. each with
extinguisher with chain and candlestick on top. The Tea Urns were
priced at twelve guineas "circular or globular shaped." The Tea Caddies
plated inside with silver edges were 45s. each, and some cups and cream
ewers were "gilt inside." They made also at this date Lamp Holders to
fit into candle sockets, and Taper Holders.

The firm afterwards became Roberts, Smith & Co., then Smith, Sissons &
Co., and were succeeded by W. & G. Sissons, who are still continuing
the business and are silversmiths and electro-platers.

The three crossed arrows mark is interesting. It is claimed to have
been used by Messrs. Fenton, Creswick & Co., Sheffield. The mark
illustrated with four crossed arrows is that of T. & J. Creswick
(1811). With it is given another crossed arrow mark of two crossed
arrows adopted by the Sheffield Assay Office to stamp on Foreign silver
assayed at that office in 1904; before that only the letter =F= in
an oval was used, but by 4 Edward VII, Cap. 6 all Assay Offices had to
adopt a new style, and Sheffield selected the crossed arrows. In 1906
the mark was changed to the one illustrated, which is still used on
foreign silver sent to Sheffield for assay and sale in this country.

  [Illustration: MARK OF ROBERTS, CADMAN & CO., SHEFFIELD (1784).

  The firm became Roberts, Smith & Co., then Smith, Sissons & Co., and
  is now Messrs. W. & G. Sissons, who still use the mark.

  (See illustrations from R. C. & Co.'s Pattern Books, pp. 75, 183.)]

  [Illustration: MARKS OF ROBERTS, CADMAN & CO.

  Found on Candlesticks with silver edges.

  In 1824 Roberts of Sheffield took out a patent for a new method of
  applying silver edges to snuffer trays, cream jugs, sauce boats, &c.
  These are found stamped SILVER:EDGD.]

  [Illustration: MARK OF THOMAS & JAMES CRESWICK, SHEFFIELD
  (1811).

  MARKS ON FOREIGN SILVER PLATE ASSAYED AT SHEFFIELD. (1904.)
  (1906.)]

  [Illustration: JOHN PARSONS & CO. USED THE MARK OF THE CROSSED KEYS
  FROM 1784.

  (See Illustrations from Pattern Books, pp. 141, 145, 151, 179, 191.)

  The Mark as above is that of H. Wilkinson & Co., their successors.]

Many fine examples of old Sheffield plate are unmarked. Where marks
are found it is not always possible, except by inference, to determine
at what particular date the makers stamped such marks, that is at what
date the specimen was made. Obviously the style of decoration indicates
approximately the period, as the Sheffield platers set out to offer
ware as fashionable as silver. This is determinable by comparison with
similar examples made by the silversmiths. But whereas silver plate
was accurately dated when it bore the stamp of the annual date letter,
wherever made, Sheffield plated ware cannot offer this exactitude.

Marks when found are useful as indicating the initials of old firms
who have manufactured plate from the earliest period and are still in
business. But many of the marks were used over a long period and only
by comparison with silver prototypes can dates be arrived at.

It has been shown (p. 63) that in 1773 when Sheffield and Birmingham
were made Assay towns that silver plate was being made there,
contemporaneously with plated wares and presumably by the same firms.
The evidence before the Parliamentary Committee in 1773 showed that
Sheffield had her silver assayed in London, and that Birmingham had
also some of her silver assayed in Chester. It therefore follows that
many examples of silver plate bearing the London and Chester hall marks
were made at Sheffield and at Birmingham--and in the period from the
invention of plated ware at Sheffield by Boulsover till the year 1773.

One of the weakest points in regard to marks on plated ware is
undoubtedly the absence of real proof as to date. Similar marks are
found covering a period too long for one maker's working lifetime.
It follows that they represent firms; often accompanying these,
though not always, are signs also found through a long period and on
various classes of ware, which are stated to be workmen's marks. In
old Worcester china signs not understood and standing apart from the
factory mark of the crescent or the square Chinese mark are attributed
to workmen. There identity ceases. It is the same, unfortunately, with
old Sheffield plate. That the Sheffield platers did attempt to simulate
the London marks on silver plate is only too true. In some examples
with a row of marks, a very colourable imitation of the leopard's head
is seen and the public might well be deceived. But after 1773 this
practice became too dangerous. In fact the penalties were so severe
that makers feared to mark plated goods until the 1784 Act laid down
clearer rules.

The mark consisting of four stamps about 1815 in date is interesting.
The casque suggests a head, and the _fleur-de-lys_ might, when worn,
suggest the Sheffield crown on silver plate. The =G= has all
the appearance of a date letter. Such marks have a somewhat sinister
appearance, as they undoubtedly by their number and character were
attempting to simulate the hall marks on silver plate.

In regard to Foreign marks on silver plated ware that was produced in
the method of old Sheffield, there are examples known to have been
made in France and in Russia, and it is believed that they were also
made in Holland and in Sweden. The promulgation of the old Pattern
Books by Sheffield at the end of the eighteenth century doubtless had
an influence on metal workers on the Continent, who were never slow
in assimilating new processes, especially when they offered, as did
Sheffield, a lessened cost of production and an appearance simulating
something finer.

The legal enactments relating to the marking of French plated ware are
referred to on p. 209.

The illustrations of marks found on French silver plated articles
are interesting. The authorities were strict in regard to an exact
definition in the mark to denote to the public the exact nature of the
ware offered for sale. In contradistinction to the slovenliness of
English marking this exhibits the logical and protective system devised
under French laws. The articles had to be stamped _Doublé_ (replica) or
_Plaqué_ (plated), and as is shown in the illustration in no illegible
manner. There was no simulation of the French silver plate marks
allowed, and the quantity of silver was duly stamped 10M or 20M, as the
case might be. The maker, as will be seen, had his mark, but it took a
subsidiary place. The public had to be protected first.

In regard to Close Plating, which as a process came about the beginning
of the nineteenth century, and was applied to smaller articles where
the rolled sheets were not applicable, there are a number of marks
found on forks and spoons, snuffers and skewers, on spurs and buckles,
dessert knives and forks, and other articles of a like nature.

Electro-plating was discovered about 1840, and a patent was taken out
by George and Henry Elkington of Birmingham at that date.

The electro-plated marks are imposing. In worn examples the row of five
stamps is not decipherable. What they were originally it is not easy
to say, but they have been designed to appear more important than they
are.

  [Illustration: MARK OF MATTHEW BOULTON, SOHO PLATE WORKS,
  BIRMINGHAM.]

  [Illustration: SHAM MARKS STAMPED ON SHEFFIELD PLATED WARE TO
  SIMULATE THE HALL MARKS ON SILVER PLATE.

  (Found on late Eighteenth-Century Hot Water Jug.)]

  [Illustration: IMITATION MARKS STAMPED ON SHEFFIELD PLATED WARE TO
  SIMULATE HALL MARKS ON SILVER PLATE.

  (Found on Salt Cellars in date about 1815.)]

  [Illustration: MARKS ON FRENCH SILVER PLATED WARE, _PLAQUÉ_ OR
  _DOUBLÉ_, CLEARLY SHOWING THAT IT IS PLATED, AND NOT SILVER PLATE.

  The upper mark (_Plaqué_) is on a Tureen about 1816.

  The lower mark (_Doublé_) is on the Coffee Pot illustrated (p. 211).]

A great number of marks appear on close plated articles. Horday & Co.,
S.G., E.S., S.J. and others. But their identity is not known. Nor is
it very significant. An interesting mark, Sly. Dublin, is found on a
skewer in the early period.

Probably seventy-five per cent. of examples of old Sheffield plate
are unmarked, though they exhibit fine craftsmanship which any maker
might well have been proud to have stamped with his initials had the
Act of 1773 been framed sufficiently clear to enable makers to venture
stamping plated ware at all with safety. Anonymous, therefore, as most
of the best Sheffield plate of the best period is, it bears on the face
of it the hall mark of exquisite workmanship.

Collectors of old Sheffield plate make a great mistake in constantly
demanding that examples be marked. If this demand for marks on old
Sheffield plate be insisted upon, the marks will accordingly be
supplied. There is nothing to prevent stamps being made to represent
some of the marks found on old Sheffield plate, and unmarked pieces
will soon bear marks and straightway become more saleable. The public
by incessant clamour drive those responsible for providing for its
wants into devious paths. The dealer in old Sheffield plate has scores
of fine unmarked examples and he is wishful to sell them as such.

They are undoubtedly old and of fine quality. It should be the ideal
of the collector to know the technique of his subject so well that the
artistic beauty and the skilful craftsmanship of an example should make
its appeal to his trained scrutiny irrespective as to whether there is
any maker's mark on the piece or not. The seams on old pieces showing
joins are a far better test of old workmanship as between old Sheffield
plating and modern electro-plating. These seams are the hall marks of
the makers a century and a century and a half ago.



                        INDEX


    Abbotsford, Scott's introduction of gas at, 116

    Adam design, example of hot water jug, 228

    Adam style of design, the, 85

    Addison omits Shakespeare from list of great poets, 51

    Advertisement of Pinchbeck (1732), 54

    Allan David, copyist of old masters, 21

    Anonymity of Sheffield plated ware, 289

    Arrows, the crossed, as a mark, various types of, 286

    Artistic value of old Sheffield plate, 60, 61

    Assay offices, examples of marks used at, 274-282


    "Below the salt," its meaning, 136

    Birmingham Assay Office, institution of, 41

    Birmingham--
      hall marks on silver plate, 281
       its silver plated marks registered at Sheffield, 68
     silver platers, rise of, 68

    Boulsover, Thomas (1704-1788), inventor of Sheffield silver
                                                    plating, 46
      obituary notice of, 47

    Boulton, Matthew, Birmingham (Boulton and Fothergill),
                                       (M. Boulton and Co.), 68

    Buckle makers, the, 262

    Buttons made by Thomas Boulsover, 47, 53

    Button makers in Dublin (1792), 73


    Cabinet makers, French, stamped marks of, 237

    Caddies, tea, and their makers, 196

    Cadman, Robert, and Co., (Sheffield), 89

    Cake baskets, Sheffield plated, 165

    Candelabra--
      and candlesticks, 79-131
      old silver, London makers of, 274

    Candelabrum, the--
      its varieties, 90
      the tri-form, 115

    Candlestick--
      the chamber, 119
      the table, 120

    Candlesticks--
      early types, 81
      from eighteenth century Pattern Books, 74, 86, 89
      old silver, London makers of, 274
      Sheffield plated, their price, 269

    Carteret's "Drunken Administration," 48

    Centrepiece, the, 245

    Centrepieces, old silver, London makers of, 274

    Chair-backs, a test to apply to their beauty, 109

    Chester hall marks on silver plate, 277

    Chester--Liverpool, and Birmingham silversmiths' work assayed at, 278

    China factories, Derby and Worcester, origin of, 49

    Chippendale chair-backs, the test of their beauty, 109

    Christie's, price of Sheffield plated candlesticks sold at, 269

    Close plating, 261

    Coasters (decanter stands), 166

    Coffee pots, 206

    Coffee pots, old silver, London makers of, 274

    Contemporary silver designs in Sheffield plated period, 274, 278, 281, 282

    Continental trade, Sheffield platers and, 154

    Copyists of old masters, 21

    Cream jugs, old silver, London makers of, 274


    Danger of public clamour for marks, 293

    Date of examples, Sheffield plated, absence of proof of, 289

    Death penalties for tampering with silver plate, Geo. III (1815), 48

    Decanter stands, 166

    Decadence in design, in candlesticks, 126

    Design Book, Sheffield Plate, eighteenth century, 139

    Designer, the, his greatest asset, what to omit, 109

    Destruction of old Sheffield plate, 253

    Die work in Sheffield plating, 82

    Dies, destruction of old Sheffield plate, 250

    Dinner table, passing of the, 254

    Dish rings, Sheffield plated, 177

    Drunken habits of eighteenth century, 189

    Duties on silver, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, 48


    Economic substitution, 22

    Electro plating, its invention, 290

    Empire style candelabrum, 116

    English craftsmanship, imitativeness of, 27

    English porcelain factories, origin of Derby and Worcester, 49

    Engraving, not an imitative art, 28

    Engravings, when printed in colours, imitative art, 28

    Epigram by Porson on Pitt, 189
     on weight in plate, 202

    European imitativeness, 25

    Exeter hall marks on silver plate, 277


    Factory system, the, 268

    Fashion of buckles, decline of the, 263

    Foreign policy, Carteret's pronouncement on his, 48

    Foreign silver plating in Sheffield style, 290

    Fraud by silversmiths, penalties against, 35

    French--
      marks on silver-plated ware, 290
      plating, an early process, 39
      plated ware, regulations regarding, 209


    Garrick, David, his revival of Shakespeare, 50

    Gas introduced to light Abbotsford, 116

    George IV and the fashion of buckles, 263

    German silver and other white metals, 267

    Gin bottle covered with bead work, 26

    Glass designs imitate silver, 35

    Glass, Venetian, copied in Germany, 25

    Goltzins simulates prints of old masters, 20

    Grease pans, their indication of date, 99

    Guido picture fabricated by Mignard, 20


    Hall marks on old silver, illustrated, 275, 279, 283

    Hancock, Joseph (Sheffield), his share in developing silver
                                                    plating, 61

    Herculaneum--
      design from, 116
      influence of art of, 116

    Hogarth, "the Scottish," David Allan, 21


    Imitativeness, European, 25

    Imitation--
      as a fine art, 19
      of hall marks by Sheffield platers, 289, 290
      decadence of wood engraving, 41

    Imitations of Sheffield plate, 158

    Inkstands, 181

    Invention of silver plating by fusion, 45

    Ireland, silver plating by fusion carried on in, 71

    Irish dish or potato rings, 177

    Irish Government offers premium (1783) for plated ware made
       in Ireland, 71

    Irish hall marks on silver plate, 281, 282

    Irish plated skewer marked "Sly," 262


    Jackson, John, copyist of Reynolds, 21

    Jugs, hot water, 227


    Kettles, tea, 205

    Knick-knacks, a world of (eighteenth century), 54

    Knife handle of stamped Sheffield plate, 50


    Lamb, Charles, quoted, 136

    Liverpool silversmiths' work assayed at Chester, 278

    Liverseege, Henry, copyist of Vandyck, 21

    London, silver plating carried on at, 68

    Louis XIV--
      orders silver plate to be melted, 23
      his extravagant use of silver plate, 23

    Marks--
      on French cabinet work, 237
      on porcelain, 232
      on Sheffield plate, 62, 63, 231;
        (illustrated), 286-293
      (Sheffield plate) fear of platers to stamp any, 64, 67
      on Sheffield plate resembling silver marks, 62, 63
      on silver, position of, 273

    Melting down of old Sheffield plate, 253

    Mignard fabricates a Guido picture, 20

    Missionary-fostered art, 26

    Mustard pot, the, 148


    Newcastle-upon-Tyne--
      hall marks on silver plate, 277
      silversmiths at, 278

    Nottingham, silver plated ware made at, 68

    Nozzles, removable, their indication of date, 96


    Old masters, drawings of, copied by David Allan, 21

    Old masters, prints of, simulated by Goltzins, 20

    Original silver plate design copied by platers, 143

    Ornament--
      spiral, its abuse, 106
      useless, failure of, 110


    Parliamentary Committee on conduct of assay offices (1773), 63

    Parsons and Co., Pattern Book, 181

    Patch boxes, Sheffield plated, 54

    Pattern Books, eighteenth century, silver platers', 74, 86, 89, 139

    Penalties--
      counterfeiting Duty Mark (1815) punishable by death, 48
      for fraud in old plate, 36, 62, 63
      for wrongly stamping Sheffield plate, 67

    Petition of the buckle makers, the, 264

    Pinchbeck, Christopher, and his imitations, 54

    Pipe lighter--
      Sheffield plate, 241
      illustrated, 239

    Pitt, epigrams by Porson on, 189

    Plating, silver--
      early, 35
      pre-fusion period, 35, 39
      process described, 58
      used fraudulently, 35

    Pompeii, influence of art of, 116

    Poor relations and their foibles, 136

    Porcelain factories, Derby and Worcester, origin of, 49

    Potato rings, Sheffield plated, 177

    Potters, copy of silversmiths' designs by, 28, 31

    Pottery, French, supplants silver plate, 24

    Pounce pot, the, and its use, 182

    Prince of Wales's feathers used in design, 153

    Process of Sheffield silver plating described, 58


    Rise in value of old Sheffield plate, 269

    Romney picture of _Serena_ (Miss Sneyd), 119

    Ruskin and copies of Turner drawings, 22


   "Salt, below the," its meaning, 136

    Salt cellar, the, 135
     the new style, 147

    Sauce boats, old silver, London makers of, 274

    Scott, Sir Walter, his introduction of gas at Abbotsford, 116

    Scottish hall marks on silver plate, 281

    Seams a test of genuineness in Sheffield plate, 293

    Sevrès porcelain makers' marks, 232

    Shakespeare neglected by Addison and Steele, 51
      revival of study of, 50

    Sheffield--
      Assay Office, institution of, 40, 41
      hall marks on silver plate, 277
      origin of silver plating at, 39

    Sheffield plate--
      old, destruction of, 253
      wonderful technique of, 161

    Sheffield platers--
      as to their originality, 143
      deterred from placing any marks, 64, 67

    Sheffield silver plate, makers of, eighteenth century, 278

    Sheffield, silver plating process described, 58

    Silver--
      duties in eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, 48
      price of, in eighteenth century, 47
      lustre ware imitates silver plate, 35
      marks, simulation of, by marks on Sheffield plate, 62, 63
      plate designs copied by platers, 143
      plate made at Sheffield assayed in London, 63
      plate, value of hall marks on, 274
      plating at Sheffield, origin of, 39
      plating by fusion, its invention, 45
      plating, early, 35
      plating, the great period, 73

    Silversmiths--
      copy of potters' designs by, 28, 31
      list of late eighteenth century, 77
      (London) who influenced Sheffield platers, 274

    Simulation in art, 25, 28

    Smith, J. R., engraving of _Serena_ after Romney, 119

    Spiral forms in candelabra, 100

    _Spectator_, advertisement in (1712), 140

    Spurious candelabra and their errors, 95

    Steele, Richard, omits Shakespeare from list of great poets, 51

    Steel toys, the, of Sheffield, 140

    Sugar basin, the, 210
     basins, old silver, London makers of, 274

    Supper table, the, 238


    Taper holders, 181

    Tea and coffee sets, 201

    Tea caddies and their makers, 196

    Tea kettles, 205

    Teapots, 189
     old silver, London makers of, 274

    Tea urn, the, 202

    Technique, wonderful, of Sheffield plate, 161

    Tinder boxes, Sheffield plated, 286

    Toasted cheese dishes, old silver, London makers of, 274

    Trencher salts, their use, 147

    Tureens--
     old silver, London makers of, 274
     soup, 220

    Turner drawings, facsimiles of, 22

    Tutenag, an alloy of antimony and zinc, 267


    Urn, the tea, 202

    Utility the true test of ornament, 110


    Value of old Sheffield plate, 269


    Ward, his replicas of Turner drawings, 22

    Wedgwood, Josiah--
     shell-forms, adoption of, 31
     carved wood models, use of, 31
     indebted to metal-workers of Sheffield, 32

    White metals, German silver, etc., 267

    Wine coolers, old silver, London makers of, 274

    Wine labels, Sheffield plated, 53

    Wood engraving, decadence of, 41

    Worcester china, workmen's marks on, 289


    York, silversmiths at, 278


                     _Printed in Great Britain by_

              UNWIN BROTHERS, LIMITED, LONDON AND WOKING

UNWIN'S "CHATS" SERIES

LIST OF VOLUMES


 =Chats on English China.= By ARTHUR HAYDEN. Illustrated
 with reproductions of 156 marks and 89 specimens of china. Cloth, 9s.
 net.                                                Tenth Impression.

This is the standard work on the subject. The volume will enable the
possessors of old china to determine the factories at which their ware
was produced.

   "It gives in a few chapters just what the beginner wants to know
   about the principal varieties of English ware. We can warmly
   commend the book to the china collector."     _Pall Mall Gazette._

   "So simply yet so thoroughly written, that it is a sage guide to
                 the veriest tyro in china collecting."    _Bookman._

 =Chats on Old Furniture.= By ARTHUR HAYDEN. With a
 coloured frontispiece and 104 other Illustrations. Cloth, 9s. net.
 Fourth Edition.                                   Twelfth Impression.

   "The hints to collectors are the best and clearest we have seen; so
   that altogether this is a model book of its kind."      _Athenæum._

   "A fully illustrated practical guide for collectors."  _The Times._

   "Mr. Hayden has worked at his subject on systematic lines, and has
   made his book what it purports to be--a practical guide for the
   collector."                                  _The Saturday Review._

 =Chats on Old Prints.= How to Collect and Identify. By ARTHUR
 HAYDEN. With a coloured frontispiece and 72 full-page plates.
 Cloth, 9s. net.                                    Seventh Impression.

Every branch of the subject is carefully and explicitly handled in
this book, and valuable information as to technical processes and
identification of prints is given.

   "If there is a better book of its kind on print collecting we have
   not yet come across it."                          _Daily Graphic._

   "A very useful handbook for beginners, intended to help any reader
   of artistic tastes, but very moderate means, to collect to good
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 =Chats on Costume.= By G. WOOLLISCROFT RHEAD, R.E. With a
 coloured frontispiece and 117 other Illustrations. Cloth, 9s. net.
                                                       Second Impression.

A practical guide to historic dress. "Clothes" is a subject that has
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those who desire to repair that neglect by forming a collection.

   "A book that is at once the work of an authority on the subject of
   costumes, and one that helps to enlarge our range of selection."
                                                   _Pall Mall Gazette._

 =Chats on Old Miniatures.= By J. J. FOSTER, F.S.A. With a
 coloured frontispiece and 116 other Illustrations. Cloth, 9s. net.
                                                      Second Impression.

This book presents in a concise and popular form a variety of valuable
information on the collection and preservation of miniatures, on the
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   "Mr. Foster is truly a guide, philosopher and friend. He tells us
   not only how to judge and how to buy miniatures, but how to take
   proper care of them.... The splendid photographs by which the book is
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                                                 _Aberdeen Free Press._

 =Chats on Old Lace and Needlework.= By MRS. LOWES. With a
 frontispiece and 74 other Illustrations. Cloth, 9s. net.
                                                       Third Impression.

Written by an expert and enthusiast in these most interesting branches
of art. The low price at which the work is issued is exceptional in
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technical knowledge displayed and the many photographic illustrations
which practically interleave the book.

   "In commendable, clear and concise style Mrs. Lowes explains the
   technical features distinguishing each example, making the book the
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   Jour._

 =Chats on Oriental China.= By J. F. BLACKER. With a
 coloured frontispiece and 70 other Illustrations. Cloth, 9s. net.
                                                       Fifth Impression.

Will be of the utmost service to collectors and to all who may have
old Chinese and Japanese porcelain in their possession. It deals with
oriental china from the various standpoints of history, technique,
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reproductions.

   "A treatise that is so informing and comprehensive that it commands
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                                                  _Pall Mall Gazette._

 =Chats on English Earthenware.= A companion volume to "Chats
 on English China." By ARTHUR HAYDEN. With a coloured
 frontispiece, 150 Illustrations and tables of over 200 illustrated
 marks.                                                          Cloth,
 9s. net.                                            Fourth Impression.

   "To the ever-increasing number of collectors who are taking an
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                                                    _Hearth and Home._

   "Here we have a handbook, written by a well-known authority, which
   gives in the concisest possible form all the information that the
   beginner in earthenware collecting is likely to need. Moreover,
   it contains one or two features that are not usually found in the
   multifarious 'guides' that are produced to-day."          _Nation._

 =Chats on Autographs.= By A. M. BROADLEY. With 130
 Illustrations.                                         Cloth, 9s. net.

   "Being an expert collector, Mr. Broadley not only discourses on the
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   "It is assuredly the best work of the kind yet given to the public;
   and supplies the intending collector with the various sources of
   information necessary to his equipment."       _Manchester Guardian._

 =Chats on Old Pewter.= By H. J. L. J. MASSÉ, M.A. With 52
 half-tone and numerous other Illustrations. Cloth, 9s. net.
                                                       Third Impression.

   "It is a remarkably thorough and well-arranged guide to the subject,
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   "Before setting out to collect old pewter it would be as well to read
   Mr. Massé's book, which is exhaustive in its information and its lists
   of pewterers, analytical index, and historical and technical
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 =Chats on Postage Stamps.= By FRED J. MELVILLE. With 57
 half-tone and 17 line Illustrations. Cloth, 9s. net.
                                                      Second Impression.

   "The whole book, with its numerous illustrations of excellent quality,
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 =Chats on Old Jewellery and Trinkets.= By MACIVER PERCIVAL. With nearly
 300 Illustrations. Cloth, 9s. net.

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                                             _Illustrated London News._

 =Chats on Cottage and Farmhouse Furniture.= A companion volume to
 "Chats on Old Furniture." By ARTHUR HAYDEN. With a coloured
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                                                       Third Impression.

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   "Mr. Hayden writes lucidly and is careful and accurate in his
   statements; while the advice he gives to collectors is both sound and
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 =Chats on Old Coins.= By FRED W. BURGESS. With a coloured
 frontispiece and 258 other Illustrations. Cloth, 9s. net.
                                                      Second Impression.

   "A most useful and instructive book... will prove a boon to the
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   "The author has not only produced 'a practical guide for the
   collector' but a handy book of reference for all. The volume is
   wonderfully cheap."                             _Notes and Queries._

 =Chats on Old Copper and Brass.= By FRED W. BURGESS. With
 a coloured frontispiece and 86 other Illustrations.     Cloth, 9s. net.

   "Mr. F. W. Burgess is an expert on old copper and bronze, and in
   his book there is little information lacking which the most ardent
   collector might want."                               _The Observer._

   "Italian bronzes, African charms, Chinese and Japanese enamels, bells,
   mortars, Indian idols, dials, candlesticks, and snuff boxes, all come
   in for their share of attention, and the reader who has mastered Mr.
   Burgess's pages can face his rival in the auction-room or the dealer
   in his shop with little fear of suffering by the transaction."
                                                          _The Nation._

 =Chats on Household Curios.= By FRED W. BURGESS. With 94
 Illustrations.                                          Cloth, 9s. net.

   "Mr. Burgess gives much information about such attractive antiques
   as old glass and enamels, old leather work, old clocks and watches,
   old pipes, old seals, musical instruments, and even old samplers and
   children's toys. The book is, in short, an excellent and comprehensive
   guide for what one may call the general collector, that is, the
   collector who does not confine himself to one class of antique, but
   buys whatever he comes across in the curio line, provided that it is
   interesting and at moderate price."            _Aberdeen Free Press._

 =Chats on Japanese Prints.= By ARTHUR DAVISON FICKE. With
 a coloured frontispiece and 56 Illustrations.
 Cloth, 9s. net.                                       Fourth Impression.

   "Mr. Ficke writes with the knowledge of the expert, and his history
   of Japanese printing from very early times and his criticism of the
   artists' work are wonderfully interesting."                 _Tatler._

   "This is one of the most delightful and notable members of an
   attractive series.... A beginner who shall have mastered and made
   thoroughly his own the beauty of line and the various subtlety and
   boldness of linear composition displayed in these sixty and odd
   photographs will have no mean foundation for further study."--_Notes
   and Queries._

 =Chats on Old Clocks.= By ARTHUR HAYDEN. With a
 frontispiece and 80 Illustrations. 2nd Ed. Cloth, 9s. net.

   "A practical handbook dealing with the examples of old clocks likely
   to come under the observation of the collector. Charmingly written and
   illustrated."                                               _Outlook._

   "One specially useful feature of the work is the prominence Mr. Hayden
   has given to the makers of clocks, dealing not only with those of
   London, but also those of the leading provincial towns. The lists
   he gives of the latter are highly valuable, as they are not to be
   found in any similar book. The volume is, as usual with this series,
   profusely illustrated, and may be recommended as a highly interesting
   and useful general guide to collectors of clocks."
                                                     _The Connoisseur._

 =Chats on Old Silver.= By ARTHUR HAYDEN. With a
 frontispiece, 99 full-page Illustrations, and illustrated table of
 marks.                                Cloth, 9s. net. Fourth Impression.

   "Mr. Hayden's 'Chats on Old Silver' deals very thoroughly with
   a popular branch of collecting. There are a hundred full-page
   illustrations together with illustrated tables and charts, and the
   student of this book can wander round the old curiosity shops of these
   islands with a valuable equipment of knowledge.... Altogether we have
   here a well-written summary of everything that one could wish to know
   about this branch of collecting."                        _The Sphere._

   "The information it gives will be of exceptional value at this time,
   when so many families will be forced to part with their treasures--and
   old silver is among the most precious possessions of the present day."
                                                        _Morning Post._

 =Chats on Military Curios.= By STANLEY C. JOHNSON, M.A.,
 D.Sc. With a coloured frontispiece and 79 other Illustrations.
                                                         Cloth, 9s. net.

   "Mr. Johnson in this book describes many of the articles a collector
   should be on the look out for, giving short but informative notes on
   medals, helmet and cap badges, tunic buttons, armour, weapons of all
   kinds, medallions, autographs, original documents relating to Army
   work, military pictures and prints, newspaper cuttings, obsolete
   uniforms, crests, stamps, postmarks, memorial brasses, money and
   curios made by prisoners of war, while there is also an excellent
   biography on the subject. The author has, indeed, presented the reader
   with a capital working handbook, which should prove a friendly and
   reliable guide when he goes collecting."                     _Field._

 =Chats on Royal Copenhagen Porcelain.= By ARTHUR HAYDEN.
 With a frontispiece, 56 full-page Illustrations and illustrated tables
 of marks.                                                Cloth, 9s. net.

   "This very beautiful and very valuable book will be eagerly welcomed
   by lovers of porcelain.... Mr. Hayden describes with great skill and
   preciseness all the quality and beauty of technique in which this
   porcelain excels; he loves it and understands it, and the examples
   he has chosen as illustrations are a valuable supplement to his
   descriptions."                                             _Bookman._

 =Chats on Old Sheffield Plate.= By ARTHUR HAYDEN. With
 frontispiece and 58 full-page Illustrations, together with makers'
 marks.                                                   Cloth, 9s. net.

   Old plated ware has, by reason of its artistic excellence and its
   technique, deservedly won favour with collectors. The art of making
   plated ware, which originated at Sheffield (hence the name of
   "Sheffield plate"), was continued at Birmingham and London, where a
   considerable amount of "old Sheffield plate" was made, in the manner
   of its first inventors, by welding sheets of silver upon copper.
   The manufacture lasted roughly a hundred years. Its best period was
   from 1776 (American Declaration of Independence) to 1830 (Accession
   of William IV). The author shows reasons why this old Sheffield
   plate should be collected, and the volume is illustrated with many
   examples giving various styles and the development of the art,
   together with makers' marks. Candlesticks and candelabra, tea-caddies,
   sugar-baskets, salt-cellars, teapots, coffee-pots, salvers, spoons,
   and many other articles shown and described in the volume indicate
   the exquisite craftsmanship of the best period. The work stands as a
   companion volume to the author's "Chats on Old Silver," the standard
   practical guide to old English silver collecting.


T. FISHER UNWIN LTD. 1 ADELPHI TERRACE, LONDON, W.C. 2



Transcriber's Notes:

1. Italics are shown with _text_ and bold print is shown with =text=.





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