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Title: Chats on Old Silver
Author: Hayden, Arthur
Language: English
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_With Frontispieces and many Illustrations._



  (How to collect and value Old Engravings.)


    By E. L. LOWES.

    By J. F. BLACKER.

    By J. J. FOSTER, F.S.A.

  (Companion volume to “Chats on English China.”)

    By A. M. BROADLEY.

    By H. J. L. J. MASSÉ M.A.



  (Companion volume to “Chats on Old Furniture.”)









  (Companion volume to “Chats on Old Silver.”)



  With Frontispiece and 72 Full page Illustrations.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[Illustration: COFFEE-POT.


Maker, Peter Archambo.









    _First published          1915_
    _Second Impression        1917_
    _Third Impression         1919_
    _Fourth Impression        1922_
    _Fifth Impression         1925_

(_All rights reserved_)



The study of old silver usually begins when the inquiring possessor of
family plate sets himself the task of ascertaining the date and the
probable value of some piece long in his family and possibly lately
bequeathed to him.

With old china, and probably with old furniture, the taste for
collecting is oftentimes an acquired one, but it is in the Englishman’s
blood to ruminate over his old plate, and the hall-marks of the assay
offices in London and in the provinces, in Scotland and in Ireland,
have been placed thereon with aforethought. The plate closet is cousin
to the strong-box, inasmuch as the coin of the realm and gold and
silver plate have been subjected to stringent laws extending over
a period of five hundred years. The technical word “hall-mark” has
become a common term in the language synonymous with genuineness.
The strictest supervision, under the parental eye of the law, has
upheld the dignity of the silversmiths guarantees. Hence the pride of
possession of old silver. Pictures and furniture and engravings whose
ancestry is doubtful thrust themselves in the market without fear
of the watchful official eye. But old silver bearing the hall-marks
of ancient and honourable guilds of silversmiths, stamped at the
accredited assay offices, is, with few exceptions, what it purports to
be. It is a proud record and a splendid heritage.

In dealing with the subject of old silver in a volume of this size
sufficient details have been given to enable the collector to identify
his silver if it be in the main stream of silversmiths’ work. On the
whole, except where it is necessary in certain fields to illustrate
the only examples, sumptuous specimens have been avoided in the
illustrations as being outside the scope of this volume and the public
to whom it is intended to appeal.

The collector of old silver must have a pretty taste and a fine
judgment. It is not an absolute law that age determines beauty.
Hall-marks, though they denote date, do not guarantee excellence
of design. Everything that bears the hall-mark of the Goldsmiths’
Hall of London is not beautiful, whether it be old or whether it be
new. The connoisseur must digest the fact that the assay marks of
the lion, the leopard’s head, the date-mark, and the rest, are so
many official symbols, accurate as to date and sufficient guarantee
as to the standard of the metal, but meaningless in regard to the
art of the piece on which they stand. The assay offices are merely
stamping machines. What Somerset House is to legal documents so the
assay offices are to silver and gold plate, and nothing more. Hence
the necessity of placing such mechanical control under Government

The excellence of a piece of plate is governed by the same laws which
control all other branches of decorative art.

Rarity is a factor not especially treated in this volume. Rare
specimens are not necessarily beautiful even though they be unique.

In covering so wide a field in so small a volume, much has had to be
omitted. There are many volumes on old English silver plate, but in
regard to research, the work of Mr. C. J. Jackson, “English Goldsmiths
and their Marks,” with over eleven thousand marks, stands alone and
supplants all other volumes. Every collector must regard this work as
the bible of silver-plate collecting.

I have given sufficient space to marks in the present volume to
indicate those used by the London and other assay offices. Some marks
are given which do not appear elsewhere, and the arrangement of the
tables should enable the beginner to come to a definite conclusion as
to the date of his silver. In especial, the Table of variations in
the shapes of shields in the hall-mark and standard-mark employed at
the London Assay Office from the accession of Queen Elizabeth to the
present day, is a feature not before given in so concise a form in any
other volume.

The marks on silver are stamped, the design thus appears in relief,
while the edges of the shield on which it appears are sunk. The
reproduction of this has offered a difficulty in illustration in
all volumes on old silver. To print black letters or designs on a
white background, although easy, is unsatisfactory. On the contrary,
to print the raised design in white on a dead black background is
not a realistic presentation of the mark as it appears to the eye.
After many experiments I have reproduced the marks in a manner more
closely approaching their actual appearance, and less suggestive of
black-and-white designs on paper.

I have to express my thanks for the kind assistance I have received
in regard to photographs and wax casts and drawings of marks, and
for permission to include them in this volume as illustrations, to
the following: the authorities of the Victoria and Albert Museum,
the British Museum, and the Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh. By the
courtesy of the Worshipful Company of Clothworkers and the Worshipful
Company of Mercers I am enabled to reproduce some fine examples from
their Halls. To Lord Dillon I am indebted for his courtesy in allowing
the inclusion of an interesting example in his possession.

Messrs. Crichton Brothers have afforded me access to their records,
including the use of copyright photographs of specimens which have
passed through their hands, and courteous assistance in reproducing
examples in their possession. Messrs. Elkington & Co., and Messrs.
Garrard & Co., have similarly extended to me their practical aid;
Messrs. John Ellett Lake & Son, of Exeter, have enabled me to do
justice to the art of the Exeter silversmith, and Messrs. Harris and
Sinclair, of Dublin, have enriched my chapter on Irish silver. I have
also to acknowledge the kindness of Messrs. Carrington & Co. for the
_Frontispiece_ and for the fine design of an Irish Dish Ring shown on
the cover. Mr. A. E. Smith, my photographer, has given exceptional care
in obtaining good results.

It is, therefore, my hope that this volume will stand as an
authoritative outline history of the subject of which it treats,
that it may point the way to possessors of old silver to arrive at
sound conclusions as to their heirlooms, and that it may indicate to
collectors the salient features of their hobby.


_January 1915._



PREFACE                                                               11

    LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS                                             19


    THE MARKS STAMPED UPON SILVER                                     23


    ECCLESIASTICAL PLATE                                              65


        THE BEAKER, THE WINE CUP                                      83


    THE SALT CELLAR                                                  139


    THE SPOON                                                        177


    THE POSSET-POT, THE PORRINGER                                    195


    THE CANDLESTICK                                                  221


    THE TEAPOT, THE COFFEE-POT, THE TEA-CADDY                        239




    THE CREAM-JUG                                                    299


    SCOTTISH SILVER                                                  311


    IRISH SILVER                                                     329

    LONDON (1598-1835)                                               347

        (ELIZABETH TO GEORGE V)                                      357

        SCOTTISH, AND IRISH                                          359

INDEX                                                                411


George II Coffee Pot, 1741. Maker, Peter Archambo.        _Frontispiece_



    Elizabethan Chalices                                              67
    Elizabethan Chalice; Charles I Chalice                            71
    Charles II Cup; William III Flagons                               75
    Charles II and Queen Anne Patens                                  79
    George II Communion Cup                                           81


    Mazer, with inscription dated Exeter, 1490                        87
    The Leigh Cup and Cover, 1499                                     91
    Cup and Cover, 1585                                               95
    Stoneware Jug with Silver Cover and Foot, 1570                    95
    The Samuel Pepys Standing Cup and Cover, 1677                     99
    Flagon, 1572; Flagon, 1599                                       105
    Tankards, Charles II, 1679, and William III, 1701                111
    Charles II Tankards, York, 1684                                  111
    Queen Anne Tankard, Exeter, 1705                                 115
    Mug, 1733, and Tankard, 1748, Exeter                             117
    Beakers: James I, 1606; Charles I, 1631; Charles II, 1671        121
    James I Wine Cup                                                 125
    Stuart Wine Cups; Seventeenth-century Candlestick                129
    “Monteith” Punch-bowl, 1704                                      135


    Hour-glass Standing Salt Cellar, 1500                            143
    Bell-shaped Salt Cellar, 1601                                    147
    Circular Salt Cellar, 1638                                       151
    Octagonal Salt Cellar, 1679, “The Sumner Salt”                   155
    Lambeth Delft and Rouen faience Salt Cellars                     161
    Group of Small Circular Salts, Queen Anne, George II, and
        George III                                                   165
    Salts with Glass Liner, George III                               167
    Group of Oblong Salts with three feet, George III                167
    Group of Salt Cellars, George III, showing transition            171
    Group of Salt Cellars, George III, George IV, and William IV     173


    Seventeenth-century Spoons                                       181
    Seventeenth and Eighteenth-century Spoons                        185
    Seventeenth and Eighteenth-century Spoons                        189


    Commonwealth Porringer, 1653                                     197
    Charles II Posset-pot and Cover, 1662;
        Porringer, Silver-gilt, 1669                                 197
    Charles II Porringer, 1666                                       201
    Charles II Posset-cup and Cover, 1679                            201
    Posset-pot and Cover, 1683                                       205
    Charles II Porringer, 1672                                       209
    Queen Anne Porringer, Exeter, 1707                               209
    James II Posset-cup and Cover, 1685                              213
    Staffordshire Earthenware Posset-cup, dated 1685                 213
    Plum Broth Dish and Ladle, 1697                                  217


    Charles I Candlestick, 1637                                      223
    Lambeth Delft Candlestick, dated 1648                            223
    Charles II Candlesticks, 1673                                    227
    Snuffers and Tray, 1682                                          231
    Candlesticks Queen Anne, 1704, 1706; George I, 1721              231
    Candlestick, Sheffield, 1782                                     235


    Coffee-pot, Newcastle, 1737                                      243
    Teapot (Honourable East India Company), 1670                     243
    Teapot, 1745                                                     247
    Kettle, with Stand and Spirit-lamp, 1746                         251
    Group of Coffee-pots and Teapots                                 255
    Tea-caddies, Exeter, 1718; London, 1730                          259
    George III Tea-caddies                                           259
    Pair of Tea-caddies and Sugar-box, 1760                          263


    William III and Queen Anne Casters, 1701 and 1712                269
    George II Caster, Exeter, 1728                                   273
    Group of Casters, William III, George II, and George III         277
    Centre-piece, 1761                                               279
    Centre-piece, 1775                                               279
    Sugar-bowl, Classic Style, 1773                                  283
    Sugar-bowl, Pierced Work with Glass Liners (late
        Eighteenth Century)                                          285
    Cream-pails, 1776, 1782                                          285
    Bread-baskets, 1745 to 1775                                      289
    Cake-basket, 1761; Wedgwood Cake-basket                          291
    Wedgwood Earthenware Dessert-baskets                             295


    Jug, Paul de Lamerie, 1736                                       301
    Group of Cream-jugs, George I and George III                     305
    Group of Cream-jugs, late George III                             309


    Scottish Quaich, Edinburgh, 1705                                 313
    Mug, Edinburgh, 1790                                             313
    Sugar-caster, Edinburgh, 1746                                    317
    Coffee-pot, Edinburgh, 1769                                      321
    Tea-urn, Edinburgh, 1778                                         325


    Caster, Dublin (George Lyng), 1699                               331
    Loving-cup, with harp handles, Cork, 1694                        331
    Centre-piece, Dublin, 1740                                       335
    Cream-jug, signed by Jonathan Buck, Cork, 1764                   339
    Cream-jug, Dublin, 1740                                          339
    Cream-pail, Dublin, 1770                                         343


    Alphabets of Date Letters used at London Assay Office        347-355
    Table showing variations in Hall and Standard Marks              357
    Series of Examples of London Assay Marks                     359-385
    Series of Examples of Provincial Assay Marks                 387-399
    Series of Examples of Scottish and Irish Assay Marks         401-409




     APPENDIX TO CHAPTER (pp. 347-409)
     Illustrations of typical Marks



  I. =The Hall-mark.= Its significance--The hall-mark compulsory by
      law--Various hall-marks.--II. =The Standard Mark.= The silver
      standards--The Lion _passant_ (England), the Thistle (Scotland),
      and the Harp (Ireland).--III. =The Date Mark.= The alphabets
      used by the various assay offices.--IV. =The Maker’s Mark.=
      Initials of surname--Later usage, determined by law, initials
      of Christian and surnames.--V. =The Higher Standard Mark.= The
      lion’s head erased and the figure of Britannia (compulsory from
      1697 to 1720, optional afterwards).--VI. =The Duty Mark.= The
      reigning sovereign’s head from George III to Victoria (1784 to
      1890).--VII. =The Foreign Mark.= Foreign silver plate assayed in
      the United Kingdom to bear an additional mark.


This is the mark stamped upon gold or silver plate by a recognized
guild, and signifies that the object so stamped has successfully passed
the assay applied to it to determine its quality. British hall-marks
possess a reputation which they undoubtedly deserve. “In this country
the system has existed substantially in its present form since the
reign of Edward I.”[1] In this reign, under statutory authority, it
was laid down that all silver made in England was to be as good as
the silver coin or better, and provincial silversmiths (one from each
centre) were to proceed to London to have their work assayed and have
the mark of the leopard’s head stamped upon it. For six centuries the
hall-mark of the wardens of the “Mistery of Goldsmiths” of the city of
London has stood as a guarantee of value, and is intended to afford
sufficient protection to the purchaser.

This hall-mark, or town mark as it came to be known later, denotes the
place where the assay was made. It was struck on all such articles as
would bear the “Touch”; this is the technical term synonymous with
assaying. As will be seen subsequently, the hall-mark does not stand
alone. Very early it was deemed expedient to stamp some further mark,
which should denote the date when the piece was actually assayed at the
hall or assay office.

This second assay mark, or warden’s mark, is known as the date letter.

The Company of Goldsmiths in London, incorporated by charter in 1327,
possessed plenary powers which they exercised with considerable rigour.
They framed stringent regulations determining trade customs, they kept
a watchful eye on recalcitrant members who showed any tendency to lower
the dignity of the craft, and they punished with severity all those who
counterfeited the official marks of the hall.

This dominance over the everyday transactions of the worker in plate
was supported by a series of Acts of Parliament extending over a
lengthy period. They are highly technical, and the study of hall-marks
is of a complex nature, and adds no inconsiderable task to the hobby
of collecting old silver. In the main it will be seen that the power
at first exclusively conferred on the London Goldsmiths’ Company, and
afterwards distributed to various assay offices in the United Kingdom,
has been kept under due subjection by the Crown and by parliamentary
legislation. There is no trade more protected by Acts of Parliament
governing the details of its procedure. The fashioning of gold and
silver plate being so intimately related to questions of currency and
affecting the coin of the realm, it is not surprising to find that
the tendency of legislation has been to relieve the old guilds of
much of their former power. We find that one of the recommendations
of the Select Committee of the House of Commons on hall-marking, in
1879, was that the whole of the assay offices should be placed under
the supervision of the Royal Mint, in order that a uniform standard of
quality should be guaranteed.

We have seen that the London assay office is the _doyen_ of assay
offices. At first, plate, although wrought elsewhere, had to bear the
London hall-mark of the leopard’s head. Seven cities were appointed, by
a statute of Henry VI in 1423, to exercise the right of assaying plate,
viz. Salisbury and Bristol for the West Country, Newcastle and York for
the North Country, Coventry for the Midlands, Lincoln and Norwich for
East Anglia, and London, of course, continued its functions.

Eighteenth Century Assay Offices

At the beginning of the eighteenth century three out of these seven,
Lincoln, Salisbury, and Coventry, had discontinued to assay silver, and
it was not thought necessary to reappoint them. In 1700 York, Bristol,
and Norwich were, in the reign of William III, reappointed for assaying
and marking wrought silver. By the same Act, 12 William, _cap._ 4,
two new assay offices were appointed, Exeter and Chester, and in the
beginning of the following reign by 1 Anne, _cap._ 9, Newcastle was
also reappointed. At the end of the eighteenth century, in 1773, two
additional assay offices were created at Birmingham and at Sheffield by
13 George III, _cap._ 52. London, during all this time had continued to
assay silver in unbroken continuity from the fourteenth century.

It has been estimated by those who have a large quantity of old silver
plate passing through their hands, that, in spite of the number of
provincial assay offices, over 90 per cent. of old English silver bears
the London hall-mark.

The Hall-marks of the Various Assay Offices

In the Appendix (pp. 347-409) are illustrations showing the various
hall-marks used at different periods by the wardens and assay masters
of the appointed cities. The following indicate the chief marks used.
=London= (the leopard’s head, sometimes like a king on a pack of cards,
and later, when uncrowned, like a tiger’s head). =Chester= (an upright
sword between three wheatsheaves). =Newcastle=, closed in 1884 (three
castles set in a shield, two over one, similar in arrangement to the
Chester wheatsheaves). =Exeter=, closed in 1883 (early mark letter X
with crown above. After 1701 three castles, sometimes joined together
as one castle with three towers, similar to Edinburgh mark). =Norwich=
(castle above with lion beneath; the castle is less like a castle than
any other of the castle marks). =York=, closed in 1856 (early mark
a fleur-de-lis, showing only half, the other half undecipherable,
conjectured by some authorities to be a rose, by others a leopard’s
head; this latter is now accepted as correct, and clearly shows in some
examples; later mark shield with cross of England and five lions).
=Birmingham= (an anchor), =Sheffield= (a crown), =Edinburgh= (a castle
with three towers). =Glasgow= (a tree with a bird perched on top, and a
tiny bell suspended from boughs, a fish transversely across the trunk).
=Dublin= (figure of Hibernia since 1730). Cork (ship and castle, two

The Varying Number of Marks Used

It is an interesting fact, and extremely puzzling to beginners in the
study of hall-marks, to find that the provincial offices used, in
addition to their own place-mark, the leopard’s head of the London
assay office. From 1697 to 1719 the leopard’s head disappears from all
silver, for the reason which is given in detail in Section V of this
chapter--“The Higher Standard Mark” (pp. 49-59). In its place two other
marks occur--the lion’s head erased and the figure of Britannia. These
were only used in London between the years 1697 and 1701, during which
five years provincial offices ceased to assay any silver. This is a
hiatus in provincial marks which the beginner should note. From 1701 to
1719 the provincial offices used their place-marks together with the
two new marks (the lion’s head erased and the figure of Britannia),
which were compulsory by law. This law was repealed in 1719 and
London reverted to the old style mark of the leopard’s head, so that
London-marked silver of 1720 is marked with the same number of marks as
that before the Act of 1697, that is four marks. But it appears that
the provinces for a long period did not revert to the old style of
marking. Newcastle, for instance, adds the leopard’s head from 1720 in
addition to her town mark; Exeter similarly took the leopard’s head in
1720. Chester also added another mark, the leopard’s head, at the same

The result of this is that before 1701 Chester had four marks,
sometimes only three, but after 1720 five were used; when the duty mark
was added (see p. 395) six marks were employed. The leopard’s head was
not discontinued till 1839, reducing the marks to five, and now, since
the abolition of the duty mark in 1890, there are only four. Exeter
had, with the use of the leopard’s head, five marks, but in 1748 the
leopard’s head had disappeared. Newcastle continued the leopard’s head
during the period of the duty mark, thus making six marks, till the
closing of the office in 1884.


Throughout the history of the manufacture of English silver plate
the standard maintained has been always equal to that of the silver
coinage, and sometimes higher. The control of the standard has long
been in the hands of the State, and, it has already been shown,
the proving or assaying of all articles, in order that they may be
officially stamped as of sterling silver, was allocated to the wardens
and assay masters of the London and other assay offices. Obviously if
it had been permitted to manufacture silver plate at a lower standard
than the coin of the realm, the latter would have been melted down
to be made into plate at a profit. In order to regulate the uniform
procedure of the trade throughout the country the amount of alloy to
be added to silver was very clearly laid down by law. The standard for
silver has been in force for six hundred years, since the reign of
Henry II, viz. 11 oz. 2 dwts. of silver and 18 dwts. alloy in every
pound troy of plate; that is 925 parts of silver in every thousand
parts. From the year 1697 to 1720 the standard was fixed at 11 oz.
10 dwts. of silver to the pound troy, that is .958. This higher or
“Britannia” standard is described in Section V of this chapter (pp.
49-59). In regard to this new standard, that is a standard above the
sterling of the coin of the realm, special marks were used during the
above period and have been used since then to the present day whenever
silver plate is of the new standard. It was illegal to make silver
plate of less than this new standard during the period 1697 to 1720;
after this period there are two standards, the higher being optional.

Another period when silver plate was higher in standard than the silver
coin of the realm was during a portion of the reigns of Henry VIII,
the whole of the reign of Edward VI, and the whole of the reign of
Mary, until Elizabeth in the second year of her reign elevated the
debased coinage to its former standard of fineness. In 1543 Henry VIII
reduced the standard from 11 oz. 2 dwts. to 10 oz.; that is, ten parts
of silver to two parts of alloy. In 1545 he reduced it further to 6
oz. in the pound troy, that is half silver and half alloy. In 1546 he
made a still further reduction to 4 oz., so that silver coins of that
period contain only one third silver. In 1552 this was increased to
11 oz. 1 dwt., to be reduced to 11 oz. in Mary’s reign. During all
these changes the silver plate remained true to its old standard, and
as though in proud superiority over the coin of the realm, the London
Goldsmiths adopted in 1545 as a standard mark a new stamp--_the lion
passant_, which has been their standard mark from that day to the
present time, and has been recognized by many statutes since that time
as constituting the standard mark, or sterling mark of the State, or,
as it was termed at the time of Queen Elizabeth, “Her Majesty’s Lion.”

On two occasions, therefore, the silver plate of this country was of
finer quality than the coin of the realm: on the first when the coin
of the realm was debased, and on the second when silver plate was
compulsorily raised to a higher standard than the coin of the realm.

The lion _passant_, which is the standard mark, has naturally been
employed by provincial offices as a guarantee of sterling or standard
silver. During the period 1697 to 1720 the lion _passant_ disappears
from all silver in the “Britannia” standard period when other marks
were substituted. But in 1720 the lion _passant_ mark occurs again on
all London silver, and in Chester, Exeter, York, and Newcastle marks.
From 1773 both Sheffield and Birmingham have used the mark of the lion
_passant_. In regard to Scotland, the standard mark for Edinburgh,
after 1757, is a thistle, and for Glasgow a lion _rampant_ after 1819.
The Irish standard mark is a harp crowned from the year 1638, which
mark is on all Irish silver assayed at the Dublin office. From 1730
the figure of Hibernia has been the duty mark and the harp crowned the
standard mark on all Irish silver assayed at Dublin. These marks are
shown in Appendix (pp. 347-409).


Among the various marks used for the purposes we have indicated, the
date mark is one which has a vital significance. It establishes with
certainty the year in which a piece of silver was fashioned and taken
to the assay office to be stamped as sterling silver. The easiest
plan in regard to date marks would have been to stamp the actual date
upon each piece of silver or gold assayed, but this was too simple a
procedure for the “Mistery of the Goldsmiths.” They employed alphabets
of various styles and each year was represented by a different letter,
and to add further to the puzzling difficulty of deciphering these
symbols, certain letters were omitted. Moreover, each assay town
has its own series of date marks. Letters of the alphabet are used
sometimes from A to T, or A to U, or from A to Z; sometimes the letters
J and V are omitted, and in one case for a considerable period the
letters of the alphabet were used indiscriminately. Various kinds of
type were used and they appear in shields of differing shapes. The
study therefore of the date marks of the London assay office and of
the various provincial assay offices together with the date marks used
in Scotland and in Ireland is very intricate, and the determination
of these with exactitude might occupy a man the greater portion of
his life. The standard work on the subject is “English Goldsmiths and
their Marks,” by Mr. C. J. Jackson, which contains over eleven thousand
marks reproduced in facsimile. Mr. Jackson in the 1905 edition had
worked for seventeen years at this subject, and his labours have been
stupendous; a new edition shortly to appear will represent a quarter
of a century’s work. There is no other book on the subject within
measurable distance of this encyclopaedia.

It is obvious that in the present volume only a limited number of marks
can be illustrated, but the author has given typical examples covering
the London marks, which are the most important, and a few examples
from most of the provincial assay offices as well as from Scotland and
Ireland. These will be found in the Appendix (pp. 347-409).


The Goldsmiths’ Company of London has an honourable and ancient history
and must be regarded as the leading spirit in regard to hall-marks. It
is admitted that, from a public point of view, the hall-marks stamped
on silver by the various assay offices have a very definite meaning.
“Our hall-marks afford a guarantee of value to which, it is not to
be wondered at, considerable importance attaches, since these goods
may safely be regarded as an investment.” The true function of the
Goldsmiths’ Company is a protective one--protective in the interests
of honest traders, protective in the interests of public buyers. We
suggest that they might perform an educational service by throwing open
their assay office to public inspection. Neither the Royal Mint nor the
Bank of England may be said to be an inaccessible holy of holies. The
assaying of silver and gold is a process which affects the pocket of
the public to a large extent.

As custodians of historic archives of no insignificant value, there is
no reason why such records should not be as readily accessible to the
general student as are the papers in the Public Record Office which
divulge bygone State secrets. Possibly if the assaying were placed
under Government supervision, as has so often been strongly advocated,
these things might come to pass.

In regard to data undoubtedly the Goldsmiths’ Company can claim an
ancient record. They are proudly jealous of their reputation and
rightly anxious to guard the public interest. There is no doubt that
“the laws of hall-marking, scattered as they are over a multitude of
statutes, are highly technical, and not the least necessary reform is
their consolidation.” The Goldsmiths’ Company was once a trade guild,
but this is the twentieth century, and they exist solely in the public
interest. To-morrow they could be swept aside by an Act of Parliament,
and all silver could be assayed and stamped at the Royal Mint or by
Government assayers.

In regard to the date letters the London Assay Office has consistently,
with one exception, 1696, adhered to twenty letters in each alphabet,
that is from A to U (omitting J). But the provincial offices were
wofully erratic and exhibit a looseness and want of system in not
adhering to the same arrangement of alphabets in succeeding periods.
It is not necessary to follow these eccentricities in detail, a few
examples will suffice. Newcastle from 1702 to 1720 employed the
alphabet as follows:--A (1702), B (1703), D (1705), F (1707), M (1712),
O (1716), P (1717), Q (1718), D (1719), E (1720). Some of these were
used for more than one year. In the next two periods, 1721 to 1739
and 1740 to 1758, the alphabet ends at T. Later alphabets run to Z.
Chester employed an alphabet sometimes ending in X, sometimes in V, and
sometimes in U, and one series runs from A to Z (excluding J) from 1839
to 1863.

The result of the somewhat chaotic alphabet marks has been to focus
the attention of the collector too much on this particular side of the
subject. The identification of marks, the outward symbols of time and
place, have reduced the study of old silver to a somewhat lower plane
than it should occupy by right. It is proper that such determining
factors should have their place, but not the first place. There was a
time when china collectors ignored paste and glaze and laid particular
stress on marks, and it is a very happy accident that a great portion
of English porcelain and much of English earthenware is unmarked.
It has eventually led collectors to think for themselves and know
something more of the technique and to learn to appreciate the artistic
value of specimens of the potter’s art coming under their hand.

The collector of old silver, however, cannot hope to escape from
marks; they are an integral part of the subject, and coming as they
do under the strict surveillance of the law, they offer protection
to his investment and have the comforting assurance of gilt-edged
security. There is nothing of the subtle speculation as to exact
period which accompanies the acquisition of old furniture, nor is there
the same element of chance which governs the operations of the picture
collector. The hall-mark, the standard mark, the date mark, and the
maker’s mark stamped with mechanical precision proclaim “with damnable
iteration” the string of unalterable facts.

In regard to marks it is interesting to read what Mr. Octavius Morgan,
the pioneer of the study of hall-marks, says in 1852: “Every person who
is possessed of an article of gold or silver plate has most probably
observed a small group of marks stamped on some part of it. Few however
have, I believe, regarded them in any other light than as a proof that
the article so marked is made of the metal which it professes to be,
and that the metal itself is of a certain purity. And this is in fact
the real ultimate object and intention of these marks; but besides this
the archaeologist can deduce from them other important and interesting
information, as by them he can learn the precise year in which any
article bearing these marks was made. It is therefore to these marks
that I am about to direct attention with a view to elucidate their
history and peculiar meaning.” To Mr. Morgan’s labours in an unknown
field all subsequent writers on hall-marks are indebted. He was the
first collector who realized their importance. It seems amazing that up
to 1852 nothing appears to have been known to the intelligent layman
or the public at large of these symbols which had appeared on plate
for some six hundred years. It suggests the idea that the marking
was regarded in the nature of a trade secret. The “mistery” of the
Goldsmiths’ Company was not to be profaned by vulgar eyes. In the light
of this it may be conjectured that the chaotic arrangement of alphabets
came about not by accident but by design.

(_See Chronological List of Specimens illustrated in this volume, p.


This of all the marks should be the most intimate and should indicate
the personal touch, as something coming from the craftsman to the
possessor. It is the heirloom which the old silversmith hands to
posterity. His mark signified his pride in his art, that is in the days
when craftsmen were artists and whatsoever their hand found to do they
did it with all their might. But the maker’s mark, set on it first by
his punch when he duly sent his apprentice to the assay office to have
it assayed and marked by the great functionaries of his guild, has
become eclipsed beside the imposing array of symbols stamped upon it
at the Goldsmiths’ Hall. That the piece exists and was brought into
being by the humble silversmith is of lesser importance than the row
of legally environed escutcheons signifying so much with such unerring
veracity: that it was assayed and found of standard quality, so down
comes the stamp of the lion _passant_; that the year was so and so
_anno domini_, down comes the stamp of the secret date letter, so
carefully guarded from the public; that the duty was paid, and not till
then, another stamp, this time with the king’s head; and last but not
least, down comes the stamp of the leopard’s head, denoting that all
this was done under the surveillance of the Mistery of Goldsmiths of
London. Hence the collector, who comes a century or two after these
great happenings, by capricious fate casts his lens on the signs manual
of standard, and proofs of place and date; but the bare initials of
the maker, which came first from the furnace to the assay office, now
come last, as insignificant letters merely denoting that the specimen
happened to have been made at all.

What would one give for a few human touches in connexion with our old
silver! We may imagine that our candlesticks of the year 1750 held the
flickering wax candles which were guttering when the dawn broke when
our great-great-grandfather lost his fortune at cards in the county of
--, or maybe it was somebody else’s grandfather. But this is in the
realms of fancy, and the fortune is literally fabulous. Why are there
no George Morlands in the silversmith’s craft? Cannot the guilds dig
out their romantic history from their archives? Just to think that
our designer of candelabra and flagons ran a fine career on Hounslow
Heath with gamesters and fighting men; or did he, just that once, have
a duel with young Lord What’s-his-Name in the Guards, and pinked him?
Did not the story get to White’s and to the Cocoa Tree Clubs, how the
tradesman scored! But no such thing. All these initials of makers are
empty of such vanities. We can do better with prints. Those who possess
the engraved work of Ryland have the satisfaction of knowing that he
was hounded by Bow Street runners and hid, like the modern Lefroy, at
Stepney, and that he was hanged for forgery.

There is William Blake, who dreamed as great dreams as Joseph of old,
who gave imaginary sittings to Pontius Pilate, who wrote wonderful
poetry, and who died in a garret. Copper-plates were dear, but he
had no poverty of invention, and since the days when as a child he
saw angels following the reapers in the corn, he lived for posterity
and left his record. But have gravers on silver and inventors of
symmetrical goblets of gold less blood than those who drew lines on
copper? There is something human missing in these strings of initials
and bare names so sedulously gathered together by dry-as-dust compilers.

In furniture, makers’ names have become household words. Chippendale,
Sheraton, Hepplewhite have created styles of their own. Of Sheraton
we have personal details piquant enough to add fresh lustre to his
satinwood creations. There is the story of the one teacup in the back
street of Soho, which was handed to his Scottish apprentice in the
little shop whence he issued his religious pamphlets.

In china the personal note is dominant--Josiah Wedgwood with his wooden
leg smashing vases at Etruria with “This won’t do for Josiah Wedgwood.”
Or Thomas Cookworthy dying of a broken heart in Virginia after his
life’s failure at Plymouth. Or the Brothers Elers with their secret
underground telephone in Bradwell Wood in Staffordshire.

In silver ware the Elizabethan and the Stuart periods run parallel with
furniture; the names of makers are rarely known. But in the eighteenth
century besides Paul de Lamerie, Paul Storr, F. Kandler, Peter
Archambo, Pierre Platel, and a few others the claim to fame of the
individual silversmith has been obliterated by the heart-searchings of
collectors for periods, such as the Higher Standard or the style termed
“Queen Anne.”

In 1739 the initials were by law altered from the first two letters of
the surname to the first letter of the surname and the first letter of
the Christian name. In earlier years the maker had a device--a dolphin,
a star, a cross, or any other symbol to denote his individual work.
Nowadays anonymity is further safeguarded by the Goldsmiths’ Company of
London, who admit names of firms. Their printed form runs: “Statement
to be made in writing by Manufacturers, Dealers and others, bringing or
sending Gold or Silver Plate to be Assayed and Hall-Marked.” Presumably
in the old days prentice work passed as that of the master. But the
prentice grew older and was allowed to come out into the light. But
X & Co., Y & Co., Z & Co. may send their stamps round to smaller and
more original men to impress on their work. The public, caring more
for the lion, _et cetera_, than for X, Y, and Z, know no better; as
for the real makers the public know nought. But we ask, is this the
way to encourage our workers in plate? Syndicates have no bowels of
compassion, but assay offices might be supposed to minister to the
interests of the art of the worker in precious metals. To kill or to
stifle individuality is a crime against Art. If Sheraton had been a
silversmith his name would have been unknown.

By law it has been determined that the initials of the maker shall
appear on each article of silver assayed; there is nothing in any
statute concerning the middle man. It would be interesting to know
what steps the various assay offices take to ascertain that the actual
maker’s name is upon the pieces to which they affix their official

To go back to the fourteenth century: there is a fine touch of human
nature recorded of one member of the goldsmiths’ guild of London who
was found guilty of _mals outrages_ in connexion with his work. He was
fined a pipe of wine, and twelve pence a week for one year to a poor
member of the company.

Among the human touches left there are fragments recorded which are
interesting to collectors. Sir Thomas Gresham, the great London
goldsmith in the middle sixteenth century, carried on business in
Lombard Street at the sign of the Grasshopper. To this day there is a
grasshopper as a weathercock behind the Royal Exchange.

There is Sir Robert Vyner, who made the coronation crown jewels for
Charles II, afterwards stolen by Colonel Blood and scattered in the
Minories, who was a goldsmith of Lombard Street. He entertained Charles
II during his mayorality. Sir Robert, when he had well drunken, grew
very familiar with the king, who wished to steal away without ceremony
and proceed to his coach. But the mayor pursued him to Guildhall yard,
and catching hold of him exclaimed with an oath, “Sir, you shall stay
and take t’ other bottle,” and the Merry Monarch, true to his name,
with a smile hummed the line of the old song:

    “He that is drunk is as great as a king,”

and turned back to finish the bottle. We like this story. A piece of
plate with Sir Robert Vyner’s initials of the year 1675 would possess
added value for this touch of nature which makes the whole world kin.

On the look-out for links connecting the silversmith with things human
we find an interesting shop card of Ellis Gamble, to whom by his own
desire young Hogarth was apprenticed and learned to engrave on silver
plate. It may be imagined that he was not an “Idle Apprentice,” and his
early work with the graver on the flagons and tankards in Mr. Gamble’s
shop should stimulate research. It was here that he drew heraldic
beasts. His apprenticeship terminated when he was twenty years of age.
There is preserved in _Hogarth Illustrated_ (by Ireland) the engraving
of the Kendal Arms during his apprenticeship, showing fine design.

We give the inscription on Ellis Gamble’s shop card, which is in
a frame, termed by bookplate collectors “Chippendale.” There is a
full-length figure of a winged angel standing on a scroll, and the
lettering is somewhat crowded below in English and in French:--

“Ellis Gamble, Goldsmith at the Golden Angel in Cranbourn Street,
Leicester Fields, Makes Buys and Sells all sorts of Plate, Rings and
Jewells, etc.”

An interesting sidelight on makers’ names is afforded by the various
copper tokens which they struck, bearing their names and addresses. We
append a short list of goldsmiths’ tokens of the seventeenth century.
They come from various parts of the country and from Ireland, and
readers having seventeenth century silver bearing these initials may
be able to identify the maker.


    The Hermitage (Wapping)
    John Mayhew. Gouldsmith His Halfepeny
    Neare the Armitage Bridg. I.M 1666

    West Smithfeild
    Euodias Inman. his halfe Peny
    In Smithfeild Rounds. Gouldsmith.

    Beech Lane (Barbican) (on a farthing).
    Elizabeth Wood (with the Goldsmiths’ arms)
    In Beach Lane. 1656. E. W.

    Seacole Lane (Snow Hill) (on a farthing).
    Samuell Chapell in Seacole Lane, 1671.
    The Goldsmiths’ arms on reverse.

EXETER (on a farthing).

    Samuell Calle (with design of a man smoking)
    Gouldsmith in Exon (with design of covered cup).

BATH (on a farthing).

    Geo. Reve. Goldsmith (with Goldsmiths’ arms)
    In Bath. 1658. G. M. R.

OXFORD (on a farthing).

    Will Robinson 1668 (with Goldsmiths’ arms)
    Gouldsmith in Oxon W. M. R.

DOVER (on a farthing).

    Willian Keylocke (with the Goldsmiths’ arms)
    In Dover. 1667. W M K


    Dublin (on a penny).
    Io. Partington. Gouldsme. (Arms: on a bend cotise, an eagle).
    Kinges head. Skinner Row, Dublin, 1d.

KILKENNY (on a penny).

    William Keovgh 1d.
    Kilkeny. Goldsmith (with design of a mermaid).

Among the eighteenth century American silversmiths there are some that
stand out prominently, and the exhibition of old American plate held
at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston in 1906 brought them to notice.
There is the work of John Dixwell from 1680 to 1735 who was the son
of Colonel John Dixwell, one of the regicides who fled to America in
the early years of the Restoration. But the historic punch bowl made
by Paul Revere was the _pièce de résistance_, and was shown together
with some forty other of his creations. It was made for the fifteen
“Sons of Liberty.” The inscription runs: “To the memory of the glorious
Ninety-Two members of the Honourable House of Representatives of the
Massachusetts Bay, who, undaunted by the insolent menaces of villains
in power, from a strict regard to conscience and the Liberties of their
constituents, on the 30th June, 1768, Voted Not To Rescind.”

But Paul Revere, silversmith, has another claim to renown as a patriot.
Longfellow, in his _Tales of a Wayside Inn_, has a poem telling of
“Paul Revere’s Ride,” seven years after he fashioned this punch bowl.
The story runs that he waited, booted and spurred, on the Charlestown
shore for secret news to carry through all the countryside.

    ... If the British march
    By land or sea from the town to night,
    Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
    Of the North Church tower as a signal light,--
    One, if by land, and two, if by sea.

We know the story of the opening shots at Lexington, the obstinate
foolishness of the North Ministry and the deaf ear George III turned
to the wisdom of Chatham. Longfellow pays posterity’s tribute to the

    A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
    And a word that shall echo for evermore!
    For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
    Through all our history, to the last,
    In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
    The people will waken and listen to hear
    The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
    And the midnight message of Paul Revere.


The higher standard mark has a significance peculiarly its own. By 8
and 9 William III, _cap._ 8, it was enacted that any person bringing
silver plate from January 1696 to November 1697[2] to any of the Royal
Mints, which silver plate be marked as sterling silver with the mark
usually employed at the Hall of the Goldsmiths’ Company of London
should receive “without tarrying till it be melted and assayed,” five
shillings and four pence per ounce.

Section 9 of this chapter of the Act contains in official terms an
allusion to the grave scandals that had shaken the commercial stability
of the country for many years. “And whereas it might reasonably be
suspected that part of the silver coins of the realm had been, by
persons regarding their own private gain more than the public good,
molten and converted into vessels of silver or other manufactured
plate, which crime has been the more easily perpetrated by them,
inasmuch as the goldsmiths or other workers of plate by the former laws
and statutes of the realm were not obliged to make their plate of finer
silver than the sterling or standard ordained for the monies of the
realm,” it was enacted that from and after 25th March 1697 no silver
plate should be made that was not of higher standard than the coin of
the realm. It was laid down that the legal marks on all silver were to
be the maker’s mark, expressed by the two first letters of his surname,
and that the marks of the assay offices should be for this new plate
the lion’s head erased and “the figure of a woman commonly called
Britannia” in lieu of the former marks of the leopard’s head and the
lion _passant_. In addition to this the date mark was to be stamped to
show in what year the plate was made. In this Act of 1696 it will be
observed that the mention of the leopard’s head and the lion _passant_
include London marks only. As the manufacture of silver plate of the
old standard was illegal after the passing of this Act and the use of
the old marks was equally illegal, it would appear that the provincial
assay offices were precluded from stamping silver.

That this appears to be the case is suggested by the reappointment of
the provincial offices in 1700. York, Exeter, Bristol, Chester, and
Norwich, at which cities mints had been opened for the coinage of the
new silver, were reappointed by 12 William, _cap._ 4, to assay and mark
silver plate as heretofore. The new standard was to be observed. The
marks to be employed were the maker’s mark, the lion’s head erased, the
figure of Britannia, the city mark, and the date letter, “a variable
Roman letter,” which latter provision was not then, and has not since,
been observed, as other types have been used.

From 25th March, 1697, till 1700 no plate was therefore assayed at any
of the provincial centres.

In 1702 the town of Newcastle-upon-Tyne was appointed as an assay town
with similar privileges and restrictions as in the above-mentioned

The old standard of silver was .925, that is in every thousand parts
only 75 were to be of alloy. The new standard was .959, that is only
41 parts of alloy could be legally used. This raised the standard of
silver plate above that of the coin of the realm.

The new standard was the only legal standard for silver plate from
March 1697 till 1720, when the old standard was revived and the higher
standard marks of the Britannia and the lion’s head erased were no
longer compulsory. Silver plate then dropped to the same fineness as
the coin of the realm. But if silversmiths desired to make silver of
this higher standard they could do so, and such silver plate would
receive the stamps at the assay offices, of the Britannia and the
lion’s head erased.

It is thus shown that the dates when silver plate must compulsorily
bear the Higher Standard marks are between the years 1697 and 1720. The
following note will be useful to collectors.

A piece of silver marked with the figure of Britannia and the lion’s
head erased may be an example falling under any of the following

1. Assayed in London between 1697 and 1700, when London was the only
office assaying silver plate. (It was illegal in England to make silver
plate of a lower standard between 1697 and 1720.)

2. Assayed in London between 1701 and 1720.

3. Assayed at Chester, Exeter, York, and Norwich, between 1701 and 1720.

4. Assayed at Newcastle from 1702 to 1720.

5. Assayed at any of the assay offices (except Dublin; no Higher
Standard silver being made in Ireland) after 1720 to the present day.
Although such silver plate of the Higher Standard has not since been
compulsory by law since 1720.

The Britannia period is an intricate period in the study of silver
plate, but the history underlying the Acts which governed the
hall-marking at this period should appeal to the collector who wishes
to endow his plate with historic interest. Without digressing too
widely into economic questions which threatened to paralyse commerce
and to destroy the allegiance to William III, it is of essential
interest to the collector of old silver plate to realize the conditions
which rendered the Higher Standard Mark of the Britannia and the lion’s
head erased necessary to prevent financial disasters of considerable
magnitude. The plate closet provides the historian with many of his
facts. It was in the days of Charles I that the loyalists melted down
their plate to be converted into coin of the realm. It was in William’s
day that clippers of coins provided silver for the silversmith to
fashion into his pleasing shapes. At what cost will be shown.

Till the reign of Charles II our coin had been struck by a process as
old as the thirteenth century. The metal was shaped with shears and
stamped by the hammer. The inexactitude of such coinage became the
opportunity for the clipper of coins. A mill was set up at the Tower of
London which was worked by horses and superseded the human hand. The
coins were exactly circular, their edges were inscribed with a legend,
and clipping was thereby made apparently impossible. But the hammered
coins and the milled coins were current together. The result was, as
it always is, that the light and poorer coin drove the better one out
of the current circulation. The milled crown new from the mint became
more valuable for shipment abroad or for use in the crucible.

Coiners grew and multiplied because the damaged and defaced coins could
be more easily imitated. Hundreds of wretched persons were dragged
up Holborn Hill, and in spite of flogging, branding, and hanging,
the trade of the coin clipper was easier than highway robbery, and
as fortunes were to be made those who followed that avocation took
the risks, as did smugglers. It was a dangerous occupation. Seven men
were hanged one morning and a woman branded, but this did not deter
the hundreds who were undetected. One clipper who was caught offered
£6,000 for a pardon, which was rejected, but the news gave a stimulus
to the industry. The Government of the day became alarmed at the
state of things, which grew from bad to worse. A sum of £57,200 of
hammered money paid into the Exchequer was tested by the officials.
It should have weighed above 220,000 ounces; it weighed under 114,000
ounces. (_Lowndes’ Essay for the Amendment of the Silver Coins_,
1695.) A Quaker who came from the North journeyed southwards, and his
diary shows that as he travelled towards London the innkeepers were
astonished at the full and heavy weight of the half-crowns he offered.
They asked where such money could be found. The guinea which he
purchased at Lancaster for twenty-two shillings bore a different value
at every stage. In London it was worth thirty shillings, and would
have been worth more had not the Government fixed this as the highest
at which gold should be received in payment of taxes. The _Memoirs_
of this Quaker were published in the _Manchester Guardian_ some thirty
years ago.

It may readily be imagined that such a state of things began to cripple
trade. Merchants stipulated as to the quality of the coin in which they
were to be paid. “The labourer found that the bit of metal which, when
he received it, was called a shilling, would hardly, when he wanted to
purchase a pot of beer or a loaf of rye bread, go as far as sixpence.”
Tonson the bookseller sends Dryden forty brass shillings. Another time
he paid the poet in silver pieces that were so bad that they could not
be passed.

The Government still believed in penalties, and hoped that drastic
punishment would stop the clipping of the hammered coin and the melting
and export of the new milled coin. A clipper who informed against two
other clippers was pardoned. Any one informing against a clipper had a
reward of forty pounds. Whoever was found in the possession of silver
clippings, filings, or parings should be burned in the cheek with a
red-hot iron. Officers were empowered to search for bullion, and the
onus of proof as to its origin was thrown on the possessors, or failing
this they were fined heavily. But all in vain were these drastic
measures; clipping still continued in defiance of all penal laws.
Colley Cibber in his _Love’s Last Shift, or the Fool in Fashion_, has a
hit at the debased state of the coinage. A gay cynic says, “Virtue is
as much debased as our money: and, in faith, _Dei Gratia_ is as hard to
be found in a girl of sixteen as round the brim of an old shilling.”

This is not the place to enumerate the many foolish schemes that were
propounded, some too costly, some unjust, some hazardous.

Locke and Newton brought their minds to bear on the subtleties of the
question, and adopted the ideas of Dudley North, who died in 1693. His
tract on the restoration of the currency is practically the same as
that subsequently adopted.

William Lowndes, Secretary of the Treasury, Member of Parliament for
the borough of Seaford, “a most respectable and industrious public
servant,” as Lord Macaulay terms him, was incapable of rising above the
details of his office in order to cope with economic principles. “He
was not in the least aware that a piece of metal with the King’s head
on it was a commodity of which the price was governed by the same laws
which govern the price of metal fashioned into a spoon or a buckle,
and that it was no more in the power of Parliament to make the kingdom
richer by calling a crown a pound than to make the kingdom larger by
calling a furlong a mile. He seriously believed, incredible as it may
seem, that if the ounce of silver were divided into seven shillings
instead of five, foreign nations would sell us their wines and their
silks for a smaller number of ounces.”

Happily Lowndes was completely refuted by Locke in his _Further
Considerations Concerning the Raising the Value of Money_, 1695.

Locke recommended what Dudley North had advised, namely, that the King
should issue a proclamation declaring hammered money should pass only
by weight. What searching, branding, fining, burning, and hanging had
failed to do would have been accomplished at once. The clipping of the
hammered coin and the melting of the new milled coin to be made into
silver plate would have ceased. But it had one objection. The loss
would fall on the individual. Those in whose hands the clipped coin
happened to be at a particular moment would bear the loss. But the loss
in equity should be borne by the State which had allowed such evils to
go unchecked.

It was suggested to remedy this that all clipped coin after a certain
date would be exchanged for good coin at the mint. But it was soon
realized that this would make clipping more profitable than ever.

A real remedy was devised but unhappily it fell through. A proclamation
was to be prepared with great secrecy, and published simultaneously
in all parts of the kingdom. This was to declare hammered coin
should thenceforth only pass by weight. Every possessor of such coin
could within three days deliver it in a sealed packet to the local
authorities to be weighed and would receive a promissory note to
receive from the Treasury the difference between the actual quantity of
silver the pieces contained and the quantity they should have contained.

Anxious days followed in Parliament, but it was determined the public
should bear the loss on the clipped coins. It was laid down that a time
should be fixed when no clipped money should pass, except in payments
to the Government, and that a later time should be fixed after which no
clipped money should pass at all. The 4th of May, 1696, was named as
the date on which the Government would cease to receive clipped money
in payment of taxes.

Ten furnaces were erected in a garden behind the Treasury, which was
then a part of Whitehall, and which lay between the Banqueting House
and the river. Every day huge heaps of clipped and unrecognizable coins
were here turned into ingots of silver and were sent off to the Mint at
the Tower (_L’Hermitage_, January 14-24, 1696).

The scene may readily be imagined. The second of May 1696 had been
fixed by Parliament as the last day in which the crowns, half-crowns,
and shillings were to be received in payment of taxes for face value.
The guards had to be called in to keep order. The Exchequer was
besieged by a vast multitude from dawn to midnight. The Act provided
that the money was to be brought in by before the 4th of May. The 3rd
was a Sunday, therefore Saturday, the 2nd of May, was actually the last

During the next few months, as the issues of the new coinage were
unduly slow, the tension was very great. The upper classes lived on
credit. “Money exceeding scarce, so that none was paid or received: but
all was on trust” (_Evelyn’s Diary_, May 13th). “Want of current money
for smallest concerns even for daily provisions in the markets.” (June
11th, _Evelyn’s Diary_.)

By about August 1696, signs of prosperity began to be observed after a
very trying time owing to the scarcity of silver.

Undoubtedly it was a very anxious period for the Government.
Malcontents stirred up the populace and tumults occurred in various
parts of the country. Jacobite tracts were published advocating violent
measures. William had strained his private credit in Holland to procure
bread for the Army. But the crisis was weathered and the coinage
question was settled.

It hardly needs an apology from the author to bring these facts tersely
together before the reader who is interested in old English silver. The
figure of Britannia and the lion’s head erased belong to this troublous
period. They come as a corollary to the coinage question, and they
should provide the collector with food for thought whenever he sees
them stamped upon silver in his possession. The standard of silver
plate was raised as a further safeguard, in order that the clippers
should have no incentive to melt down the new coinage.

From 1697 to 1720 the silver plate, being compulsorily by law of a
higher standard than the coin of the realm, stood as a safeguard
against the return to clipping.

The Britannia standard, therefore, to collectors should be something
more than rare. It should induce reflective thought as to the
successive stages the troublous disputations, the suggested remedies,
and the awful punishments which came as a prelude to the establishment
of this Higher Standard.

At a much later period the figure of Britannia was stamped upon silver
plate, but the practice was not very extensive, and the Britannia stamp
is used without the accompanying lion’s head erased. The date when
this mark appears is at a period subsequent to 1784 and relates to the
drawback or exemption from duty on silver plate exported. (See the
“Duty Mark,” p. 61.)


In regard to duty on silver plate, it was first imposed in England and
in Scotland in 1719, when the old silver standard was revived. The duty
was fixed at 6d. per ounce. Later by 3 Geo. II, in 1730, the duty was
imposed on silver plate assayed in Ireland, and at this date the figure
of Hibernia was used to denote that duty had been paid to the king. In
1784, by 24 Geo. III, _cap._ 53, a duty of 6d. per ounce was levied.
This applied to England and Scotland, and it was enacted that, in
addition to the other marks formerly employed by the makers and assay
offices, the new mark of the king’s head should be stamped on every
piece of silver plate on which duty has been paid. By another section
of this Act it was a felony punishable by death to use any counterfeit
stamp contrary to law. By a later Act, 55 Geo. III, in 1815, the
counterfeiting the king’s head duty mark was punishable by death; and
this was only a hundred years ago. The duty on silver plate was now 1s.
6d. per ounce.

From 1784, therefore, on English and Scottish silver the duty mark of
the head of the reigning sovereign appears on all silver plate, stamped
in an oval escutcheon.

In regard to the duty mark on Irish plate, it was not until 1807 by 47
Geo. III that the stamp of the king’s head, or that of the reigning
sovereign was added to the other marks to denote that duty had been
paid to the king. The old mark of Hibernia was allowed to remain;
originally it was a duty mark, but it may be now regarded as the
hall-mark of Dublin.

The various sovereigns’ heads were used down to 1890, when the duty was
discontinued and the mark abolished.

In connexion with these duty marks the Act of 1784 has a section which
has an interesting provision, and those collectors who may happen to
find a figure of Britannia on a piece of silver without its companion
mark of the lion’s head erased may be puzzled as to the reason of the
omission. First it does not denote that the silver plate was of the
higher standard. It was a mark stamped on silver which was exported.
By the above Act duty was not charged on silver exported, and in order
to prevent any of this plate being taken abroad for a short time only,
and then landed in this country to be sold here without the duty having
been paid, it was stamped with the figure of Britannia.

The following are the Duty Marks used:--

Ireland                         1730 to 1807  Figure of Hibernia.
England and Scotland            1784 to 1820  Head of George III.
Ireland                         1807 to 1820     do.   do.
England, Scotland, and Ireland  1821 to 1830  Head of George IV.
      do.           do.         1831 to 1836  Head of William IV.
      do.           do.         1837 to 1890  Head of Victoria. Duty
                                                  abolished 1890.

The illustrations of these duty marks are shown in the Table (p. 357).


The Foreign Mark is a protective measure. A great amount of foreign
wrought plate had found its way into this country and was being sold
by dealers without sending it to the assay office. It was of a lower
standard than would have been passed by the assay offices, that is to
say it was not sterling silver as understood in this country, viz. 925
parts silver in every thousand parts of metal--that is, admitting only
75 parts of alloy in every thousand. In 1842 an Act was passed, 5 and 6
Vic., which enacted that no silver plate which had not been wrought in
England, Scotland, or Ireland was to be sold in these countries unless
it had first been assayed in the same manner as silver wrought in Great
Britain and Ireland. But no provision was made that such foreign silver
should bear an additional stamp, nor does it seem that the Act was very
much put into operation. The provisions seem to have been evaded till
1867, when by 30 and 31 Vic. all imported plate had to be marked with
letter F in an oval escutcheon, denoting it was of foreign manufacture,
although it had passed the tests and otherwise had the stamps of
British or Irish assay offices upon it.

This is not very satisfactory, although the practice has now been
altered. A purchaser gets a piece of silver plate with the lion and the
leopard’s head on it, and this to the tyro denotes quality, and allays
any fears he may have as to its origin. He may innocently imagine he is
supporting home industries, not knowing what the meaning of the letter
F may be at the end of the row of symbols.

This foreign mark, illustrated in Table, p. 357, was used from 1876 to

It seems unfair to British manufacturers that foreign silver is assayed
here for competitive sale with home manufactured plate; it bears the
time-honoured symbols that have been used in this country for four
hundred years. There is also the possibility that some fraudulent
dealer may remove the F, and straightway the piece becomes British. It
was not in the public interest that such a loose state of things should

By the Hall Marking of Foreign Plate Act (4 Edw. VII. c. 6), Foreign
silver plate was marked by the Assay Offices with the following marks
_in addition to_ the Standard Mark and the Date Letters. In 1906,
by Order in Council, certain alterations were made in the London,
Sheffield, Glasgow and Dublin marks on Foreign plate assayed.



[1] Report of the Select Committee of the House of Commons on the
Hall-marking of Gold and Silver Plate, 1879.

[2] A period of eleven months. The year 1696 ended on 24th March, and
the year 1697 commenced on 25th March.




Silver-gilt. Exeter pattern. Inscription, “St. Petrox Exon.”
Exeter hall-mark 1572.

(_In possession of the Parish of St. Petrock, Exeter._)]


Silver-gilt. Inscription, “The Paryshe of Trynitye in the yeare of our
Lorde 1575.” Exeter hall-mark, 1575.

(Marks illustrated p. 391.)

(_In possession of the Parish of Trinity, Exeter._)]



  The Chalice, Elizabethan forms, with cover for use as paten--The
      destruction of silver plate at the Reformation--The Exeter style
      of chalice--The sacramental flagon--The Communion Cup--Specimens
      of patens.

In regard to sacred vessels in use in this country before the
Reformation it is noteworthy that in design they cling to a national
form and differ very considerably from those used in early mediæval
days or at the present time in the Roman Catholic Church.

Prior to the Reformation the plate found on the altar for the
celebration of the Holy Sacrament consisted of a chalice, a paten, two
cruets to contain wine and water for consecration, which were really
two ewers with lids of small size, and the pyx in which the Eucharist
was reserved.

The chalice consisted of three parts: the cup or bowl, the stem
which in its middle swelled out into a bulb called the knop, for the
convenience of holding it, and the foot.

The paten was a small salver slightly sunk in the middle like an
ordinary plate.

Henry VIII in his spoliation of the monasteries, their lands and their
gold and silver plate, set the pace which was continued under Edward
VI. No stone was left unturned to stamp out all traces of the old
religion. It is remarkable that so much has escaped the blind fury that
seized the reformers in their lust for destruction. Whole libraries
were destroyed; illuminated books were consigned to the flames as
the work of the devil. Stained glass windows, carved woodwork with
figures of saints, brasses with religious emblems, all fell beneath the
ruthless hand of the iconoclastic Puritan.

“At Sunbury we brake down ten mighty great angels in glass, at Barham
brake down the twelve apostles in the chancel, and six superstitious
pictures more there: and eight in the church, one a lamb with a cross
on the back: and digged down the steps and took up four superstitious
inscriptions in brass.” So writes one Dowsing, a fanatic, in a diary he
kept of his doings, where he and his myrmidons scoured a hundred and
fifty parishes. Bishop Hall of Norwich saved his windows by taking out
the heads of the figures.

With such religious fervour abroad it can well be imagined that the
altar vessels, the fine chalices and other ecclesiastical plate, came
under the ban that had been pronounced against relics of a Church
which, whatever may have been its dogmas, had always encouraged the
fine arts and employed the genius of the craftsmen in creating edifices
which stand among the noblest of man’s handiwork and in embellishing
them with decorations as spiritual as the brain of the artist could


Parcel-gilt. Inscription, “St. Martin’s in Exon.”
London hall-mark, 1573.

(_In possession of Parish of St. Martin’s, Exeter._)]


Silver-gilt. Inscription, “St. Petrox in Oxon.”
Exeter hall-mark, 1640.

(Marks illustrated p. 391.)

(_In possession of Parish of St. Petrock, Exeter._)]

It is not surprising to find the commissioners appointed by Edward VI
making as exhaustive an inquiry throughout the land as the valuers of
a modern Chancellor of the Exchequer. They seized all the plate in the
churches with the exception of chalices and patens, and these they
weeded out if they considered the parish too small to have more than
one or two. Hence it is rare to find pre-Reformation ecclesiastical
plate, even chalices and patens, because the Church authorities
preferred to melt it down and use the money for other purposes than to
have it confiscated.

In 1547 by 1 Edward VI it was enacted that communion in both kinds
should be administered to the laity. The old form of chalice and
paten remained for a time, as even the Reformation with all its fury
could not and did not wholly uproot all the most sacred and deeply
seated ritual in connexion with religious observances. The subject of
the change in the form of the chalice with its inverted cup and the
introduction of the severer form of the open communion cup and the
flagon, is a study in ecclesiastical and political history which cannot
be further pursued here.

In general it may be said that the old forms of chalice are not
frequently met with, and have been carefully guarded by religious
bodies, possibly having to be hidden. The examples now extant are
usually found in cathedral cities and in the custody of corporate
bodies or Church authorities. We are fortunate in being able to
reproduce illustrations of some fine Exeter examples exhibiting
exquisite symmetry and characteristic ornamentation.

The paten, it should be observed, was made to serve as a cover for
the communion cup, a style which appears to have been general in
Elizabeth’s day, and the old pre-Reformation paten was discarded by
ecclesiastical law.

In the illustration given (p. 67) of a chalice and cover this form is
seen. The specimen is silver-gilt of the style known as the Exeter
pattern. The bowl is conical in shape with engraved foliated ornament.
The knop is fluted and the foot is in similar style. The inscription
is “St. Petrox, Exon,” and the piece is still in the possession of the
parish of St. Petrock, Exeter. The maker is I. Ions, and the piece
bears the Exeter hall-mark for the year 1572, the year of the massacre
of St. Bartholomew.

The chalice and cover illustrated on the same page is another fine
example of the Exeter pattern, with inscription on cover “The Paryshe
of Trynitye in the yeare of our Lorde 1575.” The maker is I. Ions and
the Exeter date mark 1575. The marks of this piece are illustrated page

Another Elizabethan chalice and cover bears the London hall-mark of
1573. It is parcel gilt, has a straight bowl with slight lip, and
engraved foliated bands. Its inscription is “St. Martin’s in Exon.”
This is illustrated on page 71 together with a Charles I chalice and
cover made by J. R. Radcliff and bearing the Exeter mark of 1640, the
date when Strafford was impeached and two years before the outbreak
of the Civil War. The illustration shows the mark on the middle of
the bowl, with the maker’s name in full between the two bands of
floriated decoration.

[Illustration: CHARLES II CUP.

Silver-gilt. London hall-mark, 1660. (Marks illustrated p. 369.)

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Elkington & Co._)]


London hall-mark, 1692. Maker’s mark, I.Y.

(_In possession of Parish of St. Martin’s, Exeter._)]

An interesting Charles II cup, silver-gilt, is illustrated page 75. The
maker’s mark is H. G. and the date letter is a black-letter capital
~C~, indicating the year 1660. The illustration shows the position of
the marks and the irregular manner in which they were stamped at that
period. The marks are illustrated on page 369. Cups such as this have
sometimes had portions added to them, converting them into ewers with
curved spout and large handle. There is a piece among the corporation
plate at York which suggests such an alteration. In the days of Charles
II the puritanic form of the few pieces of plate then remaining
offended the new spirit of gaiety. Cromwell’s cavalry had stabled
their horses in cathedrals; with the Restoration, communion cups were
converted into vessels for less sacred use.

Illustrated on the same page are two William III flagons, with date
letter for 1692, and maker’s mark I. Y. These are in the possession
of the parish of St. Martin’s, Exeter. These flagons were wrought
in London in the fateful year when Marlborough was dismissed from
his office on suspicion of high treason, when Louis XIV espoused
the cause of the exiled James and prepared to invade England. By
the naval victory of La Hogue the supremacy of the seas was gained.
On land the French took Namur, but although William was defeated he
prevented the French from entering Brussels. All these pieces of news
filtered through to London in the days when the craftsman was patiently
hammering these flagons and twisting the handles and fashioning the
thumb-pieces. To-day to the curious and pensive mind the row of stamped
symbols recalls the England of William.

Examples of the patens later in use are shown on page 79. The two
Charles II pieces are on feet, and it will be seen that they are
ornamented with rope-pattern borders. They are inscribed “St. Martin’s
in Exeter.” The London date letter is for 1680, and the maker’s mark is
E. G. Between them stands a Queen Anne lavabo bowl with the Exeter mark
for 1702, the maker being John Elston.

A Queen Anne paten is illustrated beneath on the same page. The
Exeter date mark is for 1714, and the maker is Pentecost Symonds. The
illustration shows in what position the marks are placed, and they are
illustrated on page 391.

A remarkable communion cup and cover of small size is illustrated on
page 81. This is a George II specimen and is unique. It bears the
Exeter mark for 1729, and the maker is James Strong. The stem of this
cup is in baluster form of fine proportions. The cover is remarkable,
being intended, when removed, for use as a flat paten. In addition to
the usual central button it has four small additional feet. It was
intended for the use of the sick, hence its smaller size. Altogether
it is a most remarkable piece. It has an inscription which runs: “_Deo
Christo et Ecclesiae St. Martini Exon in usu infirmorum._” The marks on
it are given under the illustration.

[Illustration: CHARLES II PATENS.

London, 1680. Maker, E. G.


Exeter, 1702. Maker John Elston.

(_In possession of Parish of St. Martin’s, Exeter._)]

[Illustration: QUEEN ANNE PATEN.

Exeter hall-mark, 1714. Maker, Pentecost Symonds.

(Marks illustrated p. 391.)

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Ellett Lake & Son, Exeter._)]


Exeter hall-mark, 1729. Maker, James Strong. (Marks are illustrated

(_In possession of Parish of St. Martin’s, Exeter._)]





  The Mazer, the fifteenth-century precursor of the punch-bowl--Some
      historic Standing Cups (the Leigh Cup, 1499)--Stoneware jugs
      with silver mounts and covers--The seventeenth century--The
      Pepys Standing Cup--Elizabethan flagons--Seventeenth-century
      Tankards--The Stuart Beaker--Stuart wine cups--The “Monteith”
      form punch-bowl of the eighteenth century.

In this chapter it will be seen that a survey is made of the drinking
vessels of silver plate in use during the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries. With the advent of coffee and tea, silver plate found a
newer field, and the coffee-pots, tea-pots, and tea-caddies of the
eighteenth century are dealt with in another chapter.

During the period prior to the general use of glass, metals were
employed for domestic plate. Pewter, being less costly, was more used
than silver plate, which was confined to the wealthier classes; and
for those of lower degree the black-jack and the “old leather bottel”
sufficed. Faience from the Low Countries and from Cologne early found
its way to this country. The Bellarmine jugs, large in capacity and
strongly made of _gres de Flandres_ stoneware, were possibly much in
demand for serving sack and beer and other liquors consumed in large
quantities. It is the tendency of all simple objects to become ornate.
The earliest plain horn cups used by the herdsman and the simples
developed into silver-mounted richly-chased drinking horns for use
at the castle. Of this class is the drinking horn belonging to Lord
Cawdor, at Golden Grove, with silver mounts supported by silver dragon
and greyhound, which has a history dating from the days of Richard III.

The wooden bowl, as we see in the mazer, became enriched with costly
mounts. These additions rarely added to the utility of the vessel, but
they denote its elevation into usage by more wealthy people. The plain
grey or mottled and excellently potted stoneware jug, the like of which
Mistress Quickly must have used to pour out the canary of Falstaff and
Bardolf and the thirsty set of tapsters who surrounded the fat knight,
was common enough in the early sixteenth century. But in Elizabeth’s
day it added luxurious appendages to itself in the shape of silver or
silver-gilt rim and lid and bands and foot.

[Illustration: MAZER, OF MAPLE WOOD.

Mounted in silver-gilt, ornamented with quatrefoil belts.
Inscription on boss, “A Gift to the Parish of St. Petrock, 1490.”]


(_In possession of Parish of St. Petrock, Exeter._)]

The mazer, a wooden vessel in form like the more modern punch-bowl,
mounted in silver, is the earliest type of our domestic plate. These
bowls were ornamented with silver bands and silver rims, and in some
cases there was a silver circular plate or boss in the centre of the
vessel inside. The example we illustrate is mounted in silver-gilt with
quatrefoil belts. It has an inscription on the boss, “A Gift to the
Parish of St. Petrock, 1490.” The wood of these mazers was usually
maple, and the name is supposed to be derived from the British word
_masarm_ (maple). The Dutch word _maeser_ means a knot of maple wood.
Spenser in the sixteenth century has the lines:

    Then, lo! Perigot, the pledge which I plight,
      A _mazer_ ywrought of the maple ware,
    Wherein is enchased many a fair fight
      Of bears and tigers that make fierce war.

Among the earliest of drinking vessels of the Middle Ages this form of
the broad bowl followed the earlier horn drinking cup. Mazers were not
made after the sixteenth century. The form was not confined to England,
for Sir Walter Scott, in his “Lord of the Isles,” has the couplet:

    Bring hither, he said, the mazers four
    My noble fathers loved of yore.

In regard to some of the prices paid for mazers at auction in
London, the following may convey an idea as to rarity. In 1903 a
fifteenth-century mazer realized £140. In 1902 a sixteenth-century
example brought £170. In 1905 a mazer dated 1527 sold for £500, but in
1908 one dated 1534 fetched the colossal price of £2,300. Certainly
this is the highest price paid for maplewood. If the bowl had been
all silver, and had been sold by the ounce, the sum paid would have
been remarkable. But collectors are no respecters of persons, and as a
rarity a mazer makes an appeal which it cannot do as a work of art.

The specimens remaining after centuries of vandalism which have come
down to us from the early days differ in character. The mazer is
reminiscent of Scandinavian drinking customs. To this day the Dane in
drinking your health says “_Scol_.” Etymologists with fine imagination
have linked this with skull, and sought to infer that the old Norsemen
drank out of skulls. It is a myth as old as the upas-tree. Dekker in
his _Wonder of a Kingdom_ says:

    Would I had ten thousand soldiers’ heads,
    Their skulls set all in silver, to drink healths
    To his confusion first invented war.

We may agree with the sentiment, and we could fittingly drink confusion
to a modern intriguer to like end, but, for all that, the derivation
is wrong. The _scol_ of the Dane has reference to little wooden spoons
used with the bowl to ladle out the liquor, much in the same manner as
the punch ladle of many centuries later performed the same service.
The word scull, the oar of a shallop, is the same word. Byron, wishing
to pose as a wicked person, gathered a crowd of wayward spirits at
Newstead who drank out of a skull.

Some Historic Standing Cups

Contemporary with the mazers are magnificent standing cups and covers,
such as the “Anathema” Cup, of the date 1481, at Pembroke College,
Cambridge, or the Lynn Cup, a century earlier, in possession of the
corporation of King’s Lynn. It must be remembered in the contemplation
of our art treasures, and more especially the plate that is left to
us, that the data upon which we may form conclusions are very slender.
Happily much that is superlative is left to us, unscathed through
centuries of civil war and plunderings and meltings-down; but often
two pieces of the same period represent extreme types. One may be a
merely ordinary common vessel and the other may be of most exquisite
and beautiful work, which reached the summit of excellence even in its
own day. Comparisons are odious. But it is as though in five centuries
hence all else were swept aside and all that the twenty-fifth century
had upon which to pass judgment on the eighteenth century potter were
sundry ornate Wedgwood vases and certain crude cottage figures.


With London hall-mark for 1499. Richly ornamented in Gothic style.
Having inscription on bands of blue enamel in letters of silver. The
second earliest cup known with a hall-mark.

(See description p. 93.)

(_By courteous permission of the Mercers’ Company._)]

By the courtesy of the Mercers’ Company an illustration of the famous
Leigh Standing Cup and cover is here produced. The date of this is
1499. The vessel is ornamented with raised crossed bands, and in the
panels formed by their intersection are alternate heads of maidens and
flagons, which are the badges of the company. The foot rests on three
miniature flagons, and has a deep chased border with a pierced trefoil
enrichment. On the cover are the arms of the City of London and the
company. The cover is surmounted by a maiden seated, with an unicorn
reclining in her lap, the word “Desyer” on its side. Round the cover
and cup are bands of blue enamel, with letters of silver, with the
following inscription:

    To Ellect the Master of the Mercerie hither am I sent
    And by Sir Thomas Legh for the same entent.

This specimen exhibits the Gothic style, and this is the second
earliest cup known with a hall-mark. The “Anathema” Cup bears the
London hall-mark for 1481. The antiquity of these early cups illuminate
the field of collecting. The Leigh Cup is contemporary with the
magnificent chapel of Henry VII at Westminster Abbey. Here is a work
of art wrought by the silversmith only two years after John Cabot made
his first voyage to the mainland of America, and on the heels of the
discovery of the sea route to India by Vasco da Gama.

The standing cup and cover carries with it rites and ceremonies that
have been retained to the present day by all those corporations and
companies and clubs who have a ritual extending into the past. It
is not always easy to give the exact reason why customs are still
punctiliously observed. To doff one’s hat to a friend or a superior is
an act which has a long history. To take off one’s casque of armour
was to become at once unprotected from the sword-cut. One can imagine
two knights meeting showing this confidence in each other’s honour in
removing their casques. Similarly in the taking of wine the observances
of to-day in regard to the loving-cup have equally sound reasons to
support them, as being a symbolic continuance of similar actions of the
past when their meaning was more definitely prosaic than it is now.



Silver-gilt. Height 10ⁱ/₄ in.


_c._ 1570.

With silver-mounted cover and foot.

(_In possession of A. S. M. Smedley, Esq._)

(_Photographs by courtesy of Messrs. Crichton Brothers._)]

There are many recorded instances where treacherous foes have stabbed
a guest when in the act of drinking. It is not difficult to realize
the sequel and the necessity for the usage. When one man drank, his
comrade stood by his side with dagger ready to defend his friend from
treachery. The custom to-day at civic banquets and in old clubs in
regard to the loving-cup passed round is explained. There are always
three standing. Two face each other and the third stands behind the
person drinking as a safeguard against perfidy.

Poison and the fear of death were always prominently before our
ancestors in the Middle Ages. The wine cup was an easy means in
perpetrating revenge; in consequence crystal goblets, which were
supposed to split or change colour when poison was present, were much
in vogue.

There were various forms of standing cups. The craftsman expended his
skill and invention in producing novelties. It thus happens that these
creations exhibit the silversmith’s cunning at its best.

A very interesting cup and cover is that known as the “Westbury.”
It is a fine example of the Elizabethan silversmith’s work, and is
silver-gilt. It is, as is shown in the illustration, in the form of an
acorn on a stem with flattened knob, and spreading moulded base, with
turned knob to the cover. The cup of the acorn is cleverly suggested by
a series of stamped rings. This cup has an inscription which runs:

    Given to the Church of Westbury by Collonel Waucklen and Mary
    Contes of Malbrou. 1671.

On the cover are the initials of the donors, T. W. and M. M.

According to Hoare’s _Wiltshire_, and Cockayne’s _Complete Peerage,
Extinct and Dormant_, Mary, widow of the second Earl of Marlborough,
was married to one Thomas Waucklen, son of a blacksmith.

This is not too great a demand on our credulity, as a _cause de
célèbre_ in the courts disclosed the fact only a few years ago that
a countess was married to the son of a coachman who had posed as a
prince. We do not know in what manner Colonel Waucklen gained his
military title. He possibly may during the “late wars” have emulated

    When civil dudgeons first grew high,
    And out he rode a-colonelling.

But scandal there is which has settled heavily on the cup and its
donors. It is stated that at the time of its gift to the church of
Westbury, Mary the Countess had been dead a year and was buried in a
turnip field. This Elizabethan cup made its public appearance in the
middle of the reign of Charles II, and the said inscription would seem
to have been placed upon it by the “Collonel” to screen the fact that
his wife was dead. It would appear to have been for a long time in
domestic use before it was handed over to the custody of the Church. It
bears the London hall-mark for 1585.

[Illustration: PEPYS STANDING CUP AND COVER. _c._ 1677.

Height 23 in.

With inscription in shield at base, “Samuel Pepys. Admiralitati Angl:
Secretis & Societ: Pannif: Lond: Mr. An. MDCLXXVII.”

(_By courtesy of the Company of Clothworkers._)]

The Stoneware Jug

As has already been said, the stoneware vessels of the Low Countries
came into England and were in common use in the time of Elizabeth. Fine
examples of mottled “tiger ware” with silver mounts were evidently used
by more luxurious possessors, and such specimens bring enormous
prices under the hammer. The celebrated West Malling Elizabethan jug
sold at Christie’s, in 1903, for £1,522. This example was described as
Fulham delft or stoneware, splashed purple, orange, green, and other
colours, in the style of the old Chinese, and mounted with neck-band,
handle mount, body-straps, foot and cover, of silver-gilt. It has
the London hall-mark of 1581, the year after Drake returned in the
_Golden Hind_ from his voyage around the world. The maker’s mark is a
_fleur-de-lis_ stamped in intaglio, repeated on cover, neck-band, and
foot. Its height is 9ⁱ/₂ inches. The weight of silver straps is only
9 oz. “It may have been used for sacred purposes,” says one of the
journalistic critics, who marvelled at the price, “but without doubt is
nothing more than an old sack-pot.”

We illustrate an example with silver-mounted cover and foot, about 1570
in date, which shows the type of jugs of Tudor days of this class.

There are many examples of this kind of tankard. The Vintners’ Company
has one of delft mounted in silver-gilt with cover with inscription,
“Think and Thank,” and “Thank David Gitting for this.” It bears a date
1563. The dates of most of the specimens of this class of stoneware or
delft flagon range from about 1560 to about 1595.

The Pepys Standing Cup and Cover

In continuing the examination of loving-cups the comparison can be
made between the early ornate Gothic type exemplified in the Leigh
cup; the restrained and solid piece of craftsmanship in the Westbury
cup; and the applied style of decoration, French in character, found
in pieces from about 1670 for the next ten years or so. The Pepys cup
is about 1677, and typifies this last period. There is among the York
Corporation plate a silver-gilt cup, 17ⁱ/₂ inches high, with cover
surmounted by a lion couchant. This “Turner” cup has the inscription:
“_Ion̄es Turner serviens ad legem Civitatis Eborū Recordator hoc Majori
et Communitati ejus de gratitudinis ergo dedit, 1679._” The hall-mark
is London, 1679. There is a resemblance in this cup to the Pepys cup:
it is finely decorated with acanthus leaves. In 1893 a copy of the
Turner cup, with the lion transformed into the lion of England, and
embellished with shields of the various Dukes of York, was presented to
His Majesty King George by the citizens of York on the occasion of his

In 1677 Samuel Pepys was elected Master of the Clothworkers’ Company,
to whom he presented this cup (illustrated), which is still used at
their dinners.

Its description is as follows: Standing cup and cover, parcel gilt.
Deep plain band round rim, below which is a chased laurel wreath.
The rest of the cup is overlaid with an outer framework of pierced
and embossed work of ornate character, which is not gilt. The design
embraces foliated scrolls with griffin, and included are teazles and
two rams, symbols of the Clothworkers’ Company. The cover is surmounted
by a ram.

The cup bears an inscription: “_Samuel Pepys Admiralitati Angl:
Secretis & Societ: Pannif: Lond: Mr. An. MDCLXXVII_,” and a monogram
S. P., together with the arms of Pepys.

This piece belongs to the Charles II period, and is typical of the
characteristic style of applied decoration, undoubtedly of French
origin. This cup has the maker’s mark[3] T G or J G interlaced, and he
evidently was an English craftsman working during the latter half of
the Charles II period and during the short reign of James II. The vogue
then disappeared.

English silver plate at the end of the seventeenth century is worthy
of note, on account of its technique. A noticeable feature in this
period of free chased work, in pieces with large leaves and fruit or
figure subjects, is the bold manner in which the leaf springs from the
collet of the foot. Among some of the most treasured objects of this
late seventeenth-century outburst of fine craftsmanship are sconces
and mirror frames, and especially large beakers and oviform vases and
covers with floriated ornament richly chased. It was at that time
that Grinling Gibbons the woodcarver revelled in his intricate flower
and fruit pieces carved in the soft lime and chestnut woods. There is
little doubt that the same artistic impulses were in the air. Side by
side with the silversmith’s art were other fashions in furniture, in
silk hangings, in costume, in the building and architecture of houses
and the habits of the people who dwelt in them. In the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries with so many civil disturbances it was inevitable
that easily movable possessions such as plate were the first to be
realized. It is not difficult to imagine from the remnants still
remaining what the plate must have been like which graced the splendid
banqueting halls of the days of Elizabeth. The massive flagons, such as
that illustrated page 105, and the gleaming dishes and lordly plates
rightly belong to an age when courtiers wore doublets richly sewn with
pearls, when dreams of conquests in the New World set men’s minds
aflame, when new trade routes were opened and great companies formed,
when the sturdy spirit of independence established itself in these
realms to take root and develop into world supremacy on the seas, and
establish an abiding place in the council chambers of Europe, and when
Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, and Kit Marlowe, and Edmund Spenser with
inspired vision penetrated into the domain of romance and won enduring

But gold and silver plate hold a somewhat insecure place as historic
records. The thief with vandal hands put many a cunningly fashioned
vessel into the melting-pot to escape detection. The Civil War with
its burnings and plunderings on the one hand, and the loyal devotion
of cavaliers who gladly saw their plate go to equip Charles’s army,
on the other, accounts for many more specimens of craftsmanship which
can never come again. Other treasures left the country; the retinue
of Queen Henrietta Maria, her French retainers and her scullions and
priests, journeyed in forty coaches to Dover with much plate. Charles
I, writing to Buckingham, calls upon Steenie to help him and says: “I
command you to send away to-morrow all the French out of the towne,
if you can by fair means, but strike not long in disputing, otherways
force them away, dryving them like so many wilde beasts, until you have
shipped them, and the devil goe with them.” How they plundered the
Queen of jewels and plate, and of the money they owed in Drury Lane,
and of the scuffle they had with the King’s Guards who turned them
out of Somerset House, is a piquant story. To this day in the vaults,
beside dusty documents, three stones record the last resting-place of
all that is mortal of three of the Queen’s faithful French servants,--a
scullion, a chaplain, and a waiting-woman.


With London date letter for 1599. Decorated in formal strap work and
foliated design incised in outline.

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Crichton Brothers._)]


Marked with leopard’s head, lion rampant, and London date letter for
1572. Decorated in chased floriated design.

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Crichton Brothers._)]

In these troublous Stuart times many pieces of silver were buried
by the owners who never came back, and they may still lie buried to
this day. Others were disinterred and proudly grace some of our fine
collections. One thinks of John Rivett, the blacksmith, who delivered
up broken pieces of copper to the Puritan iconoclasts who had directed
him to break up the equestrian statue of Charles I. But the statue
itself he buried in his garden at Holborn Fields by night, and at the
Restoration it was re-erected in its old place at Charing Cross, where
it now stands. Without doubt, some of our most treasured plate has had
as eventful a history as the “Man on the Black Horse.”

Elizabethan Flagons

To leave standing cups and retrace our steps, we may examine another
class of vessel, the flagon. This is tall and usually rotund in shape,
having a narrow neck. It belongs to the sixteenth century. Many of
the specimens remaining are among communion plate, but its use was not
confined to ecclesiastical purposes. The name is of ancient origin, and
was possibly at first applied to any vessel holding drink--the Danish
word _flacon_ goes back many centuries. We find various references to
it in the older writers. Bacon writes: “More had sent him by a suitor
in Chancery two silver flagons,” and Shakespeare, in _Hamlet_, has
“A mad rogue! he pour’d a flagon of Rhenish on my head once.” The
relationship of the flagon to the tankard is a close one. The form
as it continued to the end of the eighteenth century was practically
unchanged from that of the earliest known types. It differs from
the Italianate ewer with its slender neck and graceful proportions.
Ale obviously required a broad, swelling vessel. There is nothing
finnicking about that old English beverage. But wine necessitated
something more delicate. Although nothing in silver has emulated the
modern long, thin-necked, glass claret jugs with silver mounts, yet
there has always been a distinction between ale, the popular drink of
the people, and wine of foreign origin more pleasing to the palate of
the connoisseur.

In the two Elizabethan examples illustrated (page 105), it will be
seen that although taller and more grandiose, these are the prototypes
of the later tankard, of which the definite form was established in
the seventeenth century. The evolution of design, whether it be a
continuity of the same technique and medium, or an adaption by the
silver worker of the forms of the glass worker, the potter, or the
woodworker, is always interesting to the student. There is little
doubt that these silver tankards were in a measure derivative from
Scandinavian types belonging to the earlier era. Man did not on a
sudden invent new shapes for everyday use which no other man, in no
other country or in no other age, had ever conceived. The salt-glazed
stoneware of Germany and Flanders without doubt introduced new fashions
to the silversmith. The canettes of Jacqueline Countess of Hainault in
the fifteenth century, _Vrouw Jacoba’s Kannetjes_, the Cologne cannette
of stoneware of middle sixteenth century days, and the Flemish cruche,
a decorated jug with a pewter lid and mounts, all had an influence on
the silversmith. But the law of supply and demand, even in early days,
was something which could not be gainsaid. Man himself determined what
was best fitted to his needs.

It will be seen that the earlier example of the two illustrated is
dated in London, 1572, the year of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew.
It has the almost straight sides, narrowing slightly towards the top
and broadening towards the foot. It is decorated with chased floriated
design, relieved by vertical bands continued on the cover to the apex.
The cover is surmounted by a button, in form like a seal-top spoon of a
later era. The handle is bold, and it lacks the strengthening band at
the base which is shown in the adjacent example, where the handle is
joined to the barrel by a band. The marks will be seen on the face of
the piece in the middle of the surface below the cover.

The other example bears the London date letter for 1599, towards the
close of Elizabeth’s reign. The piece is of fine proportions, with
massive scroll handle. The cover, as in these earlier examples, is
dome-shaped, and is surmounted by a circular radiating disc with
baluster ornament. The billet, or thumb-piece, is chased with a man’s
head. The decoration of the barrel is of the style frequently found
upon tankards and bell salts of the late Elizabethan period and in the
early years of James I, that is formal strap work, and scroll leafage
incised in outline. The ground between is matted. In passing it may be
noticed that this strap design was seized later by the woodworker in
his panel work. The body rests on an applied foot, which is repoussé
and chased with scroll outlines, similar to the cover. Two bands
pass around the barrel and the lower one secures the handle. A panel
with female head in relief adds dignity to a specimen which is of
exceptional character.

Seventeenth Century Tankards

The word “tankard” belongs to an earlier period than the seventeenth
century. It is of widespread derivation. In old French it is
_tanquaerd_, in old Dutch it is _tankaerd_, and in Irish it is
_tancaird_. And no doubt all three races drank well from these vessels.
In the sixteenth century Ben Jonson says:

    Hath his _tankard_ touch’d your brain?
    Sure they’re fall’n asleep again.

[Illustration: TANKARDS.


Maker, David Williams.

Scroll handle with applique row of rosettes.


Chased acanthus leaf handle with beaded ornament. Lower part chased
with acanthus leaves.]

[Illustration: CHARLES II TANKARDS. 1684.

Maker, George Gibson, York.

Maker, William Busfield, York.

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Crichton Brothers._)]

“When any calls for ale,” says Swift, “fill the largest _tankard_
cup top full.” But silversmiths and collectors have their own
nomenclature apart from poets, and the tankard belongs, in spite of
literary proof to the contrary, to the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries. It is the poet, again, who has continued the use of the word
flagon, regardless of the anachronism. Be it a tankard, a mug, jug,
can, pot, bottle or glass, such prosaic terms are swept aside in verse
to figure as the “flagon” or the “flowing bowl.”

The tankard of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries becomes more
utilitarian, and more national in character. The body is drum-like
in form, and the cover is flat. In order to show how little the form
differed from Charles II to William III, the examples illustrated on
page 111 prove this point. The earlier example, on the right, is chased
with acanthus and palm leaves. The beaded ornament on the handle is a
feature in both.

Two other specimens are illustrated on page 111, both with the York
date letter B for 1684, the year before the death of Charles II.
One is made by George Gibson and the other by William Busfield. The
taller tankard has a flat two-membered lid, and the other has a flat
one-membered lid. In both these examples it is observable that the
scroll handles have an extension of no utilitarian value. It is not
beautiful nor useful. In comparison with the William III example
illustrated on same page, the difference will at once be seen. In these
examples a noticeable feature is the moulded base. Gradually the spread
foot became of diminished size. It was of no practical use. Later forms
show a restraint, almost a poverty of symmetrical design, by the
absence of the foot. The form becomes more squat. We are accustomed to
it in English plate, but it compares slightly unfavourably with foreign
plate, where the balance is more sustained. The massive handle really
demands a more solid base. In the York examples, where the finials
of the handle trail on the ground, it is especially noticeable. The
billets or thumb-pieces are evidently designed for ornament, and follow
earlier examples of greater proportions. If they err, they err on the
side of strength.

In the Exeter example illustrated on page 115, the maker’s mark is
~Ao.~, and the piece also bears the stamped marks of Britannia and
the lion’s head erased, denoting the higher standard. The date letter
is for 1705. This is typically Queen Anne style, and is a year after
Marlborough’s great victory at Blenheim. The scroll handle is massive
and the terminal is level with the base. The marks are illustrated
at the foot of the page, and can be seen clearly on the body of the
piece below the cover. It is an extremely interesting specimen, worthy
of the cabinet of the collector. The thumb-piece is in the form of a
convoluted scroll resembling the shell-like ornament placed on early
salt cellars. It is essentially a metal-worker’s device, but it may be
remarked that in salt cellars of faience the same ornament is used. The
Lambeth delft salt cellar of the late seventeenth century, illustrated
on page 161, indicates this parallel between the potter and the

[Illustration: QUEEN ANNE TANKARD.

With Exeter marks for 1705. Maker’s mark Ao. Including the Higher
Standard marks.

(Illustrated above.)

(_By courtesy of Spencer Cox, Esq._)]

[Illustration: GEORGE II MUG.

With Exeter marks for 1733 illustrated.


With Exeter marks for 1748 (illustrated p. 391).

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Ellett Lake & Son, Exeter._)]

The other two Exeter examples are illustrated on page 117, and are of
the period of George II. It will be seen that the cover leaves the
flat form hitherto fixed during a long period extending back to Charles
II, and begins to resume the domed shape of the early Elizabethan
types. But there is no knob or button with baluster ornament such as in
the earlier forms. The dome top of the later period is exceptionally
reticent. In turning back to the William III example illustrated on
page 111, in date 1701, it will be seen that the flat top did, on
occasion, have an ornament; in this example the ornament takes an
elaborate form, but as a rule the flat-topped tankard without ornament
may be said to extend from about 1640 to 1740. In the Exeter tankard,
dated 1748, the handle still follows the previous styles, and adds an
ornamental form in its terminal which gives a pleasing effect with its
terminal in double curves. The adjacent mug is the precursor of the new
form of vessel which became individual. The tankard was passed around
and followed the custom observed in the loving-cup. But the mug was
personal and exhibited a change in the drinking habits of the common
folk. It became a common utensil in inns in pewter, and its proportions
were governed by statute. The date of this silver mug is 1733, in the
reign of George II. The marks, with the Exeter date letter for the year
1733, are shown under the illustration (page 117).

The Stuart Beaker

The potter and the glassworker were always dogging the heels of the
silversmith. Now and again the silversmith borrowed an idea from
the other arts. The Stuart beakers are a class apart. We illustrate
examples from the opening years of the seventeenth century--James I,
1606, to the days of Charles II. The James I beaker, in date 1606,
shows the engraved floral design of well-balanced proportions. It is
a tall, cylindrical vessel, and the decoration is in keeping with
the surface to be ornamented. The engraving slightly suggests in its
character, though not in its technique, the strapwork decoration of the
same period. The marks of this piece are given on page 361.

These are interesting illustrations of evolution. The second example
of the time of Charles I shows a slackness in design which compares
unfavourably with the specimen of the previous reign. This is a piece
just prior to the outburst of the Civil War. Even here, slight as is
the engraving, we catch the suggestion of the later Stuart lozenge
decoration employed in other arts, as for instance in furniture,
notably in Stuart chair backs of this period. The love for the
parallelogram was not confined to the silver worker.

The Charles II beaker, in date 1671, is without ornament. It was made a
year after the infamous secret treaty of Dover, when Charles II became
a pensioner of Louis XIV to the tune of £150,000 down and £225,000 a

[Illustration: JAMES I BEAKER. 1606.



Marks (illustrated p. 361.)

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Elkington & Co._)]

The process of evolution is plain. First the tall shape with the
spreading foot, followed by the squatter form with less ornament where
the foot disappears, and is succeeded in a short time by the plain
type. Here we have the precursor of the glass tumbler. What the
silversmith made was obviously too expensive for the ordinary person.
The glass workers introduced by the Duke of Buckingham from Venice in
the reign of Charles II found a fashion ready to their hands. This
silver beaker of the days of the Merry Monarch stands as a prototype of
the modern glass tumbler. The succession of forms is something to be
proud of in the history of a country. The peculiar usage of words, the
continuance of old observances, and the development of costume, have
each found exponents to specialize on the evolution of types and the
succession to present forms. But who has idealized the glass tumbler of
the public-house bar? Here in silver is the definite prototype, and no
glass maker has invented anything more suitable. For wear and tear he
has made the base thicker, or shall we say to disguise the fact that
the glass contains less than it purports to hold?

The Wine Cup

The Stuart wine cups of silver are of exceptional interest. They are of
graceful form and exhibit a variety of baluster ornament of pleasing
character. The tall wine cup of the time of James I is the work of
Peter Peterson, a noted silversmith of Norwich. The Norwich mark of the
castle and the maker’s mark of the orb and cross are clearly visible
in the illustration of the cup itself, and are further illustrated on
page 395. The stem is slender and of baluster form. The upper part of
the bowl has small trefoils of engraved ornament depending on the line
running around the brim. The lower part of the bowl is embossed with
leaves and floral conventional pattern. The foot is similarly embossed.

Sometimes these wine cups, or grace cups as they are termed, because
it is believed that they were used at the end of a banquet to drink a
grace, have octagonal bowls. These are found in the early seventeenth
century. Other forms are like the modern open-bowled champagne-glass.

Charles I wine cups obviously are not common. The Civil War laid
a heavy toll on such portable articles. During the Commonwealth,
according to all report, in the words of Butler in his _Hudibras_, the
Roundheads had a tendency to

    Compound for sins they are inclin’d to
    By damning those they have no mind to,

and we have Lord Macaulay’s well-known pronouncement that the Puritans
condemned bear-baiting not so much for the pain which it gave to the
bear, as for the pleasure which it gave to the spectators. It is not to
be supposed, therefore, that wine cups of the Commonwealth period were
much in evidence. To come to the days of Charles II, the Great Fire of
London in 1666 did enormous damage. The Clothworkers’ Hall burnt for
three days and nights on account of the oil in the cellars. The Pepys
Cup happily was saved, as we have seen. This was in September, but so
great was the area of the fire in the city that the ground continued
to smoke in December. Lady Carteret told Pepys that pieces of burned
paper were driven by the wind as far as Cranborne in Windsor Forest.
London remained in ruins till 1668. Pepys goes to Whitehall at the
outset of the fire to tell the King what he had seen, and he suggested
precautions by blowing up houses to stop the spread of the fire. Pepys
is solicitous for the safety of the Navy Office, which was between
Crutched Friars and Seething Lane, and Sir William Penn brought the
workmen from Woolwich and Deptford yards to demolish houses on the
“Tower Street and Fenchurch sides.” It is interesting to read that the
Diarist sent off his money, plate, and valuables to Sir W. Rider at
Bethnal Green, and then he and Sir William Penn dug a hole in their
garden in which they put their wine and Parmezan cheese. All this is
piquant in regard to the vicissitudes of fortune through which our old
plate has passed.

[Illustration: JAMES I TALL WINE CUP.

Norwich hall-mark. Maker, Peter Peterson.

(Marks illustrated p. 395.)

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Crichton Brothers._)]

The examples of wine cups illustrated on page 129 show two forms. One
is taller than the other, and they stand as the great prototypes in
solid silver of our modern wine glasses. Indeed, there is nothing to
indicate that they are of silver in the illustration, save the dark
surface of the bowl. It is pleasant to be able to give a Charles I
piece dated 1631. The maker of this is William Shute. This belongs to
the earlier period of the reign of Charles I, when the shadows were
deepening. It is a delicately balanced cup with slender stem and finely
proportioned baluster ornament. The marks are illustrated page 361. The
other cup is of the Charles II period, and the marks are shown beneath,
the maker’s being P. D. and the date letter being ~h~ for 1665, an
eventful year. The Plague of London was now at its height. The first
Dutch war commenced, and in June the Dutch were defeated under Van
Tromp at Lowestoft.

The adjacent illustration (page 129) shows other contemporary metal
work. Here is a brass candlestick of the middle seventeenth century.
The baluster ornament is common to the silver cup and to the brass
candlestick. No two of these candlesticks are alike, the baluster
ornament varying according to the individual mood of the maker. It is
the same factor which predominates in Jacobean furniture with turned
rails with varying ornaments. The chain is complete. The silversmith,
the brass-worker, the woodcarver, and the glassblower each found,
according to his technique, this style of ornament pleasing to his
mind. Accordingly the collector who comes after may see for himself
the influence each has had on the other. The student may see in the
established form of the stem of the modern wine glass something
tempting him to linger over the process of evolution.

The Punch-bowl

Artists and writers have made the punch-bowl of the eighteenth century
familiar. The china collector well knows that it was not always
of silver. The amateur collector is always to the fore with his
punch-ladle with silver bowl and ebony handle, and the said ladle must
always have a coin of the period soldered at the bottom of the bowl
to denote its genuineness. Alas! so few of these are authentic. The
coin, which among other things should be the stamp of veracity, does
not agree with the hall-marks--and one lie in a piece damns it in its
entirety. It is a sad story, but punch-ladles seem to be the first step
in obliquity of the faker. They are easy to make, and apparently easy
to palm off on the young collector. There are hundreds of people who
have a punch-ladle with a history--not the real history--but they have
not a punch-bowl. It is like having a bridle without a horse.


Taller, 1631 (Charles I). Maker, William Shute. (Marks illustrated p.

Smaller, 1665 (Charles II). (Marks illustrated beneath.)

(_In possession of Messrs. Garrard._)]


English Middle Seventeenth Century.

Height 7 in.

(_In collection of author._)]

The “Monteith” form of punch-bowl, with removable rim of scalloped
form, made thus for the insertion of wine glasses, was known as early
as 1701. Nobody can say why the term “Monteith” was applied to this,
but presumably it was taken from the inventor or first user, much in
the same manner as our current words, sandwich, orrery, cardigan,
wellington, identify objects first used by, or contemporary with, the
persons whose names they bear.

The punch-bowl is comparatively modern, inasmuch as the beverage itself
is not of ancient date. The word “punch” is said to have been derived
from the Hindustani, signifying the five ingredients--spirit, water,
sugar, lemon, and spice. “A quart of ale is a dish for a king,” says
Shakespeare in _A Winter’s Tale_; “Then to the spicy nut-brown ale,”
says Milton in his _L’Allegro_. With the advent of William III there
is no doubt that spirit drinking became prevalent, though it was not
till the middle of the eighteenth century that the evil became a
national crime fostered by the greed of the Government for taxes. The
drunkenness in the reign of George II was appalling. William Hogarth,
the great satirist of the eighteenth century, holds the mirror to
his day in the two prints, _Beer Street_ and _Gin Lane_, published
in 1751. In the former, though it cannot be said to be idyllic, the
comparative prosperity of the populace under the beer-drinking regime
is satirically compared with their condition under the dominion of Gin
in his companion picture, where for gruesome details the graver of the
satirist is unsurpassed. In the foreground of this truly horrible print
is a woman half in rags, evidently in a drunken condition, while the
infant is slipping from her arms into a cellar, from which hangs the
distiller’s spirit measure. Hogarth does not believe in half-truths.
A stupefied wretch close by is clutching a keg of gin. On an adjacent
parapet a dog is sharing a bone with a sot. The pawnbroker is shown as
doing a busy trade. A woman is giving gin to her infant from a glass.
The tottering buildings with falling bricks are symbolic of the utter
rottenness of the social fabric. The spire of St. George’s, Bloomsbury,
stands out as indicative of the aloofness of the Church to this
devilish orgy. St. Giles is triumphant. The lurid background completes
a terrible indictment of the Government of the day--the ghouls lifting
a man into a coffin with a naked child at the foot, the bandaged heads
and lifted stools of a drunken mob, the drunken man in a wheelbarrow
with more gin being poured down his throat. Hogarth with his touch of
irony combines the pathos of tears, young children standing innocently
apathetic to all this, the everyday environment of their lives. This
was Hogarth’s biting criticism on the attempt to stimulate the drinking
of spirits and decrease the consumption of beer. Hogarth is coarse, he
is offensive, he is brutal; but he deserves well of all who love truth.
Rabelais had to paint his satires in gigantic gruesomeness to reach the
ear of his day. Brutishness cannot be exorcised by the sprinkling of

The punch-bowl comes straight from this period. We take it as we find
it, symbolic of days when Members of Parliament did not disdain to
hiccough their drunken speeches in the House, when Cabinet Ministers
were not ashamed of being drunk.

This belongs to the early Georgian era; it is associated with Jacobite
plots, with suppers held in secret, with toasts drunk in solemn ritual
to the King over the water. It belongs to the hunting squires and
parsons too, to the nabobs from “John Company,” and to the nebulous
period of Hanoverian ascendancy. The Stuarts were dead with their
fateful, romantic, and final downfall. Their memory lingered in the
people’s hearts; it was kept alive by the old religion, and it haunted
the songs of the people. But the Georges, by law elect, had planted
their feet firmly--and the House of Hanover survived all romance.

Among the classes of punch-bowls the Monteith takes the aristocratic
place. Its decoration is pretentious. Its utility, with its removable
rim with the scalloped edge, is its claim to recognition, by the
collector. The specimen illustrated (page 135), in date 1704, comes
straight from the days when Charles Mordaunt, Lord Peterborough,
performed his marvellous exploits in Spain. He captured Barcelona in
1705. Scholar, wit, man of fashion, he was Commander-in-Chief of the
armies and the fleet in the Spanish War. He was as chivalrous as Don
Quixote. He married Anastasia Robinson, the _prima donna_ of her day.
“Brave to temerity, liberal to profusion, courteous in his dealings
with his enemies, a protector of the oppressed, an adorer of woman--the
last of the knights-errant. He lived,” says Walpole, his biographer, “a
romance, but was capable of making it a history.” This specimen comes
straight from these days of sea fight and land fight in Spain and in
the Low Countries under Marlborough, when “our army,” to quote Uncle
Toby, “swore terribly in Flanders.”

The Queen Anne soberness of design seems to have been discarded in
these Monteiths. There is something rococo and elaborate, as though in
defiance of established reticence. The heavy ornament of lion’s head
and handles, the massive gadrooned edge of the scalloped design, the
bowl deeply fluted, the embossed medallion with coat of arms, and the
foot enriched with beaded ornament, all indicate that such specimens
were regarded as the Standing Cup, so to speak, of the period.

With the punch-bowl an end practically is made of silver vessels for
drinking. The sovereignty of glass was now established. Porcelain and
even earthenware had made inroads into the silversmith’s domain. The
age of modernity was at hand.

[Illustration: “MONTEITH” PUNCH BOWL. LONDON, 1704.

Higher Standard Marks and Maker, Andrew Fogelberg.

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Elkington & Co._)]


Prices are always problematical. Specimens vary according to state, and
other factors determining the price per ounce at which they are sold.
Some of the following prices obtained at auction may be of interest to


These are among the most sumptuous pieces of English silver. Prices
always range high.

  Tudor cup, 6 oz. 15 dwt. (1525)                            880
       “     on foot, 14 oz. 3 dwts. (1521)                4,130@
       ”     and cover (James I) (1640), 66 oz.            4,000@
  Standing cup, Charles I, 470s. per oz.                      82
       “        Charles II, 1 oz. 13 dwts., 520s. per oz.     42@
  Loving-cup, Charles II (1678), 170s. per oz.                69
       ”      William and Mary (1688), 165s. per oz.          88@
       “      Queen Anne (1703), 120s. per oz.               140@@


  James I tankard (1504)                                   1,720
  Elizabethan tankard and cover (1599), 21 oz. 15 dwt.
                                      (a record price)     2,300
  Elizabethan (Huth sale) (1573)                           1,700
  Charles I plain tankard (1629), 750s. per oz.              667
  Plain tankard; York; maker, Marmaduke Best (1671),
    195s. per oz.                                            234
  Commonwealth (1649), maker AF., 290s. per oz.              413

The range of prices is: Commonwealth, about £20 per oz.; Charles II, £8
to £10 per oz.; William and Mary, £4 per oz.; Anne, £2 per oz.; George
I, 20s. per oz.


  Henry VII, silver-gilt (1496), 6 oz. 16 dwt. sold in 1902  1,270
  Elizabethan (1599), 490s. per oz.                            197
  Charles I (1635), 315s. per oz.                               73
  Charles II (1662), 290s. per oz.                              46
  William III (1699), 170s. per oz.                             66


  Elizabethan goblet, 7 oz., 530s. per oz.               188
  Charles I, wine cup (1638), 3 oz. 14 dwts.              88
  Commonwealth Goblet (1650); maker, HS., 800s. per oz.  118


  William III “Monteith” (1701), 100s. per oz.           398
  Queen Anne “Monteith” (1705), 70s. per oz.             267
  Punch-bowl (1750), 23s. per oz.                         15


[3] These initials, found on a James II mug, with the date letter for
1685, are illustrated p. 369.





  Early salt cellars--The standing salt--The hour-glass form--The
      bell-shaped salt--The seventeenth century--octagonal and circular
      types--The eighteenth century--trencher salts--Tripod salts--The
      openwork style with glass liner--The evolution of form in the
      salt cellar of the later periods.

In the old days when costume determined the gentle from the simple,
when demarcations of rank were definitely pronounced, when men wore
feathers in their hats and swords at their sides, when retainers and
menials sat at the same board with their lord and lady, the customs
of the table were not our customs. It was only in Elizabeth’s day,
when dinner was served at a long table, that the oaken floor replaced
rushes. The diners threw bones to the dogs, and although sweet sounds
came from the musician’s gallery, the scene one may recall is one
rather of barbaric splendour than of luxurious refinement. To him who
loves to quicken the dry bones of collecting into something pulsating
with life, the salt cellar provides a delight which is not easily
equalled. It was an honoured guest at every feast. It was the social
thermometer which marked the exact degree of rank of the sitters.
Persons of distinction sat above the salt, and between it and the head
of the table. Those who sat below the salt were dependents and inferior

If only these salt cellars reproduced as illustrations could give
tongue to the secrets they caught in whisper from the upper end of
the table before the withdrawing chamber, prototype of our modern
drawing-room, became a necessity! If walls had ears, and if the salt
cellars of Tudor England or of the stormy days of the Stuarts could
have been fitted with American gramophone wax cylinders, the by-ways of
secret history would be less tangled to the historian.

Had this been the case, modern millionaires would have been in
competition with one another to secure precious records, as it is
only a rich man who can afford to gather together a representative
collection of old salt cellars. But for all that, the collector with
small means, who is less ambitious, may obtain specimens that are of
exceptional interest, and in his quest he may, even in these days when
collectors scour Europe, come across an example which may be antique.

As may be imagined, these “salts” are very varied in character. They
may be of silver, of earthenware, or of ivory. They may be of simple
form with little to distinguish them artistically, or, on the other
hand, of such intricate design and rare workmanship as to make them
superb examples of the art of the jeweller or silversmith.

[Illustration: STANDING SALT CELLAR. GOTHIC PERIOD. _c._ 1500.

Hour-glass form. Height 9ⁱ/₄ in. From a drawing by De la Motte.

(_At Christ’s College, Cambridge._)]

Take, for instance, the salt cellar sold at Christie’s in 1902 for
£3,000. It was only 7⁵/₈ inches in height. It is silver-gilt, bearing
the London hall-mark for 1577, and the maker’s mark, a hooded falcon,
probably the work of Thomas Bampton, of the “Falcon.” The receptacle
for the salt is of rock crystal, and the base stands upon claw feet,
which are of crystal. The cover is square, having a circular dome top,
above which stands a delicately modelled figure of a cherub as an apex.

A standing salt of the time of James I, with the London hall-mark for
1613, was sold at Christie’s in 1903 for £1,150. The height of this is
11³/₈ inches, and beyond its special value on account of its age and
rarity, its form is not possessed of greater elegance than many a lowly
pepper caster whose presence it would scorn on the same board.

From the rare Henri II majolica of the sixteenth century to the humble
trencher salt, the range of salt cellars is a comprehensive one.
The most sumptuous examples, set in a magnificence of chased design
exhibiting the finest craftsmanship of the goldsmith and silversmith,
command high prices on account of their rarity, and old salts of
exceptional character place their collecting in the hands of the
elect whose cabinets are known all over the world. But there are many
lesser examples of the silversmith’s work, and it is not yet too late
to acquire pieces suggestive of days when at the table “the jest was
crowned at the upper end and the lower half made echo.”

The City Companies possess many fine examples, and among the college
plate at Oxford and Cambridge there are many unequalled specimens of
the high-standing old salts. There is the silver-gilt plain salt
presented by Roger Dunster to the Clothworkers’ Company in 1641, and
another a drum-shaped salt, silver-gilt, the “Guift of Daniel Waldo,
Clothworker, Esquire, an^{o} 1660.” Then there is the circular salt
and cover, 22 inches high, of the Goldsmiths’ Company, with the date
letter of the year 1601, which was “the guift of Richard Rogers,
Comptroller of His Maj^{ties} Mynt” ... “desiring the same may bee
used at their solemne meetings and to bee remembered as a good
benefactor, anno d^{ni} 1632.” This salt has a body of glass, round
which are two silver-gilt collars in chased and repoussé work. The
Goldsmiths’ Company have other salts, notably one the “Gift of Thomas
Seymour” in 1693. The Haberdashers’ Company have a circular salt the
gift of Sir Hugh Hammersley in 1636. The Innholders’ Company have two
circular salts the gift of John Wetterworth in 1626, and a circular
salt, silver-gilt, 16 inches high, with a dome raised on four scrolls,
terminated by an obelisk, the gift of Anne, widow of John Sweete, 1635.
The Ironmongers’ Company have two fine silver salts, parcel gilt,
shaped like hour-glasses, having six-foiled sides, in three of which is
foliage engraved. The date of one is 1518 and of the other 1522. The
Skinners’ Company have a silver-gilt octagonal salt 9 inches high, the
gift of Ben Albin, a member, in 1676. The Mercers’ Company salts we are
enabled to illustrate by courteous permission. The Vintners’ Company
have a fine silver-gilt salt, the gift of John Powel, Master of the
Company, in 1702. It is like a square casket in form, with panels
richly decorated in bold relief with figures, and the cover surmounted
by an urn upon which stands a female figure.


Having compartments for salt and spices. On three ball feet. London
1601. Decorated with designs of roses in flat chasing in upright panels.

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Crichton Brothers._)]

Some rare examples are in the possession of corporate bodies. There is
the silver-gilt salt and cover, 15¹/₄ inches high, belonging to the
Corporation of Norwich. This is, as the inscription indicates, “The
Gyfte of Petar Reade Esqviar.” The plate marks are a roman capital
letter D, the arms of Norwich, and a cross mound within a lozenge. It
was made at Norwich, and its date is not later than 1568, for Peter
Reade died in that year.

Then there is the wonderful Ashburnham salt cellar and cover of the
time of Henry VII, the earliest standing salt, 12¹/₂ inches high,
bearing the London hall-mark of the year 1508, and the maker’s mark, a
rising sun. This was bought by Messrs. Crichton Brothers for £5,600.

Later salt cellars, while still being collectors’ pieces, depart from
the older form when “below the salt” had no meaning. The old silver
salt cellars of Queen Anne and Georgian days are another story. The
elegance of form and the quaint reticence of design make them desirable
acquisitions for any modern dining-table.

During the past twenty years, when the furniture of Chippendale and
of Sheraton has been collected with such avidity to refurnish old
homes and to give age to modern mansions, the demand for old silver
accessories of the table has been equally great. In consequence,
spurious silver of later date, with the old hall-marks cunningly
inserted, has appeared in great quantities. As a warning to the
collector of “old salts,” it cannot too strongly be urged that in his
earliest flights he should consult a friend who has passed through the
same stages before him. The same advice is, unfortunately, necessary in
connection with collecting old china and old furniture. The literature
of these two subjects is more ready to hand, and there are many popular
handbooks designed to set the feet of the novice in collecting on
the right path. In silver collecting there is always a sure road. In
furniture or in china there is no puissant company of furniture experts
or china moralists. The buyer may be advised to use his common sense
and demand that the dealer put on the invoice the exact description of
the goods he is selling. If after expert advice the purchaser finds
he has been deceived, he has his remedy in a court of law. But with
silver, there are the hall-marks determined by law for the protection
of the public. The Goldsmiths’ Company exist to safeguard the public
against fraud, and their honourable traditions extend, as we have seen,
over four hundred years. If any buyer has any doubt as to the London
marks or the provincial marks on a piece of silver he has purchased,
it is easy to establish their authenticity. If, for instance, the mark
is a London one, the Goldsmiths’ Company would obviously be pleased to
discover the identity of any one counterfeiting their ancient marks.
They have statutory powers to inflict fines on persons convicted of
such malpractices, and in the public interest they would naturally
prosecute inquiries as to how false marks came to be placed on
silver purporting to be assayed by an old and honourable company.


Silver-gilt. Dated 1638, and having London hall-mark of that date.

Greatest height 6³/₁₆ in.

Engraved with the arms of the Mercers’ Company and the arms of John
Dethick, the donor.

(See marks illustrated p. 365.)

(_By courtesy of the Mercers’ Company._)]

You may search the chronological tables of the statutes through and
through, and you will find nothing relative to punishments specially
laid down to meet the case of fabricators of old furniture or old
china, but in regard to forging old silver marks there are a multitude
of protective measures. There is reform needed in the laws relating to
silver, and urgently needed. We offer this suggestion to some Member of
Parliament bursting to distinguish himself. It was urgently recommended
by the Committee of 1856, and a Bill was prepared by the Commissioners
of Inland Revenue in 1857, but nothing came of it. The Select Committee
of the House of Commons, again, in 1879 made further recommendations,
but no restrictive measure has ever been laid before Parliament.
“There is much to say for the old demand of the Goldsmiths’ Company
for further powers of enforcing the law than the mere right to sue for
penalties. Sales by auction now take place with practical impunity, no
matter how spurious and debased the goods may be, and there is evidence
and to spare to show that the general sense of the trade and the public
is in favour of the preservations of the old guarantee.”

The study of salt cellars suggests a flying word on the salt spoon. To
quote from an essay by Addison, dated 1711, the _Spectator_ says, in
an account he gives of dining with a fine lady: “In the midst of these
my Musings she desires me to reach her a little Salt upon the point
of my Knife, which I did in such Trepidation and hurry of Obedience,
that I let it drop by the way, at which she immediately startled
and said it fell towards her. Upon this I looked very blank; and,
observing the Concern of the whole Table, began to consider myself with
some confusion, as a person that had brought some Disaster upon the
Family.” This is a pretty picture of eighteenth century “high life.”
The superstition concerning the spilling of salt is still with us, but
helping salt with a knife is no longer in fashion in “polite society.”

In general salt cellars may be classified as follows, commencing with
the Standing Salt, with its determination of rank as to those who sat
above the salt and those who sat below it:--

  =Standing Salts.=--The earliest are shaped like hour-glasses. These
        belong to the fifteenth and first half of sixteenth century.

        Cylindrical and casket forms, with rich ornamentation in
        repoussé work, with chased figures and surmounted by cover with
        standing figure, are found in the sixteenth century. _E.g._ the
        Standing Salt, part of the Stoke Prior treasure, dated 1563 (at
        the Victoria and Albert Museum).

        The Bell-shaped Salt is of the late sixteenth and early
        seventeenth century, and the tall Steeple Salt belongs to the
        same period. The above types often had compartments in tiers
        reserved for spices.


With four guards. London, 1679.

Having the arms of the company and inscribed “_Ex dono Henrici
Sumner. Mr._” This is known as the Sumner Salt, the gift of the
Master of that date.

Greatest height 8³/₈ in.

(For marks see p. 357.)

(_By courtesy of the Mercers’ Company._)]

        The circular and octagonal forms of lesser height, with three
        and sometimes four guards with scroll ends, belong to the
        seventeenth century.

  =Trencher Salts.=--These were in use contemporaneously with the tall
        standing salts, either on less formal occasions or at the lower
        end of the table below _the_ salt.

        Early forms in the first half of the seventeenth century are
        circular (1603) or triangular (1630). These were diminutive,
        measuring only some 3 inches across, and being sometimes only 1
        inch high.

  =Eighteenth-century Salts.=--A great variety of form is apparent,
        and many styles succeeded each other, disappearing only to be
        revived a quarter of a century later. Circular (1698-1710),
        oval, octagonal (1715-40), tripod (1750). Circular with three
        feet; oblong and octagonal, slightly taller (1775), with
        pierced work on four feet, and with glass liner. Oblong, plain,
        with four feet. Tureen-shaped or boat-shaped, plain, with
        swelling foot, sometimes with rings as handles, or with two
        handles (1780). Shell-shaped salts in vogue 1788; circular,
        vase-shaped, with lions’ heads and tripod feet (1798).

  =Early Nineteenth-century Salts.=--George IV and William IV styles,
        a reversion to some of the older types. The tureen and the
        circular-shaped salt, with four or three feet (1820-1830).
        Circular bowls on stands, with tripod and elaborate feet, the
        fashion (1810-1830). Many pieces betray classical influence.

The illustrations of the various types of salt cellars should be
sufficient to indicate to the reader the great field which is open to
him. The examples range from the rarer earlier periods to the beginning
of the nineteenth century. The descriptions given of the successive
stages in fashion and in design should stimulate the interest of the
student in regard to the undercurrents of evolution progressive, and
often retrogressive, through three centuries of the silversmith’s art.

The standing salt, in hour-glass form, of the Gothic period at Christ’s
College, Cambridge, illustrated (page 143), is in date about 1500. Its
height is 9¹/₄ inches. It belongs to that great period of Henry VII.
It is contemporary with the magnificent chapel in Westminster Abbey.
It has survived the spoliation of the days of Henry VIII. Its perfect
symmetry, its delicate ornament, its exquisite grace delight the eye.
There is nothing redundant, nothing that calls for amendment. It stands
as a perfect creation of the English silversmith. The unwritten, and
never to be written, history of such a piece is not the least which
appeals to us nowadays. We may revere the exquisite craft of the
designer. But there is a tribute we owe to the sagacious custodians
who, possibly in fear of death, preserved this for posterity. Its
hiding-places, its narrow escapes, its glorious emerging into the
light of day, to occupy a niche, almost sacred, in modern regard, these
are happenings that cannot be chronicled. As an historic relic, a page
remaining from the old history of these realms, such an example claims

A fine bell salt is illustrated (page 147). It is on three ball feet.
It has the London mark, the letter D in Lombardic capitals, for 1601.
It is decorated in upright panels, with flat chasing with floral
design of roses. It is constructed in compartments for salt and spices
and pepper. These bell salts belong to the end of the sixteenth and
beginning of the seventeenth century; they are mostly on three feet.
At the Dunn-Gardner sale, in 1902, £600 was paid for a specimen. They
stand, in point of time, between the hour-glass form and the steeple
salts. Few appear to have been made, or, at any rate, few are now in
existence, and in consequence they bring great prices on account of
their rarity.

The ring at the top is noticeable, mainly as the prototype of the
ring-handle of cruets, with the same contents now in use three hundred
years afterwards. And the ball foot, peculiar to the silversmith as
something especially applicable to his technique is still retained in
silver cruets of to-day.

The circular Stuart salt cellar comes straight from the days of Charles
I. It has the date letter for 1638. See Marks illustrated page 365.
This salt stood on the Mercers’ Company table in 1642--eventful year,
when Charles was misguided enough to go in person to the House of
Commons with his guards to arrest the five members. This was the signal
for the Civil War. The salt cellar we now see was hurriedly put in the
vaults of the Mercers’ Company. The trained-bands of London were up.
The city declared for the Parliament, and Charles raised his standard
at Nottingham. John Dethick, the donor, may have fought in the civic
cause. Here is the salt he gave to his Company in those stirring days,
an illustration of which we are enabled to produce by the courtesy of
the Mercers’ Company. It has three handles with scroll ends. It is an
important piece. It is silver-gilt, and engraved with the arms of the
Mercers’ Company and the arms and crest of John Dethick.

The octagonal salt illustrated (p. 155) shows the style of Charles II.
It has four handles with scroll ends. These handles were for supporting
a napkin which was placed around the salt. It is of the year 1679,
and the marks are illustrated on page 357. It is inscribed, “_Ex dono
henrici Sumner M^{r}._” This is known as the Sumner Salt, and Henry
Sumner, the donor, was Master of the Mercers’ Company at that date. Its
diameter is 9¹/₂ inches and its greatest height is 8³/₈ inches. This is
the year of the _Habeas Corpus Act_. This Act defines the liberties of
the subject. All prisoners except those charged with felony or treason
can demand that they be brought before a judge to test the validity of
their detention. All persons charged with felony or treason must be
tried at the next sessions or else admitted to bail, or, failing this,
be discharged. No person could be recommitted for the same offence
and no person imprisoned beyond the sea. Heavy penalties were imposed
on those who violated this Act.



Late seventeenth century. Height 4¹/₂ in.


Early eighteenth century. Height 3 in.

(_In collection of author._)]

Contemporary with the silversmith’s work it is interesting to notice
in passing what the potter was doing. We illustrate (p. 161) a Lambeth
delft salt cellar of the late seventeenth century. Its height is only
4¹/₂ inches. It simulates the silver style. The guards or handles are
more shell-like in form than those of the silversmith. The technique
of the potter with his twisting of the plastic clay is responsible of
this. But the furniture maker of the period has something to add, too,
in regard to this form of ornament. In his technique it is termed the
“Spanish foot.” It appears in feet and in the scrolls of handles for

A salt cellar of Rouen faience is illustrated (p. 161) of the early
eighteenth century. In height this is 3 inches. It shows the square
form, with slight depressed surface at apex for the salt, as though
the salt were a rare commodity. It is interesting, and should help the
student to cast his eyes farther afield in attempting to arrive at
conclusions in regard to definite styles.

Of Trencher salts there is much to say. All that is not poetry is
prose, as Monsieur Jourdain found out. A salt may be Standing--that is,
it may be a ceremonial piece demanding the ritual of its order--or it
may be a mere trencher salt; the name indicates its usage. Instead of
being among the great folk, it was among the dependents at the lower
stratum of the table. Trencher salts were once menial in the earlier
periods, but as time went on the great standing salt disappeared and
trencher salts became general for gentle and simple.

Throughout the eighteenth century, from Queen Anne to George IV (1820),
and in succeeding years the salts were all trencher salts--because
there were none other.

In the early days trencher salts were associated with servility or with
dependence, but later the salt at the elbow of the master of the feast
carried with it nothing derogatory.

From Queen Anne, 1702, to the end of the reign of George I, 1727,
little difference is noticeable and the lowly trencher salt changes
very slightly. It is oblong or it becomes octagonal. But in practical
form it is substantially the same. Two specimens exhibiting this are
given (p. 165).

The circular salts, with three feet, belong to the early George III
period. The feet in these are in hoof form with cone-shaped terminals
(see illustration, p. 165).

The early George III period exhibits other varieties of the salt
cellar. There was the wire-work cellar with cast additions, and the
pierced and cut sheet silver. Most of these types are oblong in shape
and were designed to receive a glass liner. These specimens are usually
with four feet. The example dated 1769 is of wire work. The other
example adjacent with floral wreath, dated 1785, is in the French
style, which became prevalent at the last quarter of the eighteenth
century. The feet of these examples are usually claw-and-ball or lion’s
paw feet. It may be interesting to note the contemporary styles of the
chair maker. The same influences were at work governing the worker in
wood and the craftsman in metal.

[Illustration: TRENCHER SALTS.


GEORGE II. 1730.




Feet with hoof-shaped and cone-shaped terminals.

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Elkington & Co._)]



Floral wreaths and chain period in French style.


Claw and ball feet and lion’s paw feet.

Wire work with cast additions and pierced and cut sheet silver.]



Cloven hoof feet.


Feet with club terminal.

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Elkington & Co._)]

The cloven-hoof foot or the club terminal are found in the round shaped
salt cellar in the same period or slightly later. Usually this type is
found with three feet. This plain form dispenses with the glass liner.

Towards the close of the eighteenth century the styles become varied.
There is the tureen form, from which type many variations are based.
Similarly the boat-shaped salt is typical of many similar plain designs
of this nature--some with two handles.

The examples illustrated (p. 171), in vogue from 1781 to 1797, show the
generic type from which similar forms deviate.

As in the above types the swelling foot is a feature, so with other
examples, from 1789 to 1803, the foot disappears. The piece in date
1789, illustrated (p. 171), may be compared with similar circular forms
made by the Staffordshire potters in lustreware for cottage use.

The washing-tub shaped salt cellar, in date 1803, indicates the
decadence of design. The opening years of the nineteenth century show
these poor forms in replacement of the early designs.

Specimens of the days of George IV and William IV (one in date 1820 and
the other 1832) are illustrated (p. 173). Here is a reversion to older
forms, the tureen shape with gadrooned edge and with four legs, and the
circular form with three legs.

Of the circular form the classic rotund urn or vase shape seized the
fancy of the silversmith at various periods. As early as 1771 we find
the form in the perforated work, with swags and classic ornamentation,
rather suggestive of French fashions, and obviously intended for use
with a glass liner. This is illustrated (p. 173), and adjacent is a
piece dated 1810, made by Messrs. Rundell, Bridge, and Rundell, of
the late George III period. It is important, as it is silver-gilt. It
stands as typical of the attempt to popularize the Pompeiian forms. The
winged figure, found on tables of the period, the tripod feet of club
or goat-like form, the base with key-pattern ornament, stamp it as of
the First Empire. George III was not yet dead, he was only insane, and
Bonaparte had not been banished to St. Helena. In fact, Wellington was
fighting in Spain, and Waterloo had yet to be fought in 1815. But here
is a piece with the same artistic impulses as the chairs and tables at

The story of the salt cellar comes to an end. Its customs and its
dignities are lost except to those who love the delving into the record
of the manners of past days, “now here, at upper end o’ the table,
now i’ the middle.” The salt cellar has a complete history for three
hundred years, and with its evolution _pari passu_ is the march of
social custom.



  Elizabethan (1573), 10 oz.            245
       “      (1577), 13 oz. 18 dwts.   720@
  James I (bell-shaped) (1608)          336
       ”        “       (1613)        1,150@@@



The tureen-form salt, from which type many variations are based.


The boat shaped salt, typical of many similar plain designs, some with



The circular salt. Simultaneously with this the Staffordshire potters
made similar forms in lustre ware for cottage use.


The washing-tub salt. The decadence of design is shown in the opening
years of nineteenth century, when poor forms replaced the early styles.

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Elkington & Co._)]


GEORGE IV. 1820.


Three feet and four feet both employed.]



Perforated work with classic ornament.


Made by Rundell, Bridge & Rundell.

Attempt to adopt new forms, Pompeian and others; tripod feet very small.

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Elkington & Co._)]


  William and Mary, 235s. per oz.                  20
  William III (3) (1698), 132s. per oz.            60
  Queen Anne (2), oval (1708), 165s. per oz.       40
      “      (2), circular (1713), 195s. per oz.   28@
  George I bring from 60s. to 80s. per oz.
  George II bring about 30s. to 40s. per oz. Sets
      of four and six bring higher prices per oz.
      After this date prices drop considerably.@





  Early spoons and their rarity--The Apostle spoon--The seal-top
      spoon--The slipped-stalk spoon--The Puritan spoon--The Trifid
      spoon--The lobed-end spoon.

From Elizabeth to the late Georges the range of spoons is a long one,
and comprehends, in the early days, classes that are prohibitive in
price for the pocket of the average collector. There are spoons and
spoons. From the early elaborations in Apostle, or Maidenhead, or
_lion-sejant_ forms to the later styles of rat-tail teaspoon or the
fanciful caddy-spoon there is choice enough to suit the idiosyncrasies
of most collectors. Indeed, it may be said that the collecting of
spoons is a thing apart. Silversmiths themselves became specialists
when they made spoons; the craftsmen were on a plane by themselves,
and so it comes to pass that the collector, following in their wake a
couple of centuries afterwards or more, has to give special study to
this branch of silver plate.

It is not necessary, to trace the antiquity of the spoon, to revert to
Roman days, to enumerate what has been found in Saxon graves, or to
wander through the mediæval period to show the use and development of
the spoon. It is sufficient, in the present volume, to take spoons as
found in the realm of collecting.

Practically this may be said to begin at the reign of Elizabeth, though
in 1903 a set of thirteen apostle spoons was sold at Christie’s, of
the reign of Henry VIII and having the London hall-mark for 1536, for
£4,900. But this is sensational.

There is no doubt that the most popular spoon of the Tudor period, that
is including the reigns of Henry VII (1485-1509), Henry VIII (1509-47),
Edward VI (1547-53), Mary (1553-58), and Elizabeth (1558-1603), was
the well-known apostle spoon. It is rare to find any examples before
1500. The oldest known is dated 1493. They were called apostle spoons
because each spoon was surmounted with a figure of one of the apostles
with his customary emblems, such as St. Peter with the key, St. John
with the cup of sorrow, etc. They were thirteen in number to make
a complete set--that is, the twelve apostles and the Master spoon,
bearing an image of Jesus Christ, although the thirteenth in some cases
was St. Paul. The study of apostle spoons does not begin or end with
English silver. They originated on the Continent, and the goldsmiths of
Nuremburg and of Paris, of Milan and of Madrid, fashioned them in like
form, each according to the traditions and technique of his school.





_c._ 1660 (Norwich).



Showing changing form of bowl and handle.

(_At Victoria and Albert Museum._)]

It was apparently the custom in Tudor days to offer a set of these
spoons, or, if the donor were less rich, a fewer number, as a
christening gift. Sometimes only four were given, representing the
four evangelists. In modern days the gift of a christening spoon still
continues, though the spoon is shorn of its former apostle head. There
are many passages in the old English authors referring to this custom,
and numerous references in old wills bequeathing sets of these apostle
spoons as heirlooms. In Shakespeare’s _Henry VIII_, v. 2, Cranmer, who
declares his unworthiness to act as sponsor--is met with the rebuke
from the King: “Come, come, my lord, you’d spare your spoons.”

It is interesting to note the emblems usually found associated with the
different apostles. The following list will enable the collector to
identify the one from the other:--

  St. Peter--with a key or a fish.

  St. Thomas--a carpenter’s square or a spear.

  St. Andrew--a transverse or saltire cross, on which he suffered

  St. John--a cup with a winged serpent.

  St. Philip--a cross of varying form, usually on a long staff.

  St. Bartholomew--a large knife, because he was flayed in his

  St. Matthew--a wallet or purse, or sometimes a spear or an axe.

  St. Jude--a lance or a saw; sometimes a club.

  St. James the Great--a pilgrim’s staff, as pioneer missionary.

  St. Matthias--a halbert or an axe.

  St. James the Less--a fuller’s pole, because he was killed by a
      blow on the head dealt him by Simeon the fuller.

  St. Simon Zelotes--a saw, in allusion to his martyrdom.

The thirteenth is either St. Paul with a sword, or the Master spoon,
with orb and cross and hand raised in blessing. Sometimes Judas
Iscariot takes his place in lieu of one of the others, usually of St.
Matthew with the purse; and St. Mark, in some sets, replaces St. Simon;
and St. Luke occurs in lieu of St. Matthias in others.

There is no doubt that apostle spoons have been largely sought after by
collectors as something desirable and antique. They have accordingly
been manufactured by the thousand to meet such a demand, and young
collectors cannot be too careful in accepting authenticity by word
of mouth from any seller. There are always the museum examples for
ready reference. They are in glass cases easy of access, and a close
inspection can be made at the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is
little short of actually handling the specimens. This remark applies
equally to seal-top and other older forms of spoons not frequently
handled by the beginner.



St. Andrew.





1703. Newcastle.


1703. London.

Marked with Britannia and lion’s head erased.

The later spoons show the commencement of form of modern bowls.

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Crichton Brothers._)]

Sets of thirteen apostle spoons are very rare. There is Archbishop
Parker’s set at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, and including the
rare Master spoon and also St. Paul with a sword, which spoon bears the
date mark for 1515, while the others are hall-marked 1566. There is the
Swettenham set, which belonged to the Cheshire family of that name,
hall-marked 1617. The Goldsmiths’ Company have a set with the hall-mark
1626, which was presented to them some years ago by Mr. George Lambert.

We illustrate two examples of apostle spoons, one made at Exeter in
1674, representing St. Simon Zelotes (p. 189), and the other made in
London in 1648, with the figure of St. Andrew with the saltire cross
(p. 185).

Single specimens can be obtained, though prices range high; what could
be procured for £5 ten years ago now fetches £30. Whether the war
will bring prices down remains to be seen. Sixteenth-century apostle
spoons realize from £30 to £90 under the hammer, according to style,
age, condition, and other determining factors. Earlier spoons than the
sixteenth century bring higher prices, anything from £50 to £100.

The Seal-top Spoon

Contemporary with the apostle spoons were other types. The terms now
applied to them are purely collectors’ names. There was the acorn
terminal, the seated lion with a shield (_lion sejant_), the seated
owl, the pineapple, the mitre, and the head of the Virgin, which
continued for a long period and is now known as the Maidenhead variety.
But the most common was the seal-top with baluster ornament, which form
lasted well into the seventeenth century. We illustrate an example with
the London hall-mark for 1652. It will be noticed that the hall-mark
appears in the bowl of the spoon. This is the leopard’s head, and may
be observed in all early spoons of the apostle and kindred classes.

The Slipped-stalk Spoon

During the reign of Charles I (1625-49) the bowl of the spoon began
to take different proportions, and to depart from the pear-like form.
It became more oval and narrower at the base and wider near the stem.
But in regard to evolution of form, the modern spoon, as is readily
seen, is an inversion of the bowl. It is egg-shaped, but the narrowest
part is now away from the handle, whereas formerly the narrowest part
was joined to the handle. All the sixteenth and seventeenth century
spoons show the old form and the later spoons show the opposite. The
innovation is shown in the illustration, given on page 185, of early
eighteenth-century examples.

The slipped-stalk spoon was simply a radical departure from excessive
ornament. It may have been on account of religious motives, it may have
been by reason of economy. Obviously such a spoon cost less to produce
without its terminal figure. Hence we have the slipped-in-the-stalk
variety which was cut off transversely as shown in the illustration (p.
181) of an example dated 1651, during the Civil War, which form readily
developed into the so-called Puritan spoon with plain, flat handle,
which shortly exhibited wider ends. Of this style two examples are
illustrated (p. 181).



St. Simon Zelotes.

Exeter hall-mark.

Date pricked on back, 1674.


Trefoil top. Rat’s-tail back.

Maker, probably Thomas Simpson.

Exeter hall-mark 1712.

(_In possession of Messrs. J. Ellett Lake & Son, Exeter._)


Showing both sides.


(_At Victoria and Albert Museum._)]

The Trifid Spoon

This style was a passing fashion. It is obvious that such a shape with
split ends was not for posterity. The design was not pleasing nor
was the form utilitarian. The example illustrated (p. 185) was made
at Newcastle in 1703, and is marked with the figure of Britannia and
the lion’s head erased. The adjacent illustration with the London
hall-mark of the same date shows the form which was calculated to last
for a longer period. The beginning of the eighteenth century shows the
attempt of the spoon-maker to invent new forms. The Exeter example
of trifid form with the hall-mark for 1712 exhibits the rat’s-tail
back, merely a device in technique to strengthen the bowl, although
this is found as early as 1670. In 1750 this rat-tail at the back
became shorter and was known as a “crop.” Its purpose was the same, to
strengthen the handle in its juncture with the bowl.

Various varieties claimed recognition for the moment. They were
ornamental and essayed to fix new styles, but their day was short. They
stand now as collectors’ examples. The lobed end specimen illustrated
(p. 189) shows this type with ornament on the back of the bowl, which
still retains its rat-tail form in subjection. It is now merely an
ornament or a relic of a former style, as the handle ends abruptly
and somewhat clumsily before the rat-tail commences as an adjunct or
ornament. Such a fashion was not destined to live long. This has the
London hall-mark for the year 1679.

The modern spoon comes in process of evolution from these earlier
forms. The straight stem of apostle or seal-top days was still retained
in the flat Puritan form. We have seen that the bowl underwent a
change in form, but the stem or handle similarly was the subject of
inventive caprice. It became “wavy” in form in the time of William
III. The Queen Anne type, apart from its pronounced rat-tail back,
became developed in the reign of George I into a type which may be
termed the Hanoverian spoon. The outline of the end is continued in a
curve without a break. This is the new form which has continued to the
present day. Whatever ornament was introduced, whether as additional to
the bowl or to the handle, the form became established.

Simultaneously with this form, simple and utilitarian, was what
is termed the “old English,” which is found in the middle of the
eighteenth century. The handle was bent back and the rat-tail became a

The fiddle pattern in common use to-day was a late eighteenth-century
innovation. There is nothing beautiful in the ears of the fiddle
pattern, which might well be lopped off.

It will be seen that the history of spoons is a long one and
complicated by fashions. Nor is the study lightened by the various
usages to which spoons may be put. It may readily be imagined that the
use of coffee and tea brought the small spoon into commoner use. To-day
the dainty spoon at five o’clock tea is a modern usage. But there is
some suggestion that in eighteenth-century days the spoon of fashion
was trivial in character in comparison with the larger spoons in use.

Pope, the man of the town and depicter of the _beau monde_, has the

    Or o’er cold coffee trifle with the spoon,
    Count the slow clock and dine exact at noon,

suggesting the dilettante late at breakfast. Evidently the spoons were
at that date made for toying and corresponded with our modern tea and
coffee spoons.

Something should be said of the manner of marking spoons. The positions
of the hall-marks are worthy of the collector’s notice. Before the
Restoration, and for some time afterwards, the leopard’s head was
placed inside the bowl, as is shown in the illustrations we give of
various examples. During the reign of Charles II the style of marking
may be said to be transitional. In the early years some examples have
all the marks on the handle. Even towards the last years of the reign
other examples have the leopard’s head in the bowl and the rest of the
marks on the handle. After this the marks appear on the handle, and
about 1781 they were placed at the end of the handle instead of close
to the bowl, as was the former practice.



    It is impossible to fix prices. In July 1903 a set of thirteen with
    hall-mark for 1536 realized £4,900.

    Single specimens may roughly be valued as follows: Fifteenth
    century, anything from £50 to £300; sixteenth century, from £30 to
    £100; seventeenth century, £3 to £40. Six spoons (1631) brought
    £280 and a pair (1622) only £7. “Fakes” are abundant in this class.


    Prices range from £8 to £25 apiece.


    These from middle of eighteenth century are a large class, which
    should appeal to the collector of limited means. But even in this
    modest field the faker has been busy.



[Illustration: COMMONWEALTH PORRINGER.  1653.

(Marks illustrated p. 365.)]



Silver-gilt. (With marks below.)
Maker, I N (possibly Euodias Inman).

(_In possession of Messrs. Garrard._)]



  The antiquity of the Posset-pot--Its national use--The Porringer--The
      two forms contemporary with each other--Stuart examples--The
      seventeenth and eighteenth century potters--The merging of the
      two types into the bowl.

A cold climate demands hot cordials. There was no elaborate system of
hot-water pipes in the draughty, cold, and damp Elizabethan mansions
with their rush-covered floors. It was a necessity, apart from long
and deep potations of strong drinks, to take a nightcap or caudle-cup
of something hot. In the eighteenth century the drinking of hot punch
superseded this. But in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the
custom of the posset of hot sack with spices and having milk and eggs,
as a supper beverage was universal. Not that the posset-cup was idle
in the daytime. It succeeded, even if it did not replace, the standing
or loving-cup at weddings and other ceremonies. “Mix a posset for the
merry Sir John Falstaff,” might, and possibly did, refer to any hour of
the day, for that jovial soul did not stand on ceremony as to when he
drank, so long as it was copious and oft-repeated.

That the posset-cup was of something thicker than mere spiced ale or
hot wine is shown by Shakespeare’s “Thou shalt eat a posset to night at
my house” (_Merry Wives of Windsor_). And Lady Macbeth, as a last act
before the final commission of the treacherous crime, says:--

    I have drugged their possets,
    That death and nature do contend about them,
    Whether they live or die.

We have seen that the caudle was curdled milk, with wine and hot
spices, and that it was smoking hot. Shakespeare says, “We’ll have a
posset for’t soon at night, i’ faith, at the latter end of a sea-coal
fire.” It was undoubtedly hot, and it seems to have been, sometimes for
medical reasons, made doubly so. Hence Dryden writes:

    A sparing diet did her health assure;
    Or sick, a pepper posset was her cure.

The object of a vessel, in the end, determines its established form.
Its purpose being to receive a hot caudle, demanded that the posset-pot
or cup should have a cover to keep its contents warm. Its two handles
never seem to have deserted it, until it became a shallow dish or bowl
for broth. These handles undoubtedly served a purpose, but the love
of ornament and the balance of vessels which were always of beautiful
form and perfect symmetry demanded two handles, by which design they
succeeded the style of the loving-cup handed around, but it is not
possible to conceive that the posset-cup was other than for personal

[Illustration: POSSET-CUP AND COVER.

London, 1679. Cover, 1660. Height 7¹/₂ in.

(_By courtesy of Lord Dillon._)]


London, 1666.

(_Photograph by courtesy of Messrs. Crichton Brothers._)

(_In possession of A. S. M. Smedley, Esq._)]

In regard to early days the posset-cup has not survived. We have mainly
posset-cups of the Stuart period which ran contemporary with the
porringer. We might almost term this the transitional period. But the
difference is apparent. Whereas the posset-cup or pot had a cover, the
porringer had no cover. Otherwise in form there is little difference.
But it must be borne in mind that the covered vessel was a protection
against poison. When this fear was no longer prevalent the open vessel
became safe.

The illustrations show the various types. They belong mainly to the
Stuart period. It is not possible to give a posset-pot from which the
contemporaries of Falstaff drank their caudle. We can only conjecture
from frequent literary references that such vessels were in common use.
Apparently they have long disappeared, as there are few Tudor examples.
There is a fine posset-pot and cover, of gold, of the sixteenth
century, at Exeter College, Oxford.

The earliest example illustrated is a Commonwealth porringer, with the
hall-mark for 1653 (illustrated p. 197). Here evidently is a vessel
open-mouthed, and there was no intention that it should possess a
cover. It is of different form to the contemporary posset-cup, and was
not used for the same purpose. Apparently it was for something intended
to retain the heat to a lesser degree, hence the absence of the lid. It
is futile nowadays to conjecture with exactitude for what purpose these
vessels were used. But, presumably, the porringer was for something
more solid and less stimulating.

The date of this Puritan porringer is a memorable one. It belongs to
the year when the Dutch were defeated off Portland in February, again
off the North Foreland in June, and off Texel in July, when Van Tromp
was killed. In the year of this porringer Oliver Cromwell forcibly
dissolved the Rump Parliament. “Clad in plain grey clothes and grey
worsted stockings,” Oliver sat in the House listening impatiently to
Sir Harry Vane, till at length he could bear it no more. He rose, and
after charging the House with injustice and self-interest, he cried,
“Your hour is come; the Lord hath done with you.” Clapping his hat on
his head, he strode into the middle of the House with “It is fit you
should sit here no longer! You should give place to better men! You are
no Parliament!” Thirty musketeers entered at a sign from their general,
and the thirty members crowded to the door. The Speaker refused to quit
his chair, till Harrison offered to “lend him a hand to come down.”
Cromwell lifted the mace from the table. “What shall we do with this
bauble?” he said; “Take it away!”[4]

On the same page is illustrated a Charles II posset-pot and cover, with
the date mark of London for 1662, and by its side is a small porringer
of the date of 1669. This was evidently for the use of a child, which
is some indication that these smaller vessels were actually used for
something in the nature of food, and the possibility that they derive
their name from the word “porridge” is a conjecture not to be easily

[Illustration: POSSET-POT AND COVER. 1683.

(With marks illustrated beneath.)

(_At Victoria and Albert Museum._)]

The bowl of Stuart days has an ogee outline contracted towards the
mouth, giving it a pear-shaped form; this is common in porringers
and posset-pots of the seventeenth century. In the example with the
London hall-mark for 1662 the body is decorated with spheroidal
swelling lozenges, giving character to the piece. The cover is plain,
and heightens considerably the fine proportions, and is surmounted by
a knob in baluster form. The handles are delicate and of gracefully
curved form. The handles of the adjacent porringer, it will be seen,
are flat. From 1653, the date of the Commonwealth porringer, to this
latter small porringer, it will be seen that the handles are in a
transitional stage. The upper half of the handle may be likened to
a fanciful letter C, the bottom curve of which ends half-way in the
interior of the handle, the handle being continued until it joins the
bowl lower down. In the second example, 1662, the C stretches from the
juncture of the handle with the bowl at the top to its juncture again
at the lower end, the continuation of the handle below this is a slight
additional outward curve. In 1669 the handle had become a letter S.
The C form is slightly indicated by a break in the upper curve on the
inside of the handle.

A comparison of the various forms of handle illustrated in this chapter
shows that the C form in combination with the S form oscillated
throughout the seventeenth century. In the elaborate posset-cup and
cover of 1679 (illustrated p. 201) the S form would seem to have become
established; but another example, 1683 (illustrated p. 205), shows the
letter C again in strong combination with the letter S in the handle.

In 1685 the potter, we see, was troubled by no such fanciful problems.
In the pot illustrated he makes a straightforward simple handle, best
suited to his technique. Of the same date and illustrated on the same
page (p. 213) is a fine James II posset-cup, and here the handle takes
the form of the letter C, and again a second C for the lower half of
the handle. By the year 1690 the letter S form handle in graceful
curves had become established.

The illustration on page 201 shows a posset-cup and cover, which is
produced by the kindness of Lord Dillon. In date it is 1679 and the
cover is 1660. The bowl is embossed with tulips. The handles are
scrolled terms and cast. The cover is a flattened dome with plain
flanged edge and embossed with tulips. The knob is a casting of four
grotesque faces conjoined. Its height is 7ⁱ/₂ inches.

This cup is stated to have been presented by Charles II to his
daughter, the Countess of Litchfield. The marks are “London” and I. S.
in shaped shield. Mark on cover W. B. in a heart.

It will be seen in comparison with the porringer of the date of 1666,
illustrated on the same page, that the caryatides handles which are
similar to early Italian metal-work, are part of the handle itself, and
the female bust forms the swelling curve. Here in the first example
of the posset-cup the head is set as though it were a thing apart and
unconnected with the design of the handle in its entirety. In the lower
example of the porringer the head actually becomes full face, and
consequently is merely a meaningless survival of the older form and
not an integral part of the design of the handle.

[Illustration: CHARLES II PORRINGER. 1672.

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Elkington & Co._)]


Exeter hall-mark, 1707. Maker, Edmund Richards. (Marks illustrated.)

(_By courtesy of Messrs. J. Ellett Lake & Son, Exeter._)]

The posset-pot and cover, with the London date mark for 1683, exhibits
another form; its body has straighter sides. The scroll handles are
similar to some of the older forms, and the woman’s head is retained.
The acanthus-leaf decoration occurs on the lower part of the body, the
rest being plain. Here the proportion of decorated and undecorated
surface introduces another factor. It is seen on the lower portion of
the Charles II porringer of the date of 1666, and it lingers in the
Exeter piece of the Queen Anne period, 1707, with the addition of a
decorative band three-quarters of the way up the bowl (illustrated p.

In the Tudor period we have seen, in regard to the mottled stoneware
tankards, that the potter and the silversmith worked in sympathy with
each other. In late Stuart days it cannot be said that the silversmith
and the potter had very much in common. We illustrate two specimens of
the days of James II of the same date, 1685. The first is a posset-pot
and cover of unusual form, with steeple-like cover and baluster
terminal. This is on a high foot, and the handles have a massiveness
about them not usually associated with posset-cups. The year 1685 is
an important date in the art of the silversmith. The Edict of Nantes
was revoked, and in consequence many hundreds of Huguenot refugees,
silk-weavers and metal-workers, came to this country. The Spitalfield
looms and the names of French makers on the silver plate date from this
influx of foreign craftsmen.

Below this is a posset-cup made by the Staffordshire potter, racy of
the soil, and far removed from the subtleties of the worker in silver.
This is dated 1685, and inscribed “William Simpson His cup.” The
handles, six in number, are eminently suited to the plastic clay. The
convolutions of the smaller handle are suggestive of the glass-worker.
Here the potter and the silversmith join hands, for the handle of
the more elaborate piece is suggestive of the glass-worker too. It
must be remembered that Venetian glass-workers had settled in London
under the patronage of the Duke of Buckingham in the days of Charles
II. It is not unnatural to suppose, seeing that the glass-blower, the
silversmith, and the potter were all working in competition, that they
cast an eye on each other’s work.

There is a peculiar design embodied in the work of the old
glass-workers of Venice, for centuries embosomed on the lagoons at
Murano, which design is taken straight from the waters of the Adriatic.
There is a little denizen of those waters, delicate and of extreme
beauty, only some 3 or 4 inches long, known as the sea-horse. He
swims in the blue water or curls his tail around a weed. His head is
like a Roman horse with arched neck. Those who know the delightful
configuration of this creature, the _hippocampus antiquorum_, will
realize the parallel. The Venetian glass-worker adapted this design,
ready to hand, as the Copenhagen potters have taken the figures of
birds and animals of the Baltic to give form and colour to their
work. All craftsmen have done this, from the ancient cave-dweller
in Bordeaux who scratched the reindeer in motion which he has left
for posterity to criticize, to the Japanese with their fishes and
birds and insects. The short-nosed sea-horse with its beautiful and
graceful form has been snatched by the glass-blower and transfused in
the furnace, with skilful and adept art in manipulating the pliant
metal, into a handle with conventionalized form. The arched back
becomes a row of bead-like ornament in the bow of the handle, a style
of ornamentation which peeps out from old Italian glass goblets, still
in due subjection. When it crosses the Alps into Germany the foreign
glass-worker, knowing nothing of the delicate suggestion of the origin
of the ornament, straightway makes the handles into huge appendages,
departing more and more from the initial source of inspiration.

[Illustration: JAMES II POSSET-CUP AND COVER. 1685.

Of unusual form. With inscription, “The legacy of your dear
grandmother, Mary Leigh.”

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Crichton Brothers._)]


With inscription, “William Simpson His Cup 1685.”]

The glass-blower of Stuart days, a craftsman in metal, and the silver
worker meet at this point, and the bead-like ornament is derivative
from this old form. It is shown in simpler style in the Charles
II porringer of 1672 (illustrated p. 209), and in more elaborate
development in the James II posset-pot. The former is nearer to nature,
and possibly nearer to the glass-worker.

The potter has similarly twisted his clay with equal swiftness and
ease into convolutions similar to the glass-blower’s technique, but he
has gone away from the original. With an elaboration far and above the
three bends he has given to his plastic body in his handle, the German
glass-blower has essayed to improve on this form, according to his
lights; the result is that some of the German glass consists mainly in
a fine elaboration of handle.

In regard to the evolution of design, something should be said of the
Exeter piece with the hall-mark of that city, 1707, straight from the
days of Queen Anne. The maker of this piece was Edmund Richards. Did he
know that in his crane-head handle he was perpetuating something that
was to live to the twentieth century? To-day modern Japan has run the
crane to death. In textiles and in metal-work the design of the crane
appears again and again. It is found in scissors; we have before us
an elaborate pair, made for the Great Exhibition in 1851, with crane
handles, elaborately finished and gilded.

Our last illustration terminates the history of the silver vessel
intended for use for posset, or caudle, or porridge, or broth. The bowl
(p. 217), or, as it is termed in the old inventory which has come down
with the piece, a “Plum Broth Dish,” dates from 1697, the year of the
Treaty of Ryswick, when Louis XIV recognized William III as King of
Great Britain and Ireland. The maker is John Bodington.

Prior to Queen Anne, this example shows all the reticence of design
usually associated with the Queen Anne style. It begins a new area. The
posset-pot and the silver porringer were dying or dead; the days of the
punch-bowl, the tureen, and all the intricacies of the modern silver
vessel for tea, for coffee, for soup, and fitted for the complexities
of a more modern life, were at hand.


Maker John Bodington. (Marks illustrated.)

(_In possession of Messrs. Garrard._)]

It is thus seen that the design of the metal-worker is perennial; it
belongs to no especial period and to no particular country. The working
of silver is one of the oldest arts crafts of man. “There is nothing
new under the sun,” said Solomon, and although his mind was not fixed
on the arts and crafts, there is an applicability about the adage. The
caprice of fashion has determined for how long a period a certain form
should be in use, till it was replaced by some other form--a deviation
from the former or a reversion to an older form. It is the pleasure of
the collector to unravel the motives which led to changes or which put
a dead stop to inventiveness. Every object he examines, every specimen
he owns, is another fact which stands in the long chain enabling him to
pick his way from one conclusion to another. The premises are there,
the data is his, if only his conclusions be sound.



    Prices vary considerably, according to the character of the example.

    Charles II examples being from 100s. to 300s. per oz. Four examples
    have sold for as much as £400.


    Unique and early examples are just as expensive as posset-pots.

    Charles II specimens have realized from £300 to £600.

    Exceptional pieces have brought sensational prices. A Charles II
    example of 1661, maker I. W., sold in 1909 for £1,015 at 270s. per
    oz. In the same year a smaller one, made by George Gibson in 1680,
    sold for 330s. per oz., realizing £75.

    The differences in prices discernible from Charles II to late
    Georgian are roughly: William III, £5 to £12 per oz.; Queen Anne,
    £3 to £6 per oz.; George I and II, 50s. per oz.

    The faker has been active with so-called “Queen Anne” porringers,
    with special fluting and marked with the Britannia or higher
    standard mark. Collectors who have been taken in by these can have
    them assayed at the London Assay Office or elsewhere, and if the
    mark is forged there is a legal remedy.


[4] _Short History of the English People_, by J. R. Green.



[Illustration: CHARLES I CANDLESTICK.  1637.

(Marks illustrated p. 361.)

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Crichton Brothers._)]


With coat of arms, and dated 1648.]



  The seventeenth-century candlestick--Early examples--The contemporary
      potter--Charles II examples--The eighteenth century--Queen
      Anne and early Georgian types--Provincial makers--The classic
      style--The Sheffield candlestick.

Ecclesiastical candlesticks have been in use from earliest times. The
pricket form, that is with the spike for sticking the candle on, may
be seen in use to-day. This form has survived in spite of its obvious
inconvenience. It might have been of use for candles of great size, but
even then long candles were apt to turn over if not kept upright by the
attendant priests. The pricket or spike form may be at once dismissed,
although older, as being outside the field of the domestic candlestick.

Whatever may have been the receptacle for candles in common domestic
use in Elizabethan days, it is now lost. The candlestick has not been
so fortunate as the spoon to escape the melting-pot. Even early Stuart
examples are rare. Specimens of candlesticks of the first half of the
seventeenth century are so rare as to be beyond the average collector’s

We are enabled to produce an early example of the time of Charles I,
bearing the London hall-marks for the year 1637. This is the very
year that Hampden refused to pay ship-money as taxes. Under cold
and unimpassioned examination, it would appear that these patriots
stood really on technicalities. The country gentleman, the man of
Buckinghamshire environed by cornlands, refused to pay ship-money; that
is, money to be devoted to safeguarding our coasts. The men of Devon,
the men of the Kentish coasts and the Essex estuaries, the Lincolnshire
ports, the Yorkshire seaboard, the city of Bristol, and estuary of the
Thames guarding London, these were the fit and proper persons to pay
for safeguarding the shores; the country gentleman whose thoughts could
not soar above the soil, straightway became a patriot because he would
not co-operate with the rest of his country in paying taxes for common
defence. The Dutch could sweep the Channel and Van Tromp could carry a
broom in derision at his masthead, but many of the country gentlemen of
the Puritan days talked of turnips, and to resist payment of ship-money
was deemed patriotic.

It will be seen that the example illustrated is simple in form. It
is not so delicate as the brass candlestick of a slightly later day
(illustrated p. 129). The bottom is like an inverted wine cup, and the
straight pillar holds the candle. The marks on this are on the rim of
the bottom, upside down, which has led some persons to suppose that the
base might be used as a wine cup, which is absurd.


Height 11 in.

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Crichton Brothers._)]

This type is the plainest possible, and suggests that little of any
value preceded it. It leaves one with queer imaginings as to what the
Tudor form may have been like. But one must not be too exacting. A
glance at table manners gives modern precisians a shock. There was a
common dish, at which all helped themselves. The habit of putting the
hands into this dish to seize bits of meat does not seem to have been
regarded as objectionable. This was in the fifteenth century. There
were no soup plates till about the year 1600. Nor was there any large
spoon for serving from the tureen till about a hundred years later,
that is about 1700.

The Lambeth delft candlestick, with coat of arms, dated 1648, is more
symmetrical than the example of the silversmith. It has the platform
for the grease, similar to later examples in the next reign made of
gun-metal, and very heavy.

Charles II Examples

There was an extraordinary demand for silver plate in the reign of
Charles II. This is indicated in the diaries of Pepys and of Evelyn. We
illustrate a pair of especial beauty and delicacy (p. 227).

These candlesticks were sold at Christie’s in 1908 for £1,420. They
are 11 inches in height, and they bear the London hall-mark for 1673.
The barrel is short, and fluted to represent a cluster of eight small
columns. The barrel is connected with a cast and vase-shaped stem,
ornamented with four lobes and four acanthus leaves. The platform has
voluting shells, and the base is composed of four escalop shells.
There is a delicacy about these candlesticks which is Italianate in
character. From the barrel to the base the lines are graceful and
subtle. There is nothing like them in English silver. They suggest the
fanciful design of the best Japanese art, centuries before that art had
penetrated Europe. Remarkable in many respects, it is representative of
the joyousness and vivacity of the Restoration; they have no forbears
and no successors. They are unique.

The fluted column was a form which appealed to the Carolean maker.
In square bases with platforms inverted, this type departs from
the fanciful curves of the pair illustrated. The straight line is
predominant in the base, the platform, and the socket. Sometimes the
baluster ornament of the seventeenth century is introduced in the stem.

Other late Stuart forms include the type with octagonal base, sometimes
plain hammered, and deep, from which the stem springs as from a pan,
and other forms with fluted column still on octagonal base, which in
the later days of the seventeenth century began to be more subdued
in character. By the middle of the seventeenth century the platform
disappears in silver candlesticks.

An interesting specimen is the Charles II snuffers and tray, of the
date of 1682. The snuffers are plain and flat and have the character of
the handles of the porringer, of the date 1669 (illustrated p. 231).
This flat openwork is peculiarly English, and belongs to the late
Stuart period. It is exhibited on the handle at the back of the tray.
The tray is as reticent as the silver of the Queen Anne period of
the early eighteenth century.



London, 1704.


Exeter, 1706.

GEORGE I.  1721.

Maker, John Newton, London.

(_In possession of Messrs. Garrard._)]

[Illustration: CHARLES II SNUFFERS AND TRAY.  1682.

(With marks illustrated.)

(_At Victoria and Albert Museum._)]

The Eighteenth Century

The candlesticks of the eighteenth century vary considerably in
character. The fluted column dependent on the octagonal base, with
the relic of the old platform, is retained in a band with gadrooned
edge. The illustration (p. 231) shows various styles, in the opening
years of the eighteenth century. The baluster ornament, so common in
Stuart days, was adopted, and ran through the eighteenth century, until
classic influences swept it aside. This ornament, found as a terminal
in silver knobs of early date, now became elongated and assumed various
forms, with swelling and undulating form, sometimes with ornamented
edge, till it became absorbed with the classic form of upright fluting
and urn-like nozzle.

Candlesticks with removable nozzles were first introduced about 1758;
the tall Corinthian column form is noticeable at this period. The
urn sockets were in vogue from 1790 to 1798. It should be noted that
removable nozzles when found on seventeenth-century pieces may be
regarded as a later addition.

The provincial candlestick maker was not behind the London maker at
the end of the eighteenth century. For instance, when the Sheffield
Assay Office commenced operations in 1773 the classic style was at its
height. The Adam brothers had impressed their personality on furniture
and on architecture. Wedgwood had diverted Staffordshire into the paths
of Olympus. Here it should be said that “Sheffield plate,” so called,
is not Sheffield silver plate. It is difficult to explain. Plate is
the technical term we employ in regard to solid gold or silver. Plated
things which may be either gold plated or silver plated, are of baser
metal, more frequently copper, covered with a layer of gold or of
silver. Sheffield has won a renown for her antique silver plated ware.
But here we have Sheffield silver plate, that is Sheffield silver,
with the marks of the assay office. We give an example (illustrated
p. 235), twenty years after the granting of the charter to Sheffield.
Candlesticks, silver and silver-plated, were the specialties of
Sheffield, and very beautiful they are.

The ribbon festoon with knots suggests the Louis Quinze period. This
indicates the departure from the stern classic types; and the nozzle is
removable, a style which was then in common use.

As a study, the candlestick exhibits infinite variety. The eighteenth
century, from Queen Anne to the late George III period, offers many
forms. The Stuart candlestick is on another plane, and appeals to the
collector of rare examples.

The candle is something dead and gone; it stands on the threshold of
modernity like some dim ancestral ghost of former days. The electric
bulb is triumphant, paraffin is plebeian, and gas stretches back a
century when Westminster Bridge was first lit by gas in 1813. Nobody
has apostrophized a gas bracket or a paraffin lamp. But the candle is
both historic and poetical and the candlestick offers a pleasing field
to the collector.


Classic style. Made at Sheffield.

(_At Victoria and Albert Museum._)]


    Prices vary to a considerable extent. As in the case of the salt
    cellars, sets bring higher prices than the single examples. The
    differences in prices are:--


  Sets of four           £80 to £100
  Sets of two             40 to   70


  Sets of four           £20 to  £40
  Sets of two              7 to   20

    Single specimens vary from £2 to £10, according to design.

    In buying candelabra at so much per ounce, beginners should
    carefully ascertain weight, as examples sold at 5s. per ounce have
    realized over £200 owing to their massiveness.





  The teapot, its early form--The seventeenth century--The
      eighteenth-century coffee-pot--The tea-kettle and stand--Late
      Georgian teapots and coffee-pots--The tea-caddy and its varieties.

The silver plate of a country undoubtedly reflects the manners and
customs of its users. The growth of luxury undoubtedly has had its
influence upon the manufacture of a great number of silver articles
employed in everyday use. But although the field be larger, the class
of articles, to say nothing of the average artistic quality, differs
in the same measure as the habits of the users. The antiquary of
the twenty-first century who turns to the late nineteenth century
will find marmalade-pots and pickle-forks in lieu of posset-pots and
punch-ladles. He will find that cheap chemists have disseminated
hair-brushes and cheap scent-bottles of inferior glass with silver rims.

The earliest known teapot is of the year 1670, although Pepys tells of
drinking tea in 1660. This fine specimen is a lantern-shaped teapot
with a history, and is illustrated page 243. It is inscribed, “This
Silver tea Pott was presented to ye Com^{ttee} of ye East India Company
by ye Right Hono^{le} George Lord Berkeley of Berkeley Castle. A member
of that Honourable and worthy Society and A true Hearty Louer of them.
1670.” It is engraved with the arms of the donor and of the East India
Company. The maker’s mark is T. L., and the date letter and hall-marks
of London are of the year 1670.

In the year 1690 the form of teapot was melon-shaped, still tall, and
still suggestive of a coffee-pot, made more manifest by the stopper
attached at the spout by a chain. But in the eighteenth century,
teapots underwent a change; they began to assume styles which have
endured to the present day. Since Queen Anne sat in the Orangery
in Kensington Gardens with her bosom friend “Mrs. Freeman” over a
dish of tea to hear of Marlborough’s victories, the habit has become
established in popular favour.

The rivalry between coffee and tea and the attempt of chocolate to
obtain supremacy are interesting side-lights in social history,
tinctured by political bias and prejudice. Coffee claims the field
first. The honour of introducing tea remains between the English and
the Dutch, while that of coffee rests between the English and the
French. The price of tea in 1660 was sixty shillings per pound, and
Thomas Garway, tobacconist and coffee-man, was the first who retailed
tea. His shop bill is the most curious and historical account of tea we

    “Tea in England hath been sold in the leaf for six pounds, and
    sometimes for ten pounds the pound weight, and in respect of its
    former scarceness and dearness it hath been only used as a
    regalia in high treatments and entertainments, and presents made
    thereof to princes and grandees till the year 1657. The said Garway
    did purchase a quantity thereof, the first publicly sold the said
    tea in leaf or drink, made according to the directions of the most
    knowing merchants into those Eastern countries. On the knowledge
    of the said Garway’s continued care and industry in obtaining the
    best tea, and making drink thereof, very many noblemen, physicians,
    merchants, etc., have resort to his house to drink the drink
    thereof. He sells tea from 16s. to 50s. a pound.”

[Illustration: COFFEE-POT. 1737.


(Marks illustrated p. 399.)

(_In possession of Messrs. Garrard & Co._)


Presented by Lord George Berkeley to the Honourable East India Company.

(_At Victoria and Albert Museum._)]

Here is a seventeenth-century advertisement: can Mincing Lane in the
twentieth century go better?

As to coffee, it is interesting to read the women’s petition to
Parliament, in 1674. They complained that coffee

    “made men as unfruitful as the deserts whence that unhappy berry
    is said to be brought; that the offspring of our mighty ancestors
    would dwindle into a succession of apes and pygmies, and on a
    domestic message, a husband would stop by the way to drink a couple
    of cups of coffee.”

This is in the vein of the modern Suffragist and on the same sub-head.
In 1673 the men of England were fighting against the Dutch at the
engagement off Texel to defend their hearths and homes, coffee or no

Apart from the peculiar lantern shape of the first examples, teapots
assumed various forms. They were tall and pear-shaped about 1690. By
1707, is Queen Anne’s day, we find them gourd or melon-shaped till
about 1720. In 1725 they were of lesser height. From the opening years
of the eighteenth century to 1765, the teapots began to assume round
proportions in the body. At a later date they were octagonal. In 1776
they inclined to the Sheraton style, and in 1789 to the Hepplewhite
style of design, both these latter with the straight spout.

That the handle was early of ebony is shown in the example illustrated
(p. 247), with the London hall-marks of 1745, with the gourd-shaped
body. There is something about this example which places it in the
realm of the posset-pot. Its cover is surmounted by a cone ornament.
Its form, strikingly apart from modern tea-table niceties, marks it as
a collector’s piece. Its inscription is of historic interest.

A Kettle and Stand, with spirit-lamp, is of the next year, 1746
(illustrated p. 251). It is the work of the celebrated Paul de Lamerie,
whose genius in working in plate placed him in the leading position
among the silver designers of his period. It must be remembered that
about this time the potter came into serious competition with the
silversmith, especially in regard to teapots and coffee-pots. He
actually did produce, in the early examples of Bow and Worcester and
Coalbrookdale, teapots in blue and white with the same round body as
this tea-kettle. The spout of the potter always presented greater
difficulties in technique than did the spout of the silversmith. In
early types of porcelain it is in form similar to the two silver
examples of teapot and tea-kettle of 1745 and 1746. But the potter
could not attain to the flutings and chased ornament of the worker
in metal. The silversmith’s spout soldered on the body, has spreading
ornament eminently suitable to afford strength at the juncture.

[Illustration: GEORGE II TEAPOT. LONDON, 1745.

With pear-shaped body standing on graduated foot, with finely shaped
ebony handle. Panel bearing inscription: “In token of sincere
Friendship and in Honour of Success at the conquest of the Island of
Cape Breton, Peter Warren, Esqr., Rear-Admiral of the Blue presents
this piece of plate to Sir Willm. Pepperrell, Bart., Louisbourg,
Commander to His Majesty’s Forces. 17 June, 1745.”

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Crichton Brothers._)]

In Paul de Lamerie’s work there is, in the graceful convolutions of the
handle and the equally delightful curves in the tripod legs, something
essentially proper to his craft. No potter could emulate this work. It
would be too capricious in firing, and if made in porcelain it would
be too fragile for use. It is therefore of interest in comparing the
potter’s work with that of his contemporary the plate-worker to see how
in rivalry the masters of the latter craft surpassed the worker in clay
by making the full use of their own particular technique.

In all possibility the eighteenth century teapots were taken by
silver-worker and potter alike from Chinese porcelain prototypes, which
must have come over in considerable numbers in the trading days of John
Company, as we see that the earliest lantern example of the seventeenth
century proceeded from that worthy company, and there was a great
number imported from Holland. Whether this be granted or not, it may be
laid down as a rough rule for guidance that whenever the silver-worker
and the potter produced results closely approaching each other in form,
the worker in metal was not availing himself of the best qualities of
his art. He may have been following the trammels of fashion, or he may
have been a mediocre worker on a lower plane.

That the potter did actually emulate the silversmith can be seen at
once in the Staffordshire silver-lustre teapots, which followed as far
as possible the silver shapes. They were in use in cottages, and set on
the dresser looked very imposing. If the squire’s lady had her silver,
or the farmer’s wife her Sheffield plated set, the cottager had her
lustre ware.

In the museum at Etruria are some models carved in pear-wood of urns
and bowls which Josiah Wedgwood had executed for reproduction in his
ware. These remarkable carved wood vessels exhibit a strong similitude
to the designs of contemporary silver plate. They illustrate the
point that the potter at his highest actually did look with delight
on the creations of the silversmith. It was natural that he should do
so, and it was equally natural that the contemplation of them should
influence his own art. There is a silver teapot designed by John
Flaxman (Wedgwood’s great designer). It is melon-shaped, silver gilt,
chased with scrolls, medallions, and cupids riding on dolphins. It
is inscribed: “Designed by John Flaxman for his esteemed friend and
generous patron Josiah Wedgwood, 1784.” The maker’s mark is I.B. under
a crown, and the date letter is for 1789.


Maker, Paul de Lamerie.

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Elkington & Co._)]

The Coffee-pot

In regard to the coffee-pot, there is an example of the date of 1686,
now on view at the London Museum from the collection of Mr. H. D.
Ellis. It will be seen that the coffee-pot was always tall; it never
lessened its height to become possessed of the pear or gourd-shaped or
circular body of its rival. It actually influenced the height and
form of the teapot and it was not until the end of the first quarter of
the eighteenth century that the teapot threw off its similitude to the
coffee-pot in regard to height; and from that date when tea-drinking
had become established, it pursued its own way in design.

The chocolate-pot followed in the wake of the coffee-pot and has
never departed very materially from its early form. It is always
rather smaller than its prototype, and may be distinguished from
the coffee-pot by the handle, which in the chocolate-pot is not set
opposite the spout, as is the case in the teapot and the coffee-pot,
but is in the middle, set at right-angles to the spout.

It is necessary to examine the customs of the period to arrive at
conclusions in regard to silver. In 1697 the Earl of Bristol notes in
his diary the payment “of a bill in full to Mr. Chambers for tea-kettle
and lamp, weight ninety oz. eleven dwts., at six shillings and two
pence.” These tea-kettles were probably no new thing, and, as coffee
came first, were possibly a continuation of similar forms for the
decoction of coffee. They were the forerunners of the tea-urns which
became popular a century later (see illustration p. 325). Tea and
coffee and chocolate, ale and broth, and possibly canary, were all
drunk by different classes of the community at the same time. Before
the introduction of the eighteenth-century teacups--first from Holland
and the East and later from our own porcelain factories, in the first
stages without handles--the new beverage, especially in remote and
unfashionable districts, was drunk from the silver porringers then in
use. At the date of the _Tatler_ the middle classes in the country were
still content with milk, water-porridge, broth, ale, or small beer
for breakfast. The family of John Wesley drank small beer at every
meal. By the third quarter of the eighteenth century Jonas Hanway, who
introduced the umbrella to England, and John Wesley, both declaimed in
vain against the prevalent tea-drinking. Just as in earlier days London
apprentices were to have meat in lieu of salmon, then plentiful in the
Thames, so country maids accepting service in London stipulated that
they were to have tea twice a day.

We are indebted to Catherine of Braganza, the Queen of Charles II,
for the introduction of tea. Edmund Waller, the Court poet, who made
an oration to the Puritan Parliament and saved his neck, has an “Ode
on Tea” eulogizing Catherine and the herb. By the time of Queen Anne
tea-drinking had become a fixed habit. Bishop Burnet, who died in 1715,
drank twenty-five cups in a morning. There was Dr. Johnson at the other
end of the century who drank his sixteen cups at a sitting.

[Illustration: COFFEE-POTS.

GEORGE III. _c._ 1770.

GEORGE II. _c._ 1730.

GEORGE III. _c._ 1775.]


(_By courtesy of Messrs. Crichton Brothers._)]

A page of teapots and coffee-pots of varying periods of the eighteenth
century shows the styles in vogue (illustrated p. 255). The upper group
shows a coffee-pot about 1730 with ebony handle, and rather smaller
than some of the later forms. This may be compared with the Newcastle
coffee-pot, of 1737, showing similar character (p. 243). This really
is the established form of the coffee-pot, which has lasted to the
twentieth century, in spite of various deflections in style which were
only transitory. By the last quarter of the eighteenth century it had
become more ornate in character. Its decoration was rococo in style,
and it became massive and impressive in size. It will be observed that
in the specimen of about 1775, on the right, the festoons had become a
prominent form of ornament. The handles in both these larger and later
types are broken, with a point on the lower half turning outwards. The
Edinburgh example of 1769 (illustrated p. 321) shows the same character.

An illustration of a fine coffee-pot with the London hall-mark for
1741 is given as a Frontispiece to this volume. It was made by Peter
Archambo, and bears his initials ~P.A.~ in script in an oval, broken
shield. The lines of this example are of exceptional grace. The
proportions of the body are well balanced. The circular foot with its
fine gradations adds a lightness to the design. The lid is of fine
proportions, and is terminated by a plain cone ornament giving height
to the piece. The handle is of ebony and of pleasing curves. The shaped
spout has a terminal ornament of baluster form joined to the body,
which produces an effect at once original and exquisitely harmonious.

This example is produced by the kindness of Messrs. Carrington & Co. It
belongs to the stormy years of George II and the war of the Austrian
Succession. Frederick of Prussia had seized the rich province of
Silesia, as one of the claimants for the dominions of Maria Theresa of
Austria. Carteret came into power on the fall of Walpole. “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 1743, at the Battle of Dettingen, was the last occasion an English
sovereign was in the field, until His Majesty George V broke that
precedent by visiting the British trenches in Flanders.

The lower group on page 255 belongs to the late George III period. The
coffee-pot and teapot on the left belong to the same set. The flat,
spreading knob to the lid is a form of ornament which succeeded the
long-established baluster form and continued with variations to modern
days, and is found in cheap Britannia metal teapots for common use in
early nineteenth-century days. The others on the right exhibit novel
features. The spreading mouth of the pot surmounted by an overhanging
lid is a form which was readily seized by the potter. Some of the early
Staffordshire teapots, notably those by Wedgwood, are in this style,
as it was an easy shape for the potter to work. The spout, apart from
its position low down on the body, is especially a potter’s form. The
coffee-pot at the top, in urn form, with its long foot to give it the
requisite height, is uncommon and did not long survive. The teapot
beneath it has a stand, another innovation adopted by the potter.







Showing evolution in form culminating in the Sheraton tea-caddy.

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Elkington & Co._)]

The Tea-caddy

The early forms of tea-caddy were square or round. It may be imagined
that so precious a beverage had to be stored carefully. Hence the
receptacles for tea were somewhat luxurious in character. We illustrate
a square type representative of the early days of the eighteenth
century (illustrated p. 259). This example was made at Exeter. The
South Sea Bubble was just about to be blown at the formation of the
South Sea Company to take over the national debt. Such a specimen is
of rarity and is worth about £40 or £50. The round example adjacent
is of London make with the hall-marks for 1730, in the opening years
of George II, straight from the days when Sir Robert Walpole governed

The late eighteenth-century types were oval in form. The illustration
of two examples (p. 259) shows this style. The left-hand one is in
date 1775, and its fellow has the London hall-marks for 1784. These
show very clearly the evolution in form culminating in the satinwood
Sheraton variety tea-caddy so much sought after by collectors.
The lines of the silversmith became coincident with the worker in
rare woods. They touch at this date. If one takes Chippendale’s
_Director_ or Sheraton’s design books we can see the progress of
the cabinet-maker, first in mahogany and then in satin and other
beautifully coloured woods, in arriving at a casket similar in
character to the silver-worker’s design.

Half-way between the early and late eighteenth century styles we
illustrate (p. 263) a set of Tea-caddies and a Sugar-box, in date
1760, showing where the silversmith adhered to the higher plane of
his technique, equally evading the plagiarism of the potter or the
cabinet-maker. This set of three vessels is indisputably metal in
every inch of their construction. The bases are reminiscent of the
floral refinements of the Charles II and James II periods. The bowls
have a rotundity and exquisite sprightliness in form, relieved by
chasing that defies the woodworker and cannot be imitated by the
potter. The knobs appertain so strongly to the metal-worker that they
are inimitable. This set, therefore, stands as being exceptionally
interesting in exhibiting the work of the artist in silver kept on a
high level apart from extraneous influences.

The later teapot cannot be said to have much to commend it, if it
be with straight spout and of oval or geometric form. Oftentimes it
is a woodworker’s design with additions. The cabinet-maker has not
essayed to make a wooden teapot. But the silversmith has completed the
hiatus. Take the tea-caddy of 1784 (illustrated p. 259), add a straight
metal spout and a handle; the result is a teapot; but it can hardly
lay claim to being in the first rank of design. It stands with the
modern potter’s results, exceptionally fine in their own field--round,
hexagonal, octagonal, oval, square, or of many other forms, all suited
to his plastic art, but the silver-worker should stand on a plane
apart, and in the best periods he did.



    Queen Anne coffee-pots realize from 50s. to 60s. per oz.

    George I coffee-pots about £1 per oz., and George II from 10s. to
    13s. per oz.

    George III coffee-pots bring from 7s. to 10s. per oz. and George IV
    and William IV about 5s. or 6s. per oz.


(_By courtesy of Messrs. Elkington & Co._)]


    All teapots before George I are rare, and bring large prices.

    Queen Anne teapots bring £5 to £10 per oz., and specimens sell for
    £50 to £80.

    On the other hand George II teapots are sold from 15s. to 40s. per
    oz.; George II and George IV examples sell for 10s. to 15s. per oz.


    Queen Anne, with stand and lamp (1709), by N. Locke, sold in 1909
    for 200s. per oz., £243.

    George I, with stand and spirit-lamp (1715), 130s. per oz., £158.

    George II, with stand and spirit-lamp (1738), 38s. per oz., £103.


    Queen Anne, octagonal (1710), 75s. per oz., £27.

    Caddies (2) by Paul de Lamerie (1747), 160s. per oz., £243.

    George III, oblong (1760), 30s. per oz., £12.



[Illustration: CASTERS.

1712 (QUEEN ANNE).

Maker, Ti.

(See marks above.)


Maker, Christopher Canner.

(See marks above.)

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Elkington & Co._)]



  The Queen Anne and Early Georgian Caster--Its evolution in form--The
      eighteenth-century Centre-piece--The Sugar-bowl--Classic
      influence--Late eighteenth-century silver bowls with glass
      liners--The Cream-pail--The Cake-basket--Pierced and interlaced
      work--The eighteenth-century potter.

The classes referred to in this chapter embrace the most delightful
of the eighteenth-century silver plate, and appeal intimately to
the decorative instincts of the collector. The pieces range from
the utilitarian caster capable of varied ornament, to the elaborate
table centre, an object of exquisite grace and capable of rising to
perfection in the hands of an accomplished craftsman. Pierced work of
great delicacy was a feature of the eighteenth-century decoration.
As with furniture, the silver in the middle of the century began to
grow complex in its character, in keeping with the growth of luxury.
The century which began with the sober furniture and homely interiors
of Queen Anne, closed with the magnificence of Chippendale and the
subtleties of Sheraton.

The Caster

The caster can be traced in an unbroken line as an article of table use
from the end of the seventeenth century to the present day. Even with
so simple an object, apparently incapable of much variation in form,
it is interesting to note the successive stages of fashion and the
different phases of its history.

At first it was of lesser height. The examples illustrated on pages
269 and 277 show this. The straight cylindrical form, illustrated on
page 269, similar to that made by Christopher Canner, appears to have
been the earliest type, and this lasted from about 1680 for a quarter
of a century. There is a set of three Charles II casters of this style
made by Anthony Nelme in 1684. There is also a simple form about the
opening of the eighteenth century with plain round top. A fine Irish
example, made by George Lyng, and marked with the Dublin hall-marks
for 1699 (illustrated p. 331), shows a more ornate character not
infrequent in Irish silver. The Irish silversmith was often ahead of
his English contemporaries. By 1712 the Queen Anne caster was becoming
taller and the body retained the band found in the straight cylindrical
form. The cover offered a field for delightful and varied patterns in
pierced work. There is a charm about these individual patterns which
is irresistible to the collector. The cover is surmounted by a baluster
knob which it retained throughout the successive changes in the
body. These ornaments are delicately symmetrical, and in one instance
coming under the writer’s observations the knob was a miniature of the
caster it crowned. The marks on casters are placed at the top of the
neck near the cover.

[Illustration: GEORGE II CASTER. EXETER, 1728.

Maker, Richard Freeman.

(_In possession of Messrs. J. Ellett Lake & Son, Exeter._)]

In 1730, at the Court of Wardens at the London Assay Office, it was
laid down that the marks be struck as far distant from each other as
possible, so that the series of marks could not be cut out in one
piece and soldered into another piece. It had been found that it was
“an antient practice among evil-disposed goldsmiths” of converting new
plate into old by this means.

Variations in the body took place; sometimes the band around took an
octagonal form and the concave body above and the convex body below
followed this geometric form in their curve. There is an example of
this type with the hall-marks for London for 1716, and the maker’s mark
A. D. in shield, wrought by Charles Adam. This is among the Chester
Corporation plate.

The George II sugar caster with the Exeter hall-marks for 1728, made by
Richard Freeman, is unique. Its beautifully shaped body is exquisitely
suited to the technique of the metal-worker. The plain band at base
and the graduated foot carry out the symmetrical form, and help to
give effect to the cover with its delightful pierced ornament. It
will be observed that this pierced design is exactly in keeping with
the reticence of the rest of the piece, and the baluster knob, almost
acorn-like in form, completes a very fine piece of craftsmanship.

The progress in form from the days of George II to the end of the
century is shown in the group illustrated on page 277. These casters,
as will be noticed, are all circular in body, and do not include
geometric forms. The George II example (1747) was the fixed type from
George I to the early years of George III. A Scottish example of a
sugar caster (illustrated p. 317), having the Edinburgh hall-marks
for 1746, shows this established form. At the latter end of the reign
of George II and in the early years of George III, from 1760, it is
noticeable that the body swells in bulbous form, increasing in height
from the foot. The next example (1771) shows the new top, pear-shaped;
the swelling lower part of the body is still pronounced and the foot is
taller, as in the cream-jugs of the period. In both these George III
examples the cover is surmounted by a pine-cone knob.

[Illustration: CASTERS.


GEORGE II. 1747.



1. The plain form with circular top.

2. The fixed type from George I to early George III.

3. The swelling body increasing in height from foot; the pine-cone top.

4. The new pear-shaped top. The swelling lower part of body leaving
foot as in cream-jugs of the same period.

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Elkington & Co._)]


Height, highest part, 14¹/₂ in. Diameter 20¹/₂ in.]

[Illustration: EARLY GEORGE III CENTREPIECE. _c._ 1775.

Maker’s mark, T.F.

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Crichton Brothers._)]

The Centre-piece

The caster never attempted to be other than reticent. It was like a
poor relation at the table in company with the magnificence of the
centre-piece. The pierced work in subdued ornament pales before the
elaboration in such a centre-piece as that illustrated on page 279,
with the London hall-marks for 1761. The basket is of elaborate and
graceful form, and the eight branching candlesticks mark it as a
sumptuous specimen. The feet are elaborate and in rococo style. It
belongs to the early years of George III, of Garrick, of Macklin, and
of Foote. It was contemporary with the enormous head-dresses,
the subject of so many caricatures, which followed the indecorous
hoop-petticoats of the dissolute days of George II. Paste and plaster
and powder raised these head ornaments to a superstructure representing
chariots, and a _fureur des cabriolets_, related by Horace Walpole.
Men had them painted on their waistcoats, and women stuck a one-horse
post-chaise on the top of their elaborate head-dress, which said
head-dress was not changed for some weeks. Medical men of the day
speak of this in terms which we will not introduce here. Sir Joshua
Reynolds had commenced to paint his immortal portraits, Handel had
found congenial soil under the House of Hanover to settle here,
providing satirists with subjects as to his gluttonous habits, and
producing music that has become English to those who like oratorio.
Thomas Chippendale had published his _Director_ in 1754, with its
wonderful designs; and Robert Adam, in 1758, had put his screen and
gateway across the Admiralty in Whitehall, and was translating dull
London streets into classic style. These were the nights at the “Turk’s
Head” with Dr. Johnson, the supporter of the Royal House, the upholder
of purity and piety in an impure and irreligious age, Burke with his
flashing conversation, and Goldsmith and David Garrick, and a circle of
men who counted for more than the macaronis and the fops of Pall Mall
and St. James’s Street. Wealth was pouring into the country from India,
and with it came rapidly acquired habits of luxury--habits that quickly
reflected themselves in the furniture and domestic appurtenances. This
silver centre-piece of 1761, therefore, tells the story of these
days of the eighteenth century, “remarkable for the great industrial
revolution, which gradually transformed England from an agricultural
to a manufacturing country, depending for food supplies on foreign

A second examination of the silver centre-piece, 1761, with the above
notes in view, at once discloses its character--out of France and of
Italy, with here a touch and there a touch from continental styles.
If trivial toys such as the _pantin_, a pasteboard figure on strings,
could take the town by storm, the craftsman in metal, with fashions
streaming from over the Channel, could not and did not hold aloof.
Traditional features linger or become rejuvenated, such as the sconces
of the candlesticks which revert to the leaflike form of those of
Charles II. The basket with interlaced work stands parallel with the
similar work in porcelain from the Meissen factory with raised flowers
at each intersection, just as in this silver centre-piece, and the old
Saxon factory made this type of vase and basket as early as 1740 in
the “Krinolinengrappen” period. But the feet might have come straight
out of Chippendale’s _Director_, with their curves and shoulders and
peculiar style. If Chippendale borrowed wisely from the cabinet-maker
of France, the English silversmiths, many with French blood in their
veins, found in French design something too alluring to ignore.

[Illustration: SUGAR BOWL.

With London hall-marks, 1773. Made by S. & J. Crespell. (Marks
illustrated p. 377.)

(_At Victoria and Albert Museum._)]


Pierced sheet silver with blue glass liners.

LONDON, 1782. LONDON, 1786. LONDON, 1776.

(_At Victoria and Albert Museum._)]

Take another centre-piece, about 1775 in date (illustrated p. 279).
Here are features equally interesting. The rococo form has become
subdued. There are still branching curves, and plain baskets with
interlaced work take the place of the floriated style candle-holders.
The festoons with medallions indicate the classic style then in vogue.
In this centre-piece the classic style is seen in combination with,
almost in opposition to, the moribund rococo style. These may be
compared with an earlier Irish centre-piece, 1740 in date (illustrated
p. 335).

The Sugar-bowl

In the specimen illustrated (p. 283) the classic style is seen at
its best. The body is decorated with festoons, rosettes, and the rim
and foot have a plain bead ornament. The handles are snakes with the
head terminating at the rim of the bowl. It suggests that it might
be a bowl of Æsculapius rather than a homely sugar-bowl. Pompeii
and Rome, translated through the brain of Sir William Hamilton, the
Brothers Adam, and the metal-worker of the Louis Seize period, have
each contributed to this composite style. It is not of the purity of
form of silver vessels found in the tombs. It merely borrows ornament
from classic originals; it is like Sir Bulwer Lytton’s translation of
Horace, rather more Sir Bulwer than Horatius Flaccus. In date this is
1773 and was made by S. and J. Crespell. It belongs to the same period
as the Sheffield silver candlestick illustrated on page 235.

There is another sugar-bowl (illustrated p. 285), with the London
hall-marks for 1786, showing the style _Louis Seize à l’Anglaise_ which
came into English cabinet design after 1793, when Sheraton published
his book of designs. This is an exceptionally dainty piece of work. The
classic influence is still to be observed, but changed into something
more sprightly, savouring of the boudoir of Marie Antoinette, and the
metal-work on tables and lock escutcheons in the Petit Trianon. It is
especially a silversmith’s piece. It is a beautiful metal framework for
a blue glass liner.

The Cream-pail

Taller vessels with a handle are usually termed cream-pails, though
some collectors believe they were used for sugar. As they are of cut
work they must have been used with a glass liner. They present some
beautiful forms still clinging to classic ornamentation in combination
with whatever new forms the craftsman could invent in conjunction with
a severe style. The two illustrated (p. 285) show slightly differing
intentions. The first on the right, with the London hall-marks for
1776, with its undulating top is in keeping with the wavy rims of the
salt cellars of the same period, of French influence. The festoon of
drapery with rosettes is in classic style and the foot and lower body
has the traditional acanthus-leaf decoration. The handle and broad cut
pattern ornamenting the body may be compared with the Irish example
(illustrated p. 343), made in 1770.

[Illustration: BREAD-BASKETS WITH HANDLES. LONDON, 1745-1775.

Wire and sheet silver with cast and chased ornament.

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Crichton Brothers._)]

The other example on the same page (p. 285) is in date 1782, the
year when, after three years’ siege of Gibraltar, the French and
Spanish made a supreme effort by sea and land to win the key of the
Mediterranean, but were beaten with heavy loss by General Eliot.
The festoons and the vase in panel are now in incised decoration and
are subservient. The style begins to break away from traditional
severities and establish something original and as reticent as the
classical forms without being so coldly formal and unnational.

[Illustration: CAKE-BASKET. 1761.

Maker, Edward Romer.

(_In possession of Messrs. Garrard & Co._)]


(_In collection of author._)]

The Bread-basket

The last half of the eighteenth century saw the growth and development
of pierced sheet silver with its varied styles, and concomitant with
the sheet work there are examples exhibiting a fine perfection in wire
work. Pierced bread- or cake-baskets with cable band are features
of this period. The pierced mustard-pot, decanter stand, and other
similar articles were common. Oval pierced baskets were introduced,
with handles, in the reign of George II (1727-60). Originally they
were possibly for bread only. Some collectors determine this by the
pattern on some of them of wheat-ears (see example illustrated p. 289).
By the time of George III they were elaborately pierced and chased
and massive, and had feet. In other examples about the middle of the
century they had no feet, and were more basket-like in form. There
was an example in the Dunn-Gardner collection of a bread-basket in
imitation of wicker basket-work. This bears the London hall-marks for
the year 1733 and the maker’s initials P. L., a crown and star above,
and a _fleur-de-lis_ below, for Paul de Lamerie, the maker.

The page of four examples (p. 289) illustrates the types prevalent
from 1745 to 1775. The top left-hand specimen is of wire work
ornamented by wheat-ears.

A plain cake-basket with the London mark for 1761, the first year of
the reign of George III, is illustrated (p. 291); the maker is Edward
Romer. Below this is shown a contemporary Wedgwood cream-ware basket in
imitation of wicker-ware. Here the technique of the silversmith and the
potter may be compared.

The Eighteenth-century Potter

In connexion with pierced and interlaced work the potter did attempt
to run side by side with the worker in silver plate. The two Wedgwood
pieces (illustrated p. 295) show this parallel. The upper one is a
chestnut basket and cover. While adhering in a measure to the strict
technique of the worker in clay--and here be it said it comes near to
the fine reticulated work of some of the highest Chinese porcelain--it,
at the same time, approaches the contemporary refinements in perforated
sheet metal executed by the silversmith.

The lower example is even more remarkable; it is a Wedgwood cream-ware
fruit-basket and cover. This centre-piece, though not emulating
the grandiose proportions and elaborate branches of the silver
centre-pieces such as we have seen, accomplishes what was apparently
impossible, the manipulation of plastic clay as though it were
silver wire. The result is delightful and surprising. In regard to
the elaboration of this cut-and-drawn work, the Leeds potters
who followed Josiah Wedgwood’s style produced tall centre-pieces in
cream-ware with branches having baskets and trays. It is an undoubted
proof that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.


Late eighteenth century.]


Late eighteenth century.




    Ordinary Queen Anne examples bring 50s. to 60s. per oz.; George I
    and George II, 25s. to 35s. per oz.; George III and George IV, 18s.
    to 20s. per oz. Later specimens only fetch 5s. to 12s. per oz.

    Rare and earlier examples bring higher prices, e.g.:

      William and Mary (1701), 225s. per oz.   112
      Queen Anne (2), (1713), 115s. per oz.     72


    The average prices are roughly as follows: George I, 60s. to 80s.
    per oz.; George II, 20s. to 50s. per oz.; George III, 8s. to 50s.
    per oz. (varying from engraved and fluted to pierced and applied
    ornament); George IV, 7s. (fluted) to 35s. per oz. (pierced and
    applied ornament); William IV, 6s. to 20s. per oz.

    Exceptional pieces of course bring exceptional prices. A
    sugar-basket of 1725, by Paul Lamerie, sold in 1909 for £113, at
    195s. per oz. A set of three George III (1763) sugar vases and
    covers were sold at the Ashburnham Sale in March 1914, for £214, at
    135s. per oz.




Maker, Paul de Lamerie.

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Crichton Brothers._)]



  The eighteenth-century tea-table and its accessories--The beauty of
      the cream-jug--Its evolution in form during a century.

“I must further advise you, Harriet,” says a lady in the _Fool of
Quality_, in admonishing her daughter, “not to heap such mountains of
sugar into your tea, nor to pour such a deluge of cream in; people will
certainly take you for the daughter of a dairymaid. There is young
Fanny Quirp, who is a lady by birth, and she has brought herself to the
perfection of never suffering the tincture of her tea to be spoilt by
whitening, nor the flavour to be adulterated by a grain of sweet.” This
was published from 1766 to 1770 and indicates that a set of rules for
observance was afoot in a time when etiquette was formal.

But if cream was neglected by some precisians, the cream-jug bears
evidence that in many circles it was a welcome and possibly very
necessary addition to the strong green tea then drunk.

It was etiquette to place the spoon in the cup to show the hostess that
no more tea was required. It was the custom at Scottish tea-tables and
possibly elsewhere to have numbered spoons. The guests did not ask
for a second cup until all the other guests had finished the first.
Hence the cups were passed up to the hostess and the spoons numbered to
ensure that each got his own again.

Sir Alexander Boswell in his poem “Edinburgh” writes:

    The red stone teapot with its silver spout,
    The teaspoons numbered and the tea filled out;
    Though patience fails, and though with thirst he burns,
    All, all must wait till the last cup returns.

The silver strainer had apparently become obsolete in Sir Walter
Scott’s day, for he writes in _St. Ronan’s Well_:

“A silver strainer, in which in times more economical than our own, the
lady of the house placed the tea-leaves after the very last drop had
been exhausted, that they might hospitably be divided among the company
to be eaten with bread and butter.”

The Scots are a hardy race.

In lieu of the strainer a long-handled spoon with pierced bowl was used
to thrust down the spout, as sometimes the tea refused to pour out.
Etiquette forbade the hostess to blow down the spout.

The beauty and variety of the cream-jugs may be traced for a whole
century. One of the earliest examples (illustrated p. 301) shows a fine
helmet-shaped jug, having the London hall-marks for the year 1736, and
the mark of Paul de Lamerie the maker, renowned for his superlative
work. The handle is original in conception and has a grotesque head as
a terminal. The ornament is elaborate and representative of the best
types of the George II era. A cream-jug of about 1740, made in Dublin
by John Hamilton (illustrated p. 339) may be compared with the above
example. The helmet form with the undulating rim is common to both
specimens, but the treatment differs in character. The Irish example
has three feet and possesses beauties peculiarly its own.

[Illustration: CREAM-JUGS.

GEORGE I. 1726.


Evolution from rotund form of early eighteenth century to slender
shapes. The handle becomes broken in its curves. Three feet are in
frequent use. The lip pointed and elongated. (See Irish cream-jugs, p.

[Illustration: CREAM-JUGS.



The single foot varying in length and the body becoming elongated.
Compare with casters of same period as to elongation from foot.

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Elkington & Co._)]

That early eighteenth-century examples were not always highly ornate is
shown by the cream-jug with London hall-marks for 1726. This represents
the transitional stage between the simple character of the Queen Anne
styles and the elaboration found in those of the reign of George III.

The series of cream-jugs illustrated (p. 305) shows the evolution in
form from the Queen Anne rotundity to more slender examples; the handle
becomes broken in its curves and three feet are in frequent use. The
lip is pointed and elongated. This latter style lasted from about 1740
to about 1765 (see a fine Irish example of this type illustrated, p.
339). This specimen is in date 1764.

Illustrated on page 305 are two typical examples of the last quarter of
the eighteenth century. It will be observed that the three feet have
in 1779 disappeared. The single foot is now fashionable and varies in
height. The body becomes elongated. The handles still retain the older
mid-century forms, with slight variations. The tendency to increased
height in the cream-jugs at this date may be compared with the casters
illustrated in Chapter IX.

A selection of late George III cream-jugs (illustrated p. 309) shows
the classic tendency at the closing years of the eighteenth century
and the first decade of the nineteenth century. The example, in date
1790, is tall and has a foot terminating in a square base, like a
classic vase. The adjacent example, ten years later, is a reversion
to the potter’s form with flat bottom. The flat-topped handle is a
reminiscence of the classic urn. The evolution in form, as is seen, is
steadily towards the fuller body. The examples shown on the same page,
in date 1804 and 1809, indicate new tendencies. It is merely the swing
of the pendulum of fashion. In the first example the foot is beginning
to appear in the form of a narrow rim at the base. The handle in the
last specimen returns to the severe classic circular shape.



    The prices of these vary according to the style of ornament,
    chasing, and general character.

    Queen Anne plain examples have brought as much as 125s. per oz.,
    realizing £25. Early eighteenth-century specimens bring as a
    rule from 60s. to 100s. per oz. Later eighteenth-century drop
    considerably in value, from 40s. to 60s. per oz. A George IV
    cream-jug, made by Paul Storr in 1820, sold for 36s. per oz. and
    realized £17.




The beginning of classic type. Foot frequently following classic vase
form. The reversion to the potter’s style with flat bottom.]




The evolution towards the fuller body. The reappearance of foot as a
narrow rim at base. The handle assuming its former circular shape.

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Elkington & Co._)]



[Illustration: SCOTTISH QUAICH.  EDINBURGH, 1705.

Maker, Robert Inglis.

(Marks illustrated p. 405.)

(_In possession of Messrs. Garrard & Co._)]

[Illustration: MUG. EDINBURGH, 1790.

(Chasing added later.)

Assay Master, Archibald Ure. Maker, Joseph Kerr.

Marked A U, I K, and date letter K.

(_At Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh._)]



  The ancient history of the silversmiths’ craft in
      Scotland--Peculiarities in marking--The standard mark of the
      Thistle introduced in 1759 (Edinburgh), the Lion rampant
      (Glasgow) in 1819.

The study of Scottish silver is a special one. Its manufacture and
the statutes governing the goldsmiths and silversmiths extend back
to the fifteenth century. The chief centres of marking and assaying
were primarily Edinburgh and latterly Glasgow in addition. But it is
remarkable how many towns and burghs assayed silver. In comparison
with England the manufacture of silver plate seems to have covered
a wider area in Scotland. Examples are extant showing that Dundee
assayed silver as early as the seventeenth century, with the town mark
of the two-handled pot with lilies, and the same mark was used in the
late nineteenth century. Perth had its lamb and the flag, emblem of
St. John. Aberdeen had the letters ABD; Elgin had ELN; Banff had BA;
and Inverness had INS, or its mark of a camel. This is enough, meagre
though it be, to indicate that the identification of Scottish silver
requires no little close study into the records covering an intricate
field, and many marks unattributed to any special place are believed to
be Scottish in origin.

Of the Scottish silver-plate, illustrated in this chapter, it may be
said that, whenever possible, details are given of the peculiarities
of marking to enable the student to familiarize himself with the
differences in comparison with English silver. The assay master’s
initials, the maker’s initials, and the date letter are an array of
letters possibly puzzling to the beginner.

The quaich (illustrated p. 313) was made at Edinburgh in 1705. The
maker was Robert Inglis, and the assay master, James Penman. The marks
are illustrated p. 405. These old vessels were used for drinking
spirits, and the two handles denote that, like the English loving-cup,
they were passed around. They are not used over this side of the
border. They are sometimes made of hard dark wood, and possibly their
origin may be traced to Scandinavian forms. The Dutch have similar
vessels. In the Willet-Holthuysen Museum at Amsterdam there is a silver
brandy- or loving-cup with ears in form like the Scottish quaich or
quaigh. This is of the first half of the seventeenth century. It
measures 9 centimetres in height by 11 centimetres in width. The side
of the cup is divided into six embossed parts, each encircling an
engraved medallion of four symbolic figures--Faith, Justice, Science,
and Labour. All these are surrounded by medallions in Renaissance
style: the well-known conventional dragons, garlands of flowers, and
cherubs’ heads. The handles are also ornamented. “It is a truly
Dutch sweetly pretty little thing,” says Frans Coenen, the curator, the
author of a brochure on the collection, “and seems to have been made
on purpose to be held by a strong, powerful fist at the festive board.
And festive boards were of frequency in the days of the Great Republic,
when the merry cup went round with snapdragon, or even brandy pure and
undiluted, as a kind of English loving-cup. And the ladies partook as
well as the gentlemen. Neither did they refuse the weed which cheers
but not inebriates.” The author laments that this form has disappeared
from use in Holland. “In course of time,” he says, “bitters and gin
took the place of brandy, and the pretty vessel degenerated into a
characterless bottle or jug, which in its turn was replaced by the

[Illustration: SUGAR-CASTER. EDINBURGH, 1746.

Marked with Maker’s mark, E O, and Assay Master’s initials H G (Hugh
Gordon), castle, and date Letter R.

(_At Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh._)]

The quaich illustrated, in date 1705, exhibits the purity of design
of the early years of the eighteenth century. It belongs to the year
prior to the appointment of a commission to arrange the terms of union
between England and Scotland. In 1707 this was legally effected.
The United Kingdom was to be called Great Britain. There was to be
one Parliament for the United Kingdom, in which Scotland was to be
represented by forty-five members in the Commons and sixteen peers in
the Upper House. The Union Jack was to be the flag of Great Britain.

The cup with the flat handle, or “lug” as it is termed in Scotland,
level with the brim, was sometimes of more ornamental form, with
six spheroidal sides, and the handles were chased. There is also
the “bleeding-cup” used by barber-surgeons so freely in the late
seventeenth and eighteenth century. There is a specimen of this class
of silver vessel, diminutive in character, at the Victoria and Albert
Museum. The marks for the year 1698 are taken from this bowl (see p.

A quaich made by Thomas Moncur at Glasgow in 1665 sold in 1909 for
£408, at 560s. per oz.

On the same page as the quaich is illustrated a mug, in date 1790. It
is the other end of the century from the simple quaich. It marks the
beginning of decadent styles; the overloaded ornament, the want of
subtle suggestiveness in the design, shows that the nineteenth century
was at hand. It has an interest as being contemporary with Robert
Burns. _Tam O’Shanter_ was written in this year.

To this year belongs Burke’s _Reflections_ on the French Revolution,
which work had a great influence in turning English opinion against the
revolutionists. Many replies were published to refute Burke, the most
important being the _Rights of Man_ by Thomas Paine.

The sugar-caster (illustrated p. 317) belongs to the George II epoch of
silver. Evidently the rich and varied styles extended to Scotland. The
same impulses influenced both nations before the union; in date this is
1746. This is marked with the maker’s initials, E. O., and the assay
master’s initials, H. G. (Hugh Gordon); there is, in addition, the mark
of the castle and the date letter R. The baluster ornament is in almost
acorn form. The top with its perforated design is always a pleasing
feature in casters. The floriated ornament in this example is of fine


Height 12¹/₄ in. Maker Patrick Robertson.

(Marks illustrated p. 405.)

(_At Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh._)]

The year 1746 is a notable one in Scottish history. In 1745 the Young
Pretender, Charles Edward Stuart, dear to memory in Scotland, landed.
“Charlie is my darlin’” was a forbidden tune at Balmoral as late as
the reign of Victoria. The entry of the Prince into Edinburgh in 1745
resulted in the defeat of Sir John Cope, and the victorious army
invaded England and reached Derby.

The year 1746 saw the Battle of Culloden and the defeat of the
Pretender. Here is a caster of these romantic days, days that find
expression in various romances--romances that are true to the life.
Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, was beheaded on Tower Hill for his duplicity.
Many great Scottish families tried to sit on both sides of the fence.
One son went to the Hanoverian forces and the other to the Stuart
invader. Robert Louis Stevenson’s _Master of Ballantrae_ shows the
poignancy of the situation. But England held aloof in 1745. In 1715,
when the elder Pretender essayed to claim his own, England was
lukewarm, but in 1745 the House of Hanover had become deeply rooted and
no leniency was shown to the invaders.

The Edinburgh coffee-pot (illustrated p. 321), in date 1769, is a
delightful piece. It was made by Patrick Robertson; the marks are
illustrated p. 405. This was in the early George III period. In this
year was published the first of the “Letters of Junius,” an acrid
attack on the Government in the _Public Advertiser_ on behalf of John
Wilkes, the demagogue. This year saw the birth of English Radicalism.
Wilkes was elected as member for Middlesex for the fourth time, but
Parliament declared his opponent, Colonel Luttrell, at the bottom of
the poll, to be elected. The meaning of the motto “Wilkes and Liberty”
is thus understood.

This coffee-pot of those days claims recognition by reason of its
beauty of form. The spout with dragon head is graceful and original.
The handle, in ebony, follows the broken curves of the period, the
cone-top and the somewhat elongated foot and narrow base to the body
proclaim the contemporary style.

The tea-urn of 1778 (illustrated p. 325), also made by Patrick
Robertson, is marked with the castle of Edinburgh, the Thistle
standard mark, the date letter Z, and the maker’s initials P. R. It
is a beautiful piece in classic style, with fluted oviform body; it
is decorated at summit and base with acanthus ornament. It has flat
scroll handles with delicate beaded ornament. On tall fluted foot
with bold spreading terminals, it stands on square base decorated
with classic chasing. It is as classic as Princes Street, Edinburgh.
It is delightfully Scottish, and represents the northern Athens as
exemplified in the minor art of the silversmith. It is just prior
to the days of Sir Walter Scott, the “Wizard of the North,” who has
charmed Scot and southron alike by his magic spell.

[Illustration: TEA-URN. EDINBURGH, 1778.

Maker, Patrick Robertson. Marked with castle, P R, thistle, and date
letter Z.

(_At Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh._)]

This is a very meagre exposition of the art of the silversmith in
Scotland, but space does not permit of further details in a volume
of this size. In the examination of Scottish silver one is confronted
with so much that is excellent. The subject is like Scottish poetry;
one turns to the anthology of Sir George Douglas and one finds a race
of nightingales.



[Illustration: CASTER. DUBLIN, 1699.

Maker, George Lyng. (Marks illustrated p. 409.)]

[Illustration: LOVING-CUP, WITH HARP HANDLES. CORK, _c._ 1694.

Maker, Robert Goble. (Marks illustrated p. 409.)

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Harris & Sinclair, Dublin._)]



  The ancient art of the silversmith--The seventeenth
      century--The inventiveness and originality of the Irish
      craftsman--Eighteenth-century marks--The figure of Hibernia--The
      Harp and Crown--The Potato or Dish Ring.

There is no doubt that the art of the goldsmith and silversmith
was practised at a very early period in Ireland, as the various
ornaments discovered in excavation clearly prove. There is something
characteristic in this early Irish metal work, as especially noteworthy
in its ripe and accomplished art as is the illumination in the Book of
Kells. Old records show that goldsmiths were working in Dublin in the
thirteenth century, though there is no mention of the actual formation
of a guild or company till 1498. Apparently these early records do not
determine what marks were in use. It is not till 1605 that mention
is made of a maker’s mark and a town mark on Dublin plate. In 1637 a
charter was granted to the goldsmiths of Dublin by Charles I, and it
was laid down that no gold or silver was to be of less fineness than
the standard of England. From 1638 onwards there appears to have been
a date letter, though in some cases its use was erratic, the same stamp
being used for succeeding years.

In 1729 the Irish Parliament enacted that plate should be assayed by
the assay master and bear the maker’s stamp, the harp crowned, and the
date letter. In 1730, by the order of the Commissioners of Excise, a
fourth stamp was added, the figure of Hibernia, to denote that the duty
had been paid. In 1807 the sovereign’s head was ordered to be placed
on all plate as a duty mark, and the figure of Hibernia was allowed to
remain, so that till 1890, when the duty was taken off silver, the two
duty marks ran together. But Hibernia may be regarded as a hall-mark,
though that was not its original purpose.

The city of Cork never had a date letter. Prior to 1715 the city arms,
a ship in full sail between two castles, was used together with the
maker’s mark, which latter embodied some heraldic device. Later the
only mark used at Cork was the maker’s initials and the word STERLING,
or the word DOLLAR; this took the place of the town mark. The official
guide to the Irish metal work at the Dublin Museum, to which we are
indebted for much information, states that “Immense quantities of
silver were manufactured in Cork during the eighteenth century, but
comparatively little remains at the present day, most of it having been
melted down as the fashions changed.”

[Illustration: CENTREPIECE. DUBLIN, 1740.

Maker, Robert Calderwood.

(The design of a Potato Ring by same maker is shown on cover of this

(_At the Metropolitan Museum, New York._)]

The word “dollar” alludes to the silver that was used for plate, much
of it being obtained from Spanish dollars. This is parallel to the
usage on the coinage. The word “Portobello” is found on English
silver coined about the year 1739 from silver taken at Portobello by
Admiral Vernon; and the word “Lima” on George II gold coins, signifying
that they were from bullion captured from the Spaniards at that place.
Anne’s guineas, of 1703, have the word “Vigo,” relating to Sir George
Rooke’s captures. At the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the
nineteenth century, silver coins were so scarce that Spanish dollars
were made legal tender with the head of George III stamped on them.

In the early nineteenth century the Dublin marks appear added to the
Cork mark STERLING. The following are among some of the Cork marks
found: STERLING and maker’s mark, C. T. (Carden Terry) about 1780.
STERLING and maker’s mark


(Carden Terry and John Williams), about 1800.

And there is Robert Goble, 1694, a piece of whose delightful work we
illustrate with marks; the Cork mace at the Victoria and Albert Museum,
a specimen of beautiful craftsmanship, is marked with the Cork castle
and ship, and the letters R. G. There is also Jonathan Buck, 1764, and
a fine cream-jug of his superb work is illustrated (p. 339).

Besides Dublin and Cork there were other places at which silver was
assayed and marked: at Limerick, in the seventeenth century, with the
mark of the _fleur-de-lis_; Youghal in the seventeenth century, with
the town mark of a single-masted ship. In 1783 a small village near
Waterford, termed New Geneva, owing to a company of Geneva watch-makers
having settled there, had an assay office for a few years, mainly
for watch-cases. The harp was used in their mark. Clonmel, Waterford,
Mullinger, Kinsale, Kilkenny, and Drogheda all made plate which was
assayed at Dublin.

The oldest piece of Irish hall-marked plate now existing is a flagon in
Trinity College, Dublin, bearing the Dublin hall-mark for 1638.

The caster (illustrated p. 331) is in date 1699, and bears the Dublin
hall-marks for that year and the maker’s initials G. L. (George Lyng).
Marks illustrated page 409. This example is interesting as showing
the type of art existing contemporary with English work. The grace
and elegance of this caster stamp it as being the work of a practised
artist, and though doubtless English fashions did affect the class of
articles made, the native skill in the subtle use of ornament and the
perfection of symmetry was in strong evidence across the Irish Channel.

A loving-cup with two handles, in harp form, was made by Robert Goble,
of Cork, about 1694, (illustrated p. 331). These cups are peculiarly
Irish and were made nowhere else, except when the English silversmith
or the Sheffield plateworker copied them. The harp to this day has
remained symbolic of Erin, and Beleek teacups of delicate egg-shell
porcelain sometimes have a harp handle.

Throughout the eighteenth century a great number of these two-handled
harp cups were made. They have a fine bold form and evidently fulfil
the object for which they were made. The marks as shown in the specimen
illustrated are usually at the top of the body near the rim.

[Illustration: CREAM-JUG. CORK, 1764.

Fine chased and repoussé work. Signed under lip, “Jonathan Buck, 1764.”

(Marks illustrated p. 409.)]

[Illustration: CREAM-JUG. DUBLIN, _c._ 1740.

Maker, John Hamilton. Finely chased and embossed decoration.

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Harris & Sinclair, Dublin._)]

In the year 1740, when Frederick of Prussia seized the rich country of
Silesia, young Oliver Goldsmith sat at the feet of his schoolmaster,
that old soldier of fortune, Thomas Byrne, who had served with our army
in Spain. He listened to “the exploits of Peterborough and Stanhope,
the surprise of Monjuich, and the glorious disaster of Brihuega,” and
he lent an ear to the stories of “the great Rapparee chiefs, Baldearg
O’Donnell and galloping Hogan.” At fifteen he entered Trinity College,
Dublin, as a poor scholar. To-day he rests on College Green, one of
Ireland’s proud monuments. At this date the silversmith was doing great
things; the Metropolitan Museum at New York has a fine centre-piece of
these far-off days. It will be seen in the illustration (p. 335) to
what refinement the art of the Dublin silversmith had attained. The
maker is Robert Calderwood, and in such a specimen claims recognition
for craftsmanship of a very high order. His mark is R. C. with a small
crown between the letters, and his work is always prized by collectors.

A cream-jug, made by John Hamilton, of Dublin about the same date
(illustrated p. 339), may be compared, to the advantage of the Irish
craftsmen, with work of the same period wrought in England or Scotland.
There is a suggestion in the handle of the old harp design of the
loving-cup, but the rich chasing and exquisite ornamentation of the
body exhibit the finest touches of the silversmith’s art.

On the same page a fine cream-jug made by Jonathan Buck of Cork, in
1764, is illustrated, and the marks are given on page 409. It is
minutely signed in full under the lip, “Jonathan Buck, 1764.” The mark
has a buck in a shield. The handle in this piece still lovingly adheres
to the harp form, delightfully adapted to this graceful vessel. We may
conjecture that this was a wedding gift to some bride, as the figures
of the goddess Venus and Cupid are in fine relief. Such an example is
unique with its elaborate chased and repoussé work.

The cream-pail (illustrated p. 343) is of Dublin make, about 1770.
There is strong classic influence. The drapery, the medallion rosette,
and the key pattern of the incised work, all tell of the prevailing
fashion. It is as classic as the doorways on the Quays at Dublin. But
there is a robustness in Irish classicism which establishes it as
something not merely copied as a prevailing fashion but embodied in
the handiwork of the craftsman. Perhaps the Latinity of the old faith
imparted a cosmopolitan kinship to the metal-workers and carvers and
art craftsmen of Ireland. They always realized to the full continental
fashions when the wave of importation reached their shores. The
delights of Gallic or Italian artists became at once acclimatized.

The potato ring or dish stand is a form of Irish silver not made
elsewhere. They were rings of metal upon which old Oriental bowls were
placed to prevent the hot vessel injuring the polished surface of the
mahogany table. They were possibly used later to support wooden bowls
for holding potatoes. Genuine Irish examples are always circular. They
belong to the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Bowl and
dish were synonymous terms in those days, hence they are sometimes
called “Dish Rings.” There are three types: (1) The plain pierced. (2)
Pierced work, ornamented with flowers and birds and pastoral scenes.
(3) Basket work formed of round wire twisted, or flat square wire
strips interlaced.

[Illustration: CREAM-PAIL. DUBLIN, _c._ 1770.

Maker, Will Hughes. Contemporary ladle by another maker.

(Marks illustrated p. 409.)

(_By courtesy of Messrs. Harris & Sinclair, Dublin._)]

On the cover of this volume is illustrated an example of a typical
Irish dish ring, kindly lent by Messrs. Carrington & Co. This is in
date about 1760, the last year of the reign of George II. The maker
is Robert Calderwood. It is representative of the pierced type,
having exquisite chased work with birds and flowers. Such pieces are
only found, as a rule, in well-known private collections or on the
shelves of museum cases. The year before it was fashioned in Dublin,
General Wolfe had captured Quebec, and in September 1760 Montreal had
capitulated, completing the conquest of Canada.

The following Makers’ Marks will be of interest to those possessing
old Irish silver as of use in determining dates of Dublin silver; and
specimens bearing these initials are to be seen in the Dublin Museum:--

1655, D. B. (Daniel Bellingham); 1657, I. S. (John Slicer); 1680, W. L.
(Walter Lewis); 1715, J. T. (John Tuite); 1716, J. W. (Joseph Walker);
1717, I. H. (John Hamilton); 1724, M. W. (Matthew Walker); 1725, I.
S. (John Sterne); 1743, R. H. (Robert Holmes); 1748, W. W. (William
Williamson); 1748, W. K. (William Knox); 1750, C. S. (Christopher
Skinner); 1760, G. B. (George Beere); 1763, I. L. (John Laughlin);
1765, S. W. (Stephen Walsh); 1765, W. T. (W. Townshend); 1770, D. K.
(Darby Kehoe); 1771, C. H. (Capel Harrison); 1772, T. L. (Thomas
Lilly); 1773, C. T. (Charles Townshend); 1775, T. J. (Thomas Jones);
1776, R. W. (Robert Williams); 1780, I. N. (John Nicklin); 1790, W. L.
(William Law); 1802, R. B. (Robert Breading); 1819, I. L. B. (James le



    Large prices have been paid for these examples of Irish silver
    with scroll work, pastoral scenes, fruit, and flower subjects, and
    pierced trellis decoration.

    They realize prices varying from £50 to £250, and fine early
    examples bring even more. The following prices have been given for
    examples: 1757, £129; 1760, 230s. per oz., £98; 1772, 188s. per
    oz., £136; 1786, 200s. per oz., £164.


  The following Tables are intended to be of practical use to the
      student of Old Silver, and they are arranged in a convenient
      form for reference.

   I. Tables showing Date Letters used at the London Assay Office from
      1598 to 1835 (pages 351-355).

  II. Table showing =Differences of Shields= in Hall Marks, Standard
      Marks, and Date Marks of London Assay Office, from the Accession
      of Queen Elizabeth to the present day (page 357).

 III. Series of Examples showing Types of Marks found on authentic
      specimens of Old Silver assayed in London during the above period
      (pages 359-385).

  IV. Series of Examples from Silver assayed at Exeter, Chester,
      Norwich, York, Newcastle, Birmingham, and Sheffield (pages

      Scottish and Irish Marks are also given (pages 401-409).



Used at London Assay Office.



In London Hall Marks,
Standard Marks and Date Marks,
From Elizabeth to George V


    1598-1617.    1618-1637.[5]   1638-1657.     1658-1677.

  ~A~  A 1598     _a_  A 1618    ~A~  A 1638    ~A~  A  1658
  ~B~  B 1599     _b_  B 1619    ~B~  B 1639    ~B~  B  1659
  ~C~  C 1600     _c_  C 1620    ~C~  C 1640    ~C~  C  1660
  ~D~  D 1601     _d_  D 1621    ~D~  D 1641    ~D~  D  1661
  ~E~  E 1602     _e_  E 1622    ~E~  E 1642    ~E~  E  1662
  ~F~  F 1603     _f_  F 1623    ~F~  F 1643    ~F~  F  1663
  ~G~  G 1604     _g_  G 1624    ~G~  G 1644    ~G~  G  1664
  ~H~  H 1605     _h_  H 1625    ~H~  H 1645    ~H~  H  1665
  ~I~  I 1606     _i_  I 1626    ~J~  I 1646    ~J~  I  1666
  ~K~  K 1607          K 1627    ~K~  K 1647    ~K~  K  1667
       L 1608     _l_  L 1628    ~L~  L 1648    ~L~  L  1668
  ~M~  M 1609     _m_  M 1629    ~M~  M 1649    ~M~  M  1669
  ~N~  N 1610     _n_  N 1630    ~N~  N 1650    ~N~  N  1670
  ~O~  O 1611     _o_  O 1631    ~O~  O 1651    ~O~  O  1671
       P 1612     _p_  P 1632    ~P~  P 1652    ~P~  P  1672
  ~Q~  Q 1613     _q_  Q 1633    ~Q~  Q 1653    ~Q~  Q  1673
  ~R~  R 1614     _r_  R 1634    ~R~  R 1654    ~R~  R  1674
       S 1615     _s_  S 1635    ~S~  S 1655    ~S~  S  1675
  ~T~  T 1616     _t_  T 1636    ~T~  T 1656    ~T~  T  1676
  ~V~  V 1617     _v_  V 1637         V 1657    ~V~  V  1677

The shape of the shields used is shown in Table II.


       1678-1696.        1696-1715.       1716-1735.      1736-1755.

      ~a~   A   1678    ~A~    A 1696    =A=   A 1716    =a=   A 1736
 [A]  ~b~   B   1679    ~B~    B 1697    =B=   B 1717    =b=   B 1737
      ~c~   C   1680    ~C~    C 1698    =C=   C 1718    =c=   c 1738
      ~d~   D   1681    ~D~    D 1699    =D=   D 1719    =d=   D 1739
      ~e~   E   1682    ~E~    E 1700    =E=   E 1720    =e=   E 1740
      ~f~   F   1683    ~ff~   F 1701    =F=   F 1721    =f=   F 1741
      ~g~   G   1684    ~~g    G 1702    =G=   G 1722    =g=   G 1742
      ~h~   H   1685    ~h~    H 1703    =H=   H 1723    =h=   H 1743
      ~i~   I   1686    ~i~    I 1704    =I=   I 1724    =i=   I 1744
            K   1687    ~k~    K 1705    =K=   K 1725    =k=   K 1745
 [A]  ~l~   L   1688    ~l~    L 1706    =L=   L 1726    =l=   L 1746
            M   1689    ~m~    M 1707    =M=   M 1727    =m=   M 1747
 [A]  ~n~   N   1690    ~n~    N 1708    =N=   N 1728    =n=   N 1748
      ~o~   O   1691    ~o~    O 1709    =O=   O 1729    =o=   O 1749
      ~p~   P   1692    ~p~    P 1710    =P=   P 1730    =p=   P 1750
            Q   1693    ~q~    Q 1711    =Q=   Q 1731    =q=   Q 1751
      ~r~   R   1694    ~r~    R 1712    =R=   R 1732    =r=   R 1752[6]
      ~s~   S   1695    ~s~    S 1713    =S=   S 1733    =s=   S 1753
      ~t~   T   1696    ~t~    T 1714    =T=   T 1734    =t=   T 1754
                        ~v~    V 1715    =V=   V 1735    =v=   V 1755

The shape of the shields used is shown in Table II.


   1756-1775.       1776-1795.     1796-1815.     1816-1835.

  ~A~  +a+ 1756    a  +a+ 1776    A  +a+ 1796    a  +a+ 1816
  ~B~  +b+ 1757    b  +b+ 1777    B  +b+ 1797    b  +b+ 1817
  ~C~  +c+ 1758    c  +c+ 1778    C  +c+ 1798    c  +c+ 1818
  ~D~  +d+ 1759    d  +d+ 1779    D  +d+ 1799    d  +d+ 1819
  ~E~  +e+ 1760    e  +e+ 1780    E  +e+ 1800    e  +e+ 1820
  ~F~  +f+ 1761    f  +f+ 1781    F  +f+ 1801    f  +f+ 1821
  ~G~  +g+ 1762    g  +g+ 1782    G  +g+ 1802    g  +g+ 1822
  ~H~  +h+ 1763    h  +h+ 1783    H  +h+ 1803    h  +h+ 1823
  ~I~  +i+ 1764    i  +i+ 1784    I  +i+ 1804    i  +i+ 1824
  ~K~  +k+ 1765    k  +k+ 1785    K  +k+ 1805    k  +k+ 1825
  ~L~  +l+ 1766    l  +l+ 1786    L  +l+ 1806    l  +l+ 1826
  ~M~  +m+ 1767    m  +m+ 1787    M  +m+ 1807    m  +m+ 1827
  ~N~  +n+ 1768    n  +n+ 1788    N  +n+ 1808    n  +n+ 1828
  ~O~  +o+ 1769    o  +o+ 1789    O  +o+ 1809    o  +o+ 1829
  ~P~  +p+ 1770    p  +p+ 1790    P  +p+ 1810    p  +p+ 1830
  ~Q~  +q+ 1771    q  +q+ 1791    Q  +q+ 1811    q  +q+ 1831
  ~R~  +r+ 1772    r  +r+ 1792    R  +r+ 1812    r  +r+ 1832
  ~S~  +s+ 1773    s  +s+ 1793    S  +s+ 1813    s  +s+ 1833
  ~T~  +t+ 1774    t  +t+ 1794    T  +t+ 1814    t  +t+ 1834
  ~U~  +v+ 1775    u  +v+ 1795    U  +v+ 1815    u  +v+ 1835

The shape of the shields used is shown in Table II.






Found on Authentic Specimens
Of Old Silver Assayed in London
From the Reign of Elizabeth
To the Present Day



[Illustration: ~A~ to ~V~]

1558 to 1577

(Twenty letters are used, omitting J.)

The earlier letters of this alphabet were impressed with a stamp
following the outline of the shape of the letter. Later a shield was
used. The type of this date letter is Black Letter Small. Similar type
was used from 1678 to 1696, and the shields are the same shape. This
type was again used in the reign of Victoria from 1856 to 1875, but the
shield is different.

[Illustration: ~A~ to ~V~]

1578 to 1597

(Twenty letters are used, omitting J; and the U is of the same form as
the V, which was followed in succeeding alphabets till the year 1735.)

Roman Capital Letters are used at this period. The lion and leopard’s
head are in a stamp following the outline, a practice which continued
till 1678. From 1716 to 1735, in the reign of George I, a similar
alphabet was used with shields of the same shape; but the first four
years have the figure of Britannia and lion’s head erased, the Higher
Standard Mark. In 1720 the lion and leopard’s head with a new shape of
shield clearly indicate the difference.

[Illustration: A to V]

1598 to 1617

Lombardic Capitals are used in this alphabet. The peculiarities in this
series are the letter A with its crossbar (1598), the letter C (1600),
which is a D reversed, and the letter G (1604).

[Illustration: ~_a_~ to ~_v_~]

1618 to 1637

The letters used are Small Italic. The shields are slightly longer and
pointed at bottom. The noticeable letters puzzling to beginners are
_b_ (1619), similar to _h_ (1625), _l_ (1628), and _s_ (1635). The _l_
(1628) is similar to the _s_ (1753).


[Illustration: 1564]

[Illustration: 1578]

[Illustration: 1606 BEAKER (illustrated p. 121).]

[Illustration: 1631 Maker, William Shute.]

[Illustration: 1637 CANDLESTICK (illustrated p. 223).]



1638 to 1657


The next alphabet used at the London Assay Office for annual date
letters is of a peculiar type known as the Court Hand. Most of the
letters are of a character which has not survived in modern usage
and they are of a form dissimilar to any other. This Court Hand was
employed from the year 1638 to 1657, that is during the latter half of
the reign of Charles I and during the Commonwealth up to 1657.

This series of characters was again used from 1696 to 1715, that is
to say during six years of the reign of William III, the whole of the
reign of Queen Anne, and for the first two years of George I.

Two very important periods are thus covered by these two Court Hand
alphabets. It should not be difficult to avoid confusing the one period
with the other, as there are other factors which determine which is the
latter series. The leopard’s head and the lion are, from 1697 to 1720,
replaced by the figure of Britannia and the lion’s head erased.

The illustration of both series of Court Hand letters on pages 351 and
353 will enable readers to identify them more readily.

The examples illustrated on page 365 are, in conjunction with the
maker’s mark, the leopard’s head, and the lion passant, for the period
1638 to 1657.

A comparison may be made with the later Court Hand characters, where
examples will be found illustrated on page 373.

[Illustration: ~a~ to ~u~

1638 to 1657]

Among the difficulties presented by this Court Hand, the following
letters are likely to give trouble in identification owing to their
similarity in shape, which becomes more pronounced when the letters
are worn and the details slightly obliterated. The ~a~ (1638) may be
mistaken for the ~i~ (1646); the ~b~ (1639) is not unlike the letter
~h~ (1645); and the ~k~ (1647) resembles the letter ~b~ (1639), which
with its peculiar form, when worn, is only distinguishable by the bar
across the centre. A worn letter ~d~ (1641) is apt to resemble an ~s~

In examining the letters under a glass, care should be taken to see
that they are not upside down, as in some instances they often resemble
others. The shape of the shield is usually clearly enough defined to
show the pointed base.

Although these letters are so extremely puzzling, especially to
beginners, it should be borne in mind in comparison with the similar
Court Hand alphabet which was used later from 1696 to 1715, that the
date marks are only confirmatory. In the later series there is the
difference in the omission of the lion passant and the leopard’s head,
replaced by the figure of Britannia and the lion’s head erased. But
the character of the silver itself tells its own story in cases where
date marks and standard marks happen to be wholly obliterated. A piece
of Queen Anne plate differs so essentially in style from a piece of
Charles I or Cromwellian that it should be impossible to fall into any
error in mistaking the one for the other.

[Illustration: 1638 SALT CELLAR (illustrated p. 151).]

[Illustration: 1640]

[Illustration: 1648 APOSTLE SPOON (illustrated p. 185).]

[Illustration: 1653 PORRINGER (illustrated p. 197).]

[Illustration: 1654]


1658 to 1696


This period covers the late Stuart silver--Charles II, James II, and
the major portion of the reign of William III.

The period represents a renaissance in the styles, and there is a
noticeable rejuvenance in the specimens still preserved. For example,
see candlesticks illustrated (page 227).

But it must be remembered that during the Charles I period in the days
of the Civil War much of the silver was melted down to enable the king
to use it in striking the coins of the realm.

Similarly in the reign of William III the old silver was called in by
the Royal Mint to be melted down to convert into coin of the realm,
for reasons which we have explained elsewhere. On account of the
depredations of the coin-clippers much of the fine old silver of the
reigns of Charles II and James II was destroyed. In consequence, the
silver of the reigns of Charles I, Charles II, and James II is of
considerable rarity.

With the opening of the eighteenth century, or, to be exact, from 1697
to 1720, the Higher Standard was obligatory, and with this departure,
and the fashions of Queen Anne, a new period of silver is entered.
Collectors are divided into schools according to their predilections.
To one, nothing later than Elizabeth offers any interest. To another,
early Stuart silver affords charms which no later period can supplant.
Again, to others the Queen Anne period is the be-all and end-all of
their ambitions in collecting.

[Illustration: ~A~ to ~U~

1658 to 1677]

In this alphabet the peculiarities are the letters C (1660) and E
(1662), which are only distinguishable from each other by the cross-bar
to the letter E. The letter G is an exceptional form (1664), and is
shown on the opposite page. O (1671) is also an unusual form. Letters
T (1676) and L (1668) are somewhat similar in form, and may easily be
mistaken for each other in worn examples.

The letter H (1665) is illustrated as the mark on a wine-cup (page 129).

[Illustration: ~a~ to ~t~

1678 to 1696]

In the year 1679 an oblong shield was used for the lion, as shown on
page 357. This mark is taken from the Sumner Salt in the Mercers’
Company Hall, illustrated page 155. The letter E is found on a Snuffers
and Tray, illustrated page 231, and the letter F on a Porringer (1683),
illustrated page 205. The letter H (1685) is shown on the opposite page.

In regard to this alphabet great changes were in the air (see Higher
Standard Mark, pages 49-59), and this alphabet comes to an end with
the letter t, and no later date letter than t was employed. But from
March to May in 1697 the letter a of the Court Hand alphabet was used,
and from May 1697 to May 1698 the Court Hand letter b was used (see
succeeding alphabet).

This is the only occasion when the London Assay Office departed from
the regular employment of twenty letters, from A to U, excluding the
letter J.

[Illustration: 1660 CUP (illustrated p. 75).]

[Illustration: 1664]

[Illustration: 1675]

[Illustration: 1685]

[Illustration: 1692]

Other Marks illustrated are =1665= (p. 129), =1669= (p. 197), =1682=
(p. 231), =1683= (p. 205).


1697 to 1715

WILLIAM III (1697-1702), QUEEN ANNE (1702-1714)

During this period there were some important Acts of Parliament
which relate to Silver Plate and determine certain changes which are
interesting to collectors.

In 1696-7, by 8 and 9 William III, _cap._ 8, the standard of silver
plate was raised higher than that of the coinage, to stop the practice
of melting down the coin of the realm and converting it into plate.
From the 25th of March, 1697, the new standard became compulsory, and
any silver plate made less than .959, that is, 959 parts of pure silver
in every thousand, was illegal. The marks of the maker were to be
the first two letters of his _surname_, and the lion passant and the
leopard’s head were to be discontinued. The new standard silver was to
be stamped with the figure of Britannia in place of the former mark,
and the lion’s head erased in place of the latter.

In 1700, under 12 William III, _cap._ 4, Chester, York, Exeter,
Bristol, and Norwich were reappointed Assay Towns with the right to
stamp silver.

It was enacted that the new standard should be observed; that the
maker’s mark, the variable date letter (“Roman”), the arms of the city,
the lion’s head erased, and the figure of Britannia be stamped on the

In 1702, 1 Anne, _cap._ 3, a similar power was conferred on

[Illustration: ~a~ to ~v~

1697 to 1715]

This alphabet presents a difficulty at the outset. The letter a was
only used from March to May 1697, and from thence to May 1698 the
letter ~b~ was used. An example is illustrated on page 217 of this
latter period. The maker, John Bodington, signs the first two letters
of his surname below a bishop’s mitre.

The letter ~c~ is illustrated from a mark on a cupping-bowl, 1698,
and should be compared--as should all the letters in this Court Hand
alphabet--with the letter ~c~ (1640) in the series 1638 to 1657.

The letter ~c~ (1698) and ~q~ (1711) are shown opposite. The maker’s
initials, +Ke+, stand for William Keith.

The letter ~d~ (1699) is given elsewhere (page 353).

The letter ~f~ (1701) is the mark on a sugar-caster illustrated (page
269). The maker, Christopher Canner, stamps the first two letters of
his surname.

The letter ~i~ (1704) is unlike any modern i, and is from a Monteith
illustrated (page 135). The maker, Louis Mettayer, uses the first two
letters of his surname.

The letter ~k~ (1705) is equally unfamiliar. It is from a teapot
and stand. The maker, Simon Pantin, signs the first letters of his
Christian and surnames. In 1739 this was made compulsory by statute.

The letter ~r~ (1712) is shown on a caster illustrated (page 269).

All the marks on opposite page denote the Higher Standard--figure of
Britannia and lion’s head erased.

The Higher Standard (1697-1720)

[Illustration: 1698

Maker, William Keith.]

[Illustration: 1705

Maker, Simon Pantin.]

[Illustration: 1707

Maker, Robert Cooper.]

[Illustration: 1709

Maker, Seth Lofthouse.]

[Illustration: 1711

Maker, William Keith.]

Other Marks illustrated are =1697= (p. 217), =1701= (p. 269), =1704=
(p. 135), =1712= (p. 269).


1716 to 1778

GEORGE I, GEORGE II, and GEORGE III (the first quarter of his reign).

In the sixth year of the reign of George I, in 1720, the old silver
standard was revived. After 1720 the figure of Britannia and the lion’s
head erased disappear from silver. In 1721 the leopard’s head and the
lion passant reappear as hall and standard marks, and from this date
the provincial offices again took up the assaying of silver.

In 1721 the leopard’s head was in a square shield, as shown on page 357.

In 1722 and 1723 the leopard’s head was in a circular shield. In 1724
and 1725 the shield for the leopard’s head was in an escutcheon with
a rounded base (see illustration, page 357). From 1726 to 1728 the
leopard’s head again is in a circular shield, and this and the previous
years, 1722 and 1723, are the only occasions when the circular shield
was used.

The shapes of the shields of the lion passant during this time are
shown in the Table (page 357).

From 1729 to 1738 the leopard’s head is in a shield with a pointed
base, and the lion is in an oblong shield.

From 1739 to 1755 the lion is in a shield which is irregular in shape
following the outline. The leopard’s head from 1739 to 1750 is in a
shield of elaborate shape, and the whiskers of the leopard are clearly
marked in the stamp. From 1751 to 1755 the shield for the leopard’s
head changes. These differences can be seen in the Table (page 357).

From 1756 to 1775 the leopard’s head has another shield. The lion from
1756 to 1895 (139 years) retains the same shaped shield.

[Illustration: ~A~ to ~V~

1716 to 1735]

The example given on the opposite page for the year 1717 belongs to the
Higher Standard period.

The mark for 1722 is from a tea-caddy made by Bowles Nash, whose mark
is a B with a star.

[Illustration: ~a~ to ~u~

1736 to 1755]

The example given on the opposite page for the year 1753 shows the date
letter ~s~, and is noticeable as likely to be confused with the letter
~f~ 1741.

[Illustration: ~A~ to ~U~

1756 to 1775]

The mark for 1761 on a cake-basket with the maker’s mark, E.R. (Edward
Romer) is illustrated (page 291). It will be observed that from this
date the initial letters of Christian and surname of makers were now
used. This was compulsory in 1739 by 12 of George II _cap._ 26.

For the year 1773 a sugar-bowl is illustrated (page 283). The marks are
given on the opposite page. The makers were S. and J. Crespell.

[Illustration: 1717]

[Illustration: 1722

Maker, Bowles Nash.]

[Illustration: 1751

Maker, Benjamin Gignac.]

[Illustration: 1753]

[Illustration: 1773 SUGAR-BOWL (illustrated p. 283).]

Other Marks illustrated are =1746= (p. 251), =1761= (p. 291).


1776 to 1835


The most important feature in regard to marks in this period is the
addition of the reigning sovereign’s head, which commenced in 1784.
This Duty Mark was continued throughout the reigns of George III,
George IV, William IV, and during the reign of Victoria until 1890,
when the mark of the sovereign’s head was discontinued on the abolition
of the duty on silver.

In regard to the collection of silver, it must be admitted that this
period embraces decadent styles. The delicacy of the Stuart period with
its refinement and grace, and the subsequent reticence of the Queen
Anne and early Georgian styles, with their sober though essentially
national character, was submerged in the first half of the nineteenth
century in the Victorian era. There is an absence of originality and a
feeling of dull, insipid, or overloaded ornament in most of the work of
this period.

Practically with this period, from a collector’s point of view, the
subject comes to an end. But there are bright spots now and again
visible. There is the classic influence due to the same artistic
impulse which directed Wedgwood and the Brothers Adam; but this only
extended into the early years of the nineteenth century. The First
Empire style came and went in furniture and silver, and only fitfully
does it appear in design later than 1830.

[Illustration: ~a~ to ~u~

1776 to 1795]

In this period the most noticeable difference in the marks is the
addition of the head of George III, in 1784, when the Duty Act was
passed (24 George III).

[Illustration: ~A~ to ~U~

1796 to 1815]

Three examples are given from this period, 1798, 1808, and 1810; the
last set of marks is taken from a silver-gilt salt with Pompeian style
of ornament made by Rundell, Bridge and Rundell. This is illustrated on
page 173.

[Illustration: ~a~ to ~u~

1816 to 1835]

In 1821 the head of George IV replaced that of his father, and from
1831 to 1836 the head of William IV was stamped as a Duty Mark.

In 1821 the leopard’s head lost its crown, and has so remained since
that date. The lion at the same time had the head fuller and in
profile, in which style it has continued till the present day.

[Illustration: 1779]

[Illustration: 1798]

[Illustration: 1808]

[Illustration: 1810 SALT CELLAR (p. 173).]

[Illustration: 1826]


1836 to 1915

VICTORIA (1837-1901), EDWARD VII (1901-10), GEORGE V

From a collecting point of view there is not much in this last period
to invite comparison either in beauty or originality with the best
periods of old silver.

In order to complete the series of examples herein given a selection
of marks has been made covering this period, so that the reader may
recognize modern marks, especially when the design of the piece has
been copied from some old specimen.

The period is important in embracing several protective measures
designed to safeguard the public interests and to bring the assay
offices under stricter supervision. The Report of the Select Committee
of the House of Commons on the Hall-Marking of Gold and Silver Plate,
etc., which was issued in 1879, should be carefully studied by those
students who wish to master the complexities of hall-marking.

In 1876 it was enacted (39 and 40 Vict. _cap._ 35) that all foreign
plate, before its sale in England, should be assayed here and bear the
letter F in an oval escutcheon. Amended by 4 Edward VII, _cap._ 6, 1904.

In regard to forgery of silver plate there is ample provision to bring
the offenders to book. By Vict. 7 and 8, _cap._ 22, sections 5 and 6,
penalties are provided for those altering and adding to plate, and
possessing, selling, or exporting such plate without fresh assay; a
fine of £10 can be imposed for each article so found in a person’s
possession without lawful excuse.

[Illustration: ~A~ to ~U~

1836 to 1855]

From 1837 the head of Queen Victoria appears as a Duty Mark, and till
1875 the leopard’s head, still uncrowned, is of a different form (see
Table, page 357).

[Illustration: ~a~ to ~u~

1856 to 1875]

In this period the shape of the shield for the date letter, which had
remained the same since 1756, was now for the last time used. Its new
shape is shown in the following period.

[Illustration: ~A~ to ~U~

1876 to 1895]

The shape of the date shield was changed with the letter B in 1877. In
1876, with the letter A, the shield of the leopard’s head was changed,
and the face became more feline with whiskers (see Table, page 357). In
1876 another new mark was added, the letter F, in an oval escutcheon,
which was compulsory by law to be stamped on all foreign silver assayed
at any office in the United Kingdom.

In 1890 the sovereign’s head disappears, as the duty on silver was then

[Illustration: ~a~ to ~u~

1896 to 1915]

In this last period of all it will be observed that the shields of the
date letter and the leopard’s head both change their shapes, and have
three lobes.

[Illustration: 1835

Maker, William Eames.]

[Illustration: 1845

Maker, R. Garrard.]

[Illustration: 1873]

[Illustration: 1891

Maker, S. C. Harris.]

[Illustration: 1915]


[5] These and subsequent alphabets follow entries in the minutes of
the Goldsmiths’ Company, and were verified from pieces of plate by Mr.
Octavius Morgan. (See p. 38.)

[6] These letters have been verified by me from pieces of old
silver.--A. H.

[7] _The Position of Marks._ Marks are not placed on old silver in
a straight line. They are shown in this manner in this volume for
convenience, and are the author’s own arrangement. They are in practice
irregularly stamped, sometimes in a circle and sometimes upside down.
It must be borne in mind that the maker put his mark on first prior to
sending the piece to the Assay Office. The remaining marks were stamped
thereon under the direction of the Wardens. Although the maker’s mark
was stamped first, some of the other marks were often placed on each
side of it.






Although the records show that Exeter was among the Assay Offices
appointed in 1700 by 12 and 13 William, _cap._ 3 and 4, it is evident
that silver was assayed here by the city guild of goldsmiths, as some
of the marks found on old silver, indubitably of Exeter origin, belong
to the sixteenth century.

We are enabled, by the kindness of Mr. J. H. Ellett Lake of Exeter, to
give a very representative selection of Exeter marks, and, in addition,
to give illustrations of the pieces themselves in this volume.

It will be seen that the earlier marks date from 1572, and the X
surmounted by a crown was the city or hall-mark up to a period as late
as 1640. In the early eighteenth century, subsequent to the Act of
William III, the hall-mark becomes a castle with the shield divided by
a vertical line.

In 1773 a Report was made by a Committee of the House of Commons, who
held an inquiry and took evidence as to the manner of conducting the
Assay Offices in London, York, Exeter, Bristol, Chester, Norwich,
and Newcastle. The Assay Master at Exeter, in describing the method
employed at his office, stated that the hall-mark was a castle, and
the date letter for 1772 was Z, in Roman character, and that A was to
be the letter for the next year, and that the whole alphabet was gone

But J, apparently, was never used at Exeter, and in later alphabets no
letter after U was used, e.g. A to U (1797 to 1816), etc.


It is not possible in a volume of this size to give all the date
letters of provincial offices, but the following may be of use as
indicating the letters used at Exeter:--

  ~A~ to ~Z~ (1701 to 1724) }in pointed shield.
  ~a~ to ~z~ (1725 to 1748) }
  ~A~ to ~Z~ (1749 to 1772) in square shield.
  ~A~ to ~Y~ (1773 to 1796). The letter I was used for two years, 1781
                                  and 1782.
  ~A~ to ~U~ (1797 to 1816) in square shield.
  ~a~ to ~u~ (1817 to 1836) in square shield with four corners cut off.
  ~A~ to ~U~(1837 to 1856)   ditto      ditto.
  ~A~ to ~U~ (1857 to 1876)  ditto.
  ~A~ to ~F~ (1877 to 1882), when the office closed. Square shield with
                                  oval base.

In regard to the marks illustrated on opposite page it will be seen
that the Higher Standard Mark was used at Exeter after 1701. Examples
are shown, 1706 and 1714. Collectors have sometimes stumbled into the
belief that no silver was allowed by law to be assayed at any other
office than London during the period 1697 to 1720. But it is only
between 1697 and 1701 that the provincial offices were practically
closed. From 1701 till 1720 such offices did assay and mark silver
plate with the figure of Britannia, and the lion’s head erased.

[Illustration: 1575 CHALICE (illustrated p. 67).]

[Illustration: 1640 CHALICE (illustrated p. 71).]

[Illustration: 1706 Maker, John Elston.]

[Illustration: 1714 Maker, Pentecost Symonds.]

[Illustration: 1748 TANKARD (illustrated p. 117).]

Other Exeter Marks illustrated are =1705= (p. 115), =1707= (p. 209),
=1728= (p. 273), =1729= (p. 81), =1733= (p. 117).



The old cathedral cities were the centres of art, therefore it is not
surprising to find assay offices established there from the earliest
times. Besides Exeter, which we have considered, there were assay
offices at Chester, Norwich, and York. It is remarkable that no assay
office appears to have existed at Canterbury, nor at Salisbury, nor at

Chester has a long history in connexion with the coinage and with
assaying silver. In the sixteenth century there is a record of the
assay of silver there, and Charles I struck some of his silver coinage
there in 1645 with the mint mark of the three wheatsheaves of the city.

Norwich was mentioned as one of the assay towns in 2 Hen. VI, _cap._
17, in 1423, which honour it shares with York and Newcastle as being
of such ancient lineage. The corporation of Norwich possesses several
pieces of plate of the Elizabethan period, with the city arms, a lion,
and a castle as a hall-mark. A Tudor rose with a crown above is the
standard mark. The office ceased early in the eighteenth century.

York is another office which is now extinct. At the end of the
eighteenth century it was not mentioned among the other assay offices,
but in the middle of the nineteenth century it had recommenced but did
little business, and no plate seems to have been assayed there since
about 1870.

The =Chester= hall-mark down to 1697 is the city arms, viz. a dagger
erect between three sheaves of wheat. In 1701 the mark became three
demi-lions with wheatsheaves, when Chester was reappointed as one of
the assay offices in the reign of William III. The shield was again
changed after 1775 to the older form with the dagger which is still in
use at the Chester assay office.

We give on the opposite page an example of the mark in 1775, with
the three demi-lions superimposed on the shield with the three
wheatsheaves. The later mark, of the year 1800, shows the dagger
with the wheatsheaves. It will be observed that these marks have
the leopard’s head and the lion passant, the hall-mark and the
standard-mark of the London office.

The present marks used at the Chester Assay Office, together with the
maker’s initials, are the lion passant, the City arms, and the date
letter. The letters now in use are Italic capitals commencing with ~A~
in 1901. The letter for 1915 is ~P~.

       *       *       *       *       *

An example is given of ~Norwich~ marks stamped on a tall wine-cup,
about 1620, of the James I period. The castle and lion is the
hall-mark. A Tudor rose surmounted by a crown is also found on Norwich
silver as the standard mark. The mark of the orb and cross given
opposite is the mark of Peter Peterson the maker.

       *       *       *       *       *

The ~York~ mark prior to 1700 is of a peculiar composite character.
It is now held to represent half leopard’s head and half fleur-de-lis
conjoined. The example shown is on a flagon in the possession of the
Corporation of York, and was made by Marmaduke Best, whose initials are
stamped; the letter ~R~ is the date letter for 1674. The other example,
about 1800, shows the hall-mark with the St. George’s cross and the
five diminutive lions. The date-mark was obliterated on this specimen.
The maker’s mark is N.G. The duty mark was too worn to reproduce. It
will be noticed, as at Chester, the leopard’s head and lion passant are
included in the marks.


[Illustration: 1775 Maker, Richard Richardson.]

[Illustration: 1800]


[Illustration: _c._ 1620 WINE CUP (illustrated p. 125).]


[Illustration: 1674 Maker, Marmaduke Best.]

[Illustration: _c._ 1800]


Newcastle-on-Tyne (1702-1884)

Birmingham, Sheffield (1773 to present day)

Newcastle is cited in the Acts of 1423 and 1462 as one of the cities
appointed to assay silver. By the Act relating to the Higher Standard,
and making it illegal to assay silver elsewhere than London, there is
a hiatus after 1696. But the provincial assay offices did not long
remain compulsorily idle. They petitioned the House of Commons, and
obtained redress. In 1702, 1 Anne, _cap._ 3 was specially applicable
to Newcastle-on-Tyne, and this Act reappointed the town for assaying
silver, and it is there on record that “there is, and time out of
mind hath been, an ancient Company of Goldsmiths, which, with their
families, by the said penalty are like to be ruined, and the trade
utterly lost in the said town.”

The ~Newcastle~ date letters are as follows:[8]--

  1702 to 1720, ~A~ to ~Q~. In circular shields. Except ~A~, which
                                is in a square shield. Letters used
                                in no order.
  1721 to 1739, ~a~ to ~T~. Old English capitals, except ~a~ and ~T~.
                                Circular shields, except ~R~ and ~T~.
  1740 to 1758, ~A~ to ~T~. Roman capitals in shield with pointed base.
  1759 to 1790, ~A~ to ~Z~. Italic capitals      ditto      ditto
  1791 to 1814, ~A~ to ~Z~. Roman capitals. Shield hexagonal in shape.
  1815 to 1838, ~A~ to ~Z~. Block capitals. Square-shaped shield with
                                 top corners cut off.
  1839 to 1863, ~A~ to ~Z~. Roman capitals. Hexagonal shield.
  1864 to 1883, ~a~ to ~u~. Small Roman type. Oval shield. Office
                                closed in 1884.

The complete Newcastle 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 (till 1890).

Birmingham and Sheffield were both granted the rights to assay silver
in 1773 by 13 Geo. III, _cap._ 52.

The Birmingham marks are an Anchor, a Lion passant, a Date Letter, and
the Maker’s Mark, and the Duty Mark till it was abolished in 1890.

The date alphabets for ~Birmingham~[1] are:--

  1773 to 1798, ~A~ to ~Z~. Roman capitals.
  1798 to 1824, ~a~ to ~z~. Small Roman.
  1824 to 1849, ~A~ to ~Z~. Old English capitals.
  1849 to 1875, ~A~ to ~Z~. Roman capitals.
  1875 to 1900, ~a~ to ~z~. Old English small.
  1900 to 1924, ~a~ to ~z~. Small Roman.

The Office Year begins 1st July and ends 30th June.

The ~Sheffield~[9] marks are the Lion passant, a Crown, the Date
Letter, the Maker’s Mark, and the Sovereign’s Head as the Duty Mark
till abolished in 1890.

From 1773 to 1823 the date letters were taken at random. From 1824 to
the present day they run in regular order from A to Z.

On small pieces of silver the crown and date letter are on one punch.

The alphabets for Sheffield are:--

                             Letters omitted--
  1824 to 1843, ~a~ to ~z~.  i, j, n, o, w, y.
  1844 to 1867, ~A~ to ~Z~.  J and Q.
  1868 to 1892, ~A~ to ~Z~.  I.
  1893 to 1917, ~a~ to ~z~.  j.

The Newcastle marks, 1737, are drawn from a coffee-pot (illustrated
page 243). The Date Letter is ~R~ in old English capital type.

The Birmingham marks (reproduced opposite) are in date 1804 and 1889.
It will be seen that the Duty Mark of Sovereign’s Head is in a broken
oval shield.

The Sheffield marks are from candlesticks, that of 1773 being made by
Samuel Roberts & Co.


[Illustration: 1737 COFFEE-POT (illustrated p. 243).]


[Illustration: 1804]

[Illustration: 1889]


[Illustration: 1773 Maker, Samuel Roberts & Co.]

[Illustration: 1778]


[8] For details concerning these marks I am indebted to Thomas Taylor,
Esq., of Chipchase Castle, and to Basil Anderton, Esq., Public
Librarian, Newcastle-on-Tyne.--A. H.

[9] I am indebted for these marks to the courtesy of the Assay Master,
Birmingham, and to the Assay Master, Sheffield.






Scottish marks are in a field by themselves. The art of the silversmith
has always been on a high level in Scotland, and the statutes governing
the marks are many in number, and extend over a long period from as
early as the fifteenth century. Besides Edinburgh and Glasgow, the
number of Scottish hall-marks is legion. The following towns are
known to have marked and presumably assayed silver: Stirling, Perth
(sometimes having mark of lamb and flag, and sometimes double-headed
spread-eagle), Inverness, Dundee (marked with design of town arms, a
pot of lilies), Aberdeen, and Banff.

_Edinburgh_ used the thistle as the Standard Mark after 1759. Before
that date the Assay Master’s initials were used. The Hall Mark is a
castle with three towers, and has been in use since the fifteenth
century. The Date Mark, letters A to Z (omitting J), has been regularly
employed since 1681. The Maker’s Mark has been used since 1457. The
Duty Mark of the sovereign’s head was added from 1784 to 1890.

_Glasgow_, whose patron saint is St. Kentigern (known also as St.
Mungo), has for a Hall Mark a tree with a bird perched on summit, a
bell suspended from the boughs, and transversely across trunk a salmon
with a ring in his mouth; the latter alluding to the miracle of the
recovery in the fish’s mouth of the lost ring of the Queen of Caidyow.
The Standard Mark is a lion rampant, used after 1819, and the Maker’s
Mark his initials. The Duty Mark of the sovereign’s head was used as at


The Edinburgh marks of the date 1705 shown on the opposite page are
from an old Scottish Quaich (illustrated page 313). Robert Inglis was
the Maker, and the Assay Master was James Penman, and their initials
are on separate stamps. The letter ~A~ is the date letter for 1705.

The mark for 1750 shows the letter ~_V_~ in italic capitals, and the
Assay Master’s initials are H.B, and the Makers’ are signified by K & D.

An Edinburgh mug is marked with the letters A.U and I K, standing for
Alexander Ure, the Maker, and James Kerr, the Assay Master. The date
letter is K, probably representing the year 1790.

A sugar-caster, 1746 (illustrated page 317), has the Maker’s initials
E.O. and the Assay Master’s initials H.G. (for Hugh Gordon). The castle
is also stamped as the Hall Mark, and the date letter ~_R_~ in italic

A coffee-pot made by Patrick Robertson, 1769 (illustrated page 321),
has the marks shown opposite. The thistle is the Standard Mark; the
castle is the Hall Mark; P.R. is the Maker’s Mark; and the letter ~P~
for the date. Another of Patrick Robertson’s pieces--a fine tea-urn in
classic style--is illustrated page 325. The date letter for this is Z,
indicating the year 1778.

Two Glasgow marks are shown opposite. One is before 1819, before the
lion rampant was used; and the other shows the lion rampant, the
Standard Mark of Glasgow still in use. The Duty Mark Stamp is the head
of George IV. F is the date letter for 1824.


[Illustration: 1705 QUAICH (illustrated p. 313).]

[Illustration: 1750]

[Illustration: 1769 COFFEE-POT (illustrated p. 321).]


[Illustration: 1713]

[Illustration: 1824]


Irish silver offers some complications in regard to its markings, and
it is especially interesting in its character.

Dublin is the centre of the silversmiths’ work in Ireland, and
officially the Dublin Goldsmiths’ Company holds the exclusive right of
assaying and marking Irish silver; but, as we shall show, there was
excellent silver made elsewhere in Ireland, notably at Cork, and in the
chapter devoted to Irish silver some fine specimens are illustrated.

The Standard Mark is the harp, and was used with the crown added to it,
in the year 1637, under the terms of a charter granted by Charles I to
the Goldsmiths of Dublin.

As we have seen, in England from 1784 to 1890 the head of the sovereign
was added as a mark to denote that duty had been paid. But in Ireland a
Duty Mark was in force as early as 1730, viz. the figure of Hibernia.
In 1807, in the reign of George III, the duty was raised; and it was
enacted 47 Geo. III that the king’s head should be stamped as a Duty
Mark. This was continued till 1890, as in England, but at the same
time the old Duty Mark of the figure of Hibernia was retained, and has
still been used since 1890. The figure of Hibernia may be practically
regarded as a Hall Mark, although it was first adopted to denote that
duty had been paid.

The Maker’s Mark, in the early days a device, and later initials,
follows the practice of assay offices in England. The date letter was
used from the middle of the seventeenth century. The present series of
letters from 1896 to 1920 covers the alphabet from A to Z (omitting J)
in old English capitals.


_Dublin._ 1699. The marks of this date shown opposite are from a caster
(illustrated page 331). The maker is George Lyng. This was of the
period prior to the adoption of the figure of Hibernia.

_Dublin._ 1706. These marks are taken from a cup with harp handles. The
harp with crown is in a gracefully shaped shield. The Maker’s initials
are E.B., and the date letter S.

_Dublin._ 1770. In these marks, drawn from a cream-pail (illustrated
page 343), the figure of Hibernia appears. It will be noted that this
is prior to the addition of a Duty Mark in England (in 1784), and
prior to the further addition of a second Duty Mark in Ireland (in
1807), when the head of George III denoted that duty had been paid.
The Maker of this piece was Will Haynes. The date is about 1770, but

The present Dublin alphabet ~A~ to ~Z~, Old English capitals (omitting
J), commenced in 1896. The date letter for 1915 is ~U~. These letters
are in the same order as the London alphabet from 1896, but the latter
is small Roman, and commences again at ~A~ in 1916, whereas the Dublin
alphabet continues to Z in 1920.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Cork._ 1694. This series of marks shown opposite includes the mark of
Robert Goble, of Cork, the maker. The two castles on different stamps
appear on Cork examples, and the galley with sails.

_Cork._ 1764. These marks are drawn from a cream-jug (illustrated page
339), with fine chased and repoussé work, signed by Jonathan Buck in
full, and having as a mark a buck, together with the word STERLING,
which was sometimes used on Cork and other Irish silver.


[Illustration: 1669 CASTER (illustrated p. 331).]

[Illustration: 1706 Maker, Edward Barrett.]

[Illustration: _c._ 1770 CREAM-PAIL (illustrated p. 343).]


[Illustration: _c._ 1694 LOVING-CUP. Maker, Robert Goble. (illustrated
p. 331).]

[Illustration: 1764 CREAM-JUG. Maker, Jonathan Buck. (illustrated p.


Addison, _Spectator_, quoted on salt spoon, 153

Alphabets of London date marks (1598-1835), 359-385

American silversmiths, 47

Anathema Cup, the (1481), Pembroke College, 90, 94

Apostle spoons, list of apostles with their emblems, 183;
  prices, 187, 193

Assay offices, early, 27;
  eighteenth century, 28

Basket work in silver, 276, 282;
  bread and cake baskets, 293

Beaker, the Stuart, 119;
  illustrations of the, 121

“Beer Lane,” engraving by Hogarth, 132

Bell-shaped salt cellar, illustrated, 147

Below the salt, table customs, 141

Birmingham Marks illustrated, 398, 399

Bodington, John, silversmith (1697), 216

Bowl, plum broth (1697), illustrated, 217

Boxes for sugar, 261

Bread-basket, the, 293

Britannia mark, forgeries of, 220

Britannia mark, when found on silver, 51;
  used when silver is _not_ higher standard, 58, 61

Buck, Jonathan, silversmith, Cork, specimen illustrated, 339

Busfield, William, silversmith, York, 113

Caddy spoons, 194

Cake basket, the, 293

Candle holders, part of centre-pieces, 276

Candlestick, brass, seventeenth-century, illustrated, 129

Candlesticks, silver--
  Charles II examples illustrated, 227
  Early eighteenth-century examples illustrated, 231
  Early Stuart type, 225
  Lambeth delft example (1648) illustrated, 223
  Sheffield example (1782) illustrated, 235

Casters, 271-276

Casters illustrated--
  George II (Exeter), 273
  Group (Queen Anne and George III), 277
  Irish (1699), 331
  Scottish (1746), 317
  William III and Queen Anne, 269

Catherine of Braganza popularizes tea-drinking, 254

Centre-piece, the, 276

Chalice, the, Elizabethan forms, 73, 74;
  the Exeter pattern, 73

Charles I statue, Charing Cross, its secret burial, 107

Charles II and Lord Mayor, piquant story of, 44

Chester Marks illustrated, 395


  Henry VII        1490 Mazer, 87
  (1485-1509)      1499 Leigh Cup, Mercers’ Company, 91
                   1500 Hour-glass standing salt, 143

  Elizabeth        1570 Stoneware jug with silver mounts, 95
  (1558-1603)      1572 Flagon, 105
                   1572 Chalice and cover, 67
                   1573 Chalice and cover, 71
                   1575 Chalice and cover, 67
                   1585 Standing cup and cover, 95
                   1599 Flagon, 105
                   1601 Bell-shaped salt cellar, 147

  James I          1606 Beaker, 121
  (1603-1625) _c._ 1620 Tall wine cup (no date letter), 125

  Charles I        1631 Wine cup, 129
  (1625-1649)      1631 Beaker, 121
                   1637 Candlestick, 223
                   1638 Salt cellar, Mercers’ Company, 151
                   1640 Chalice and cover, 71
                   1648 Apostle spoon (St. Andrew), 185

  Commonwealth     1651 Spoon, slipped in the stalk, 181
  (1649-1660)      1652 Spoon, seal-top, 185
                   1653 Porringer, 197
                   1660 Spoon, Puritan, 181

  Charles II       1660 Cup, 75
  (1660-1685)      1662 Posset-cup and cover, 197
                   1665 Spoon, flat stem, 181
                   1665 Wine cup, 129
                   1666 Porringer, 201
                   1669 Porringer, 197
                   1670 Teapot, 243
                   1671 Beaker, 121
                   1672 Porringer, 209
                   1673 Candlesticks, 227
                   1674 Apostle spoon (St. Simon Zelotes), Exeter, 189
                   1677 Pepys standing cup, 99
                   1679 Spoon, lobed end, 189
                   1679 Tankard, 111
                   1679 Caudle cup and cover, 201
                   1679 Octagonal salt cellar (Mercers’ Company), 155
                   1680 Patens, 79
                   1682 Snuffers and tray, 231
                   1683 Posset-pot and cover, 205
                   1684 Tankards (York), 111
                   1685 Posset-pot and cover, 213

  William III      1692 Flagons, 75
  (1689-1702)      1694 Loving-cup (Cork), 331
                   1697 Dish and ladle, 217
                   1699 Caster (Dublin), 331
                   1701 Caster, 269
                   1701 Tankard, 111

  Anne             1702 Spoon trefoil top, rat’s-tail (Exeter), 189
  (1702-1714)      1702 Lavabo bowl, 79
                   1703 Spoon, trefoil top (Newcastle), 185
                   1703 Spoon, trefoil top, 185
                   1704 Candlestick, 231
                   1704 “Monteith” punch-bowl, 135
                   1705 Tankard (Exeter), 115
                   1705 Scottish quaich, 313
                   1706 Candlestick (Exeter), 231
                   1707 Porringer (Exeter), 209
                   1712 Caster, 269
                   1712 Trencher salt cellar, 165
                   1714 Paten (Exeter), 79

  George I         1718 Tea-caddy (Exeter), 259
  (1714-1727)      1721 Candlestick, 231
                   1726 Cream-jug, 305

  George II        1728 Caster (Exeter), 273
  (1727-1760)      1729 Small communion cup and cover, 81
                   1730 Tea-caddy, 259
                   1730 Coffee-pot, 255
                   1730 Trencher salt cellar, 165
                   1733 Mug (Exeter), 117
                   1736 Jug, helmet-shaped, 301
                   1737 Coffee-pot (Newcastle), 243
                   1740 Centre-piece (Dublin), 335
                   1740 Cream-jug (Dublin), 339
                   1741 Coffee-pot, _Frontispiece_
                   1745 Teapot, 247
                   1746 Kettle and stand, 251
                   1746 Caster (Edinburgh), 317
                   1747 Caster, 277
                   1748 Tankard (Exeter), 117
                   1758 Trencher salt cellar, 165
                   1760 Tea-caddies and sugar box, 263
                   1760 Irish potato-ring, _Design on cover of volume_
              1740-1775 Bread-baskets, 289

George III         1760 Caster, 277
(1760-1820)        1761 Centre-piece, 279
                   1761 Cake-basket, 291
                   1764 Cream-jug, 305
                   1764 Cream-jug (Cork), 339
                   1765 Circular salt cellar with club feet, 165
                   1769 Salt cellar with glass liner, 167
                   1769 Coffee-pot (Edinburgh), 321
                   1770 Cream-pail (Dublin), 343
                   1771 Salt cellar, perforated work, 173
                   1771 Caster, 277
                   1773 Sugar-bowl, 283
                   1775 Coffee-pot, 255
                   1775 Tea-caddy, 259
                   1775 Centre-piece, 279
                   1776 Cream-pail, 285
                   1778 Tea-urn (Edinburgh), 325
                   1779 Cream-jug, 305
                   1780 Cream-jug, 305
              1781-1790 Salt cellars, tureen form, 171
                   1782 Candlestick (Sheffield), 235
                   1782 Cream-pail, 285
                   1784 Tea-caddy, 259
                   1785 Salt cellar, circular, 165
                   1785 Salt cellar with glass liner, 167
                   1786 Salt cellar, cloven-hoof feet, 167
                   1786 Sugar-bowl, 285
                   1789 Salt cellar with club feet, 167
                   1789 Salt cellar, circular, 171
                   1790 Cream-jug, 309
                   1790 Mug (Edinburgh), 313
              1791-1797 Salt cellar, boat-shaped, 171
              1790-1800 Coffee-pots and teapots, 255
                   1800 Cream-jug, 309
                   1803 Salt cellar, washing tub form, 173
                   1804 Cream-jug, 309
                   1809 Cream-jug, 309
                   1810 Salt cellar, Pompeian design, 173

  George IV        1818 Salt cellar, tureen form, 173

  William IV       1832 Salt cellar, circular, 173

Classic influence, when at its height, 287

Clipped coins called in, panic in 1696, 57

Coffee-drinking, women’s petition to Parliament, 245

Coffee-pots, 250

Coffee-pots illustrated--
  George II (1741), _Frontispiece_
  Group George II and George III, 255
  Newcastle (1737), 243
  Scottish (1769), 321

Coin clipping, attempt to stamp out, 52

Coiners, heavy penalties for, 53

Communion cup and cover (Exeter), 78

Copper tokens, seventeenth century, with goldsmith’s name, 44

Cork Marks illustrated, 409

Cream-jug, the, 303

Cream-pail, the, 288

Cups, standing, 90

Date letters of London Assay Office (1598-1835), 359-385

Date marks, eccentricities of alphabets, 36;
  explanation of, 34-39

Delft salt cellars, Lambeth, Rouen, illustrated, 161

Dish, plum broth (1697), illustrated, 217

Dish ring or stand, Irish, 342

“Dollar” found on Irish silver, 334

Dollars, Spanish, legal tender with head of George III stamped
    on them, 337

Dryden receives bad coins from his publisher, 54

Dublin Marks illustrated, 409

Dutch silver--brandy cup in form like quaich, 316

Duty mark, the, explanation of, 60

Ecclesiastical plate, 65-78

Edinburgh Marks illustrated, 405

Edinburgh tea-table customs, 303

Earthenware emulating silver, 169, 249, 262, 294

East India Company, teapot presented to, 241;
  import of tea and teapots by, 249

Eighteenth-century Assay Offices, 28

Eighteenth-century beverages, 253;
  salt cellars, types of, 157

Elizabethan flagons, 107

Elston, John, silversmith, Exeter, 78

Exeter Marks illustrated, 81, 115, 117, 209, 273, 391

Exeter silver plate illustrated--
  Chalices, Elizabethan, 67, 71;
    Charles I, 71
  Communion cup, George II, 81
  Mug, George III, 117
  Spoons, 189
  Tankard, Queen Anne, 115;
    George II, 117

Flagons, sixteenth-century, 107

Flaxman, John, teapot designed by, 250

Foreign mark, the, 62

Forgeries, 220

Fraud, cutting out old marks, 275

Fraud, possibilities of, in marks, 63, 359

French influence in late eighteenth century, 287

Gamble, Ellis, goldsmith, master of Hogarth, his shop card, 45

Gibson, George, silversmith, York, 113

“Gin Street,” engraving by Hogarth, 132

Glasgow Marks illustrated, 405

Glasgow silver. Marks, 404;
  quaich (1665) illustrated, 313

Glassworker, designs of the, utilized in silver, 212

Goble, Robert, silversmith, Cork, specimen illustrated, 331;
  marks illustrated, 409

Goldsmiths’ Company, London, early power of, 26;
  the true function of, 35;
  salt cellars in possession of, 146

Hall-marks, explanation of, 25-30

Hall-marks of various Assay Offices, 28

Handle, the, of posset-pot and porringer, 207

Hanway, Jonas, condemns tea, 254

Harp handles in Irish silver, 338;
  cup illustrated, 331

Hibernia, figure of, as a mark, 33, 334

Higher standard mark, explanation of, 49-59

Hogarth, William, apprenticed to goldsmith, 45;
  his satires on drinking, 132

House of Commons Select Committee on Hall-marking of Plate, 25, 27, 153

Hour-glass form of salt cellar illustrated, 143

Individuality of craftsmen’s work extinguished, 43

Initials of makers, 43

Innholders’ Company salt cellars, 146

Ions, I., silversmith, Exeter, 74

Irish goldsmiths, 47

Irish makers’ names, 345, 346

Irish plate illustrated--
  Caster, 331
  Centre-piece, 335
  Cream-jugs, 339
  Cream-pail, 343
  Loving-cup, 331
  Potato-ring, _Cover of volume_

Irish silver, 329

Irish standard mark, 33

Irish towns where silver was wrought, 337

Jug, stoneware (1570), with silver mounts, 101

Lambeth delft salt cellar, 163

Lamerie, Paul de, mark illustrated, 251

Lantern-shaped teapot (1670) illustrated, 243

Lavabo bowl illustrated, 79

Leigh standing cup, the, 93

“Lima” found on George II gold coins, 337

Lion’s head erased mark, when found on silver, 51

Locke, “Further Considerations Concerning the Raising the Value
    of Money,” 55

London hall-marks--
  Marks illustrated, 129, 135, 197, 205, 217, 231, 251, 269,
    291, 349-385
  Table of date letters (1598-1835), 351-355
  Table showing differences in shapes of shields, 357

Longfellow: poem on Paul Revere, silversmith, 48

Louis Seize style in table ornaments, 287

Loving-cup, the, and its ceremonial, 94

Lowndes’ “Essay for the Amendment of the Silver Coins,” 53, 55

Lustre ware (Staffordshire) emulating silver, 249

Makers’ marks, explanation of, 40

Makers’ names, Irish silver, list of, 345, 346

Marks illustrated--
  Birmingham, 399
  Chester, 395
  Cork, 409
  Dublin, 409
  Edinburgh, 405
  Exeter, 391
  Glasgow, 405
  London, 351-385
  Newcastle, 399
  Norwich, 395
  Sheffield, 399
  York, 395

Marks on silver--a trade secret, 38

Marks stamped on silver, various, 23-63

Marks, the position of, as stamped on silver, 359;
  to prevent fraud, 275;
  used by various assay offices, 29;
  where placed on spoons, 193

Mazer, the fifteenth century, 86

Mercers’ Company, Leigh Cup (1499) illustrated, 91

Monteith punch-bowl illustrated, 135

Mordaunt, Charles, Earl of Peterborough, 134

Morgan, Octavius, his pioneer work on marks, 38

Mug, the, 119

Newcastle-on-Tyne, date letters employed at, 36, 37;
  illustrated, 397-399

Newcastle-on-Tyne silver plate illustrated--
  Coffee-pot, 243
  Spoon, 185

Nineteenth century, early, types of salt cellars, 157

Norwich Corporation salt cellar, 149

Norwich mark illustrated, 395

Norwich silver plate illustrated--
  Tall wine cup, 125

Paten, the, its form, 69

Pepys, Samuel, buries his silver plate at Bethnal Green, 127

Pepys standing cup and cover, the, 101

Peterborough, Earl of, his exploits, 134

Peterson, Peter, silversmith, Norwich, 123

Provincial Assay Offices reappointed, 50

Provincial offices ceased marking silver for five years, 29, 50

Porcelain teapots the prototypes of silver, 246, 249

Porringer, the, 195-220

“Portobello,” found on English silver coins, 334

Posset-pot, the, 195-220

Posset-pot, sixteenth-century Exeter College, Oxford, 203

Potato-ring, Irish, 342

Potter, the eighteenth-century, and the silversmith, 169, 249,
    262, 294

Pottery, seventeenth-century example of posset-cup, 211

  Beakers, 137
  Candlesticks, 229, 237
  Casters, 297
  Coffee-pots, 262
  Cream-jugs, 308
  Cups, standing, 137
  Dish rings, 346
  Elizabethan jug, 101
  Goblets, 138
  Irish silver, 346
  Jug, stoneware, silver mounts, 101
  Loving-cups, 137
  Mazers, 89
  “Monteith,” 138
  Porringers, 219, 220
  Posset-pots, 219
  Potato-rings, 346
  Punch-bowls, 138
  Quaich, 320
  Salt cellars, 145, 149, 159, 170, 175
  Spoons, apostle, 187, 193;
    caddy, 194;
    seal-top, 194
  Standing cups, 137
  Sugar-bowls, 297
  Tankards, 137
  Tea-caddies, 261, 265
  Tea-kettles, 265
  Teapots, 265
  Wine cups, 138

Punch-bowl, the, 128

Punch-bowl, historic American, 47

Puritans, destruction of objects of art by, 70

Quaich, the Scottish, 316

Queen Anne forgeries posset-pots, 220

Radcliff, J. R., silversmith, Exeter, 74

Revere, Paul, celebrated American silversmith, 48

Richards, Edmund, silversmith, Exeter, 216

Ring, potato or dish, Irish, 342

Romer, Edward, silversmith, 294

Salt cellars, 139;
  classified list of types, 154, 157

Salt cellars--
  Norwich Corporation, 149
  Christ’s College, Cambridge, 158;
    illustrated, 143
  Clothworkers’ Company, 146
  Goldsmiths’ Company, 146
  Ironmongers’ Company, 146
  Innholders’ Company, 146
  Mercers’ Company, 159;
     illustrated, 151, 155
  Skinners’ Company, 146
  Vintners’ Company, 146

Scott, Sir Walter, quoted as to tea-leaves, 304

Scottish silver, 311-327

Scottish silver plate illustrated--
  Caster, 317
  Coffee-pot, 321
  Mug, 313
  Quaich, 313
  Tea-urn, 327

Scottish standard mark, 35

Seventeenth-century tankards, 110

Shapes of shields, differences in, table showing, 357

Sheffield Marks illustrated, 398, 399

Sheffield “silver plated” or silver plate, definition, 234

Sheffield silver plate illustrated--
  Candlestick, 235

Shields, table showing differences in London Hall-marks, 357

Shute, William, silversmith, marks illustrated, 361

Silver mountings for wood vessels, 86;
  for earthenware, 86, 98, 101, 109

Skinners’ Company salt cellars, 146

Somerset House, the battle of, 107

Spanish dollars legal tender with head of George III stamped
    on them, 337

  Apostle, 180, 183;
    illustrated, 185, 189;
    prices, 187
  Fiddle pattern, 192
  Flat stem, 188;
    illustrated, 181
  Maidenhead, 187
  Rat-tail, 191;
    illustrated, 189
  Seal-top, 187;
    illustrated, 185;
    prices, 194
  Slipped in the stalk, 188;
    illustrated, 185
  Trifid, 188;
    illustrated, 185

Spoons, placing of marks on, 193

Staffordshire silversmith’s designs, 294

Staffordshire lustre ware emulating silver, 249

Staffordshire potter’s emulation of silver plate, 169, 249, 262, 294

Standard Marks, 31-33

Standard work on marks, 34

Standing cups, 90

Standing salt cellars, 154

“Sterling” found on Cork silver, 334

Stoneware jug, the, Elizabethan, with silver mounts, 98, 101

Strong, James, silversmith, Exeter, 78

Sugar-bowls, 287

Sugar, silver boxes for, 261

Sumner salt cellar, the, illustrated, 155

Symonds, Pentecost, silversmith, Exeter, 78

Table customs, “below the salt,” 141

Tankards, seventeenth-century, 110

Tea advertisement, a quaint seventeenth-century, 242

Tea-caddies, 258;
  evolution to cabinet-maker’s style, 261

Tea-drinking, excessive, 254

Teapot, the earliest known silver (1670), 241

Teapots, 241

Tea-strainers, 304

Tea-table manners, eighteenth-century, 303

Tea-urn, Scottish, 1778;
  illustrated, 325

“Tiger” ware, Elizabethan, with silver mounts, 98

Tokens, copper (seventeenth century) with goldsmiths’ names, 46

Town marks found on Scottish silver, 315

Trencher salt cellars, 157

Turner cup, the (1679), York Corporation plate, 102

“Vigo” found on Queen Anne’s guineas (1703), 337

Vyner, Sir Robert, piquant story of, 44

Wedgwood wooden models of silversmith’s designs, 250

Wesley, John, condemns tea, 254

West Malling jug, the Elizabethan (1581), 101

Wine cup, the Stuart, 123

Wine cup, illustrations of--
  James I, 125
  Charles II, 129

Women’s petition to Parliament against coffee, 245

William III and the debasement of the coin, 49

York Corporation plate, 102

York Marks illustrated, 395

York silver plate illustrated--
  Tankards (Charles II), 111
  Marks, 395

_Printed in Great Britain by_


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    is enriched adds in a great measure to its attractiveness and

        _Aberdeen Free Press._

=Chats on Old Lace and Needlework.= By MRS. LOWES. With a frontispiece
and 74 other Illustrations.

    Cloth, 9s. net.

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 dealing with
these subjects, and it is remarkable in view of the
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
    utmost value in identifying samples of old lace.”

        _Weldon’s Ladies’ Jour._

=Chats on Oriental China.= By J. F. BLACKER. With a coloured
frontispiece and 70 other Illustrations.

    Cloth, 9s. net.

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,
age, marks and values, and is richly illustrated with admirable

    “A treatise that is so informing and comprehensive that it commands
    the prompt recognisation of all who value the choice productions
    of the oriental artists.... The illustrations are numerous and
    invaluable to the attainment of expert knowledge, and the result is
    a handbook that is as indispensable as it is unique.”

        _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.

    “To the ever-increasing number of collectors who are taking an
    interest in old English pottery ... will be found one of the most
    delightful, as it is a practical work on a fascinating subject.”

        _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.”


=Chats on Autographs.= By A. M. BROADLEY. With 130 Illustrations.

    Cloth, 9s. net.

    “Being an expert collector, Mr. Broadley not only discourses on the
    kinds of autograph he owns, but gives some excellent cautionary
    advice and a valuable ‘caveat emptor’ chapter for the benefit of
    other collectors.”

        _Westminster Gazette._

    “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.

    “It is a remarkably thorough and well-arranged guide to the
    subject, supplied with useful illustrations and with lists of
    pewterers and of their marks so complete as to make it a very
    complete and satisfactory book of reference.”

        _Manchester Guardian._

    “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 chapters.”


=Chats on Postage Stamps.= By FRED J. MELVILLE. With 57 half-tone and
17 line Illustrations.

    Cloth, 9s. net.

    “The whole book, with its numerous illustrations of excellent
    quality, is a _vade mecum_ for stamp collectors, even though their
    efforts may be but modest; we congratulate Mr. Melville on a
    remarkably good guide, which makes fascinating reading.”


    “There is no doubt that Mr. Melville’s book fills a void. There is
    nothing exactly like it. Agreeably written in a popular style and
    adequately illustrated, it is certainly one of the best guides to
    philatelic knowledge that have yet been published.”


       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *

[Transcriber’s Note: The following corrections have been made to this

Page 56: possesser changed to possessor--possessor of such coin.

Page 78: marker’s changed to maker’s--the maker’s mark is E. G.

Page 86: peple changed to people--more wealthy people.

Page 98: dittograph “to” removed--to the son.

Page 114: finals to finials--finials of the handle.

Page 215: hugh to huge--huge appendages.]

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