Silversmiths

Silversmithing is the art of turning silver and gold sheetmetal into hollowware (dishes, bowls, porringers, cups, candlesticks, vases, ewers, urns, etc.), flatware (silverware), and other articles of household silver, church plate or sculpture. It may also include the making of jewellery.

Silversmiths in medieval Europe and England formed guilds and transmitted their tools and techniques to new generations via the apprentice tradition. Silverworking guilds often maintained consistency and upheld standards at the expense of innovation. Beginning in the 17th century, artisans emigrated to America and experienced fewer restrictions. As a result, silverworking was one of the trades that helped to inaugurate the shift to industrialization in America.

Notable Silversmiths

Click on the dates below for a list of notable silversmiths of that period.

Queen Ann 1695-1727

• Edward Aldridge
• Peter Archambo I
• Thomas Bamford I
• Benjamin Blakely
• Abraham Buteux
• Augustine Courtauld
• Paul Crespin
• Thomas Tearle William Darker
• Paul de Lamerie
• John Eckfourd
• John Fawdery I
• William Fawdery
• Edward Feline
• Thomas Folkingham
• Paul Hanet
• Charles Kandler

• John Sutton Timothey ley
• Seth Lofthouse
• Lewis Mettayer
• Gawen Nash
• Francis Nelme
• Simon Pantin I
• Benjamin Pyne
• John Hugh Le Sage
• Gabriel Sleath
• David Tanqueray
• John Tuite
• Ayme Videau
• Edward Vincent
• Starling Wilford
• David Willaume I

Middle Georgian 1727-1770

• William Abdy I
• Robert Abercrombie
• George Baskerville
• Hester Bateman
• Walter Brind
• John Café
• William Café
• Paul Callard
• Ebernezer Coker
• Burrage Davenport
• John Delmester
• Phillips Garden
• William Garrard
• Pierre Gillois
• William Grundy
• William Gould

• Crouch & Hannam
• Thomas Heming
• David Hennell I
• Samuel Herbert
• George Hindmarsh
• Augustin Le Sage
• Simon Le Sage
• John Schuppe
• James Shruder
• John Swift
• Edward Wakelin
• Parker & Wakelin
• Thomas Whipham
• John Wirgman
• Samuel Wood

Adam Period 1770-1800

• John Arnell
• Peter & Jonathan Bateman
• Matthew Boulton
• John Carter II
• Makepeace & Carter
• Henry Chawner
• Thomas Chawner
• George Cowles
• Courtard & Cowles
• Richard Crossley
• Robert Cruickshank
• Samuel Davenport
• John Denzilo
• Nicholas Dumee

• William Eley I
• John Emes
• Eley & Fearn
• Andrew Fogelberg
• Wakelin & Garrard
• Samuel Godbehere
• Henry Greenway
• Urquhart & Hart
• Ropbert Hennell I
• Orlando Jackson
• Thomas Northcote
• John Scofield
• Frisbee & Storr
• Wakelin & Taylor

 

Regency Period

• Emes & Barnard
• Peter, Ann & William Bateman
• William Bateman I
• John Bridge
• Eley Fearn & Chawner
• William Chawner II
• T & J Creswick
• John Crouch II
• William Elliott
• Charles Fox I
• Robert Garrard I
• Samuel Hennell

• John & Henry Lias
• Nathaniel Mills
• W.K.Reid
• Rundell, Bridge & Rundell
• A.B.Savory
• Burwash & Sibley
• Richard Sibley I
• Benjamin Smith II
• Benjamin & James Smith
• Digby Scott & Benjamin Smith
• Rawlings & Summers

Early Victorian 1837-1860

• G.W.Adams
• George Angel
• H H Armstead
• E.H Bailey
• Thomas Bradbury
• Roberts & Briggs
• Alfred Brown
• Henry Cole
• Frederick Elkington
• Martin Hall & Co
• C F Hancock
• John S Hunt

• William Hutton
• William Hutton
• W Hutton & Sons
• C F Hancock
• Owen Jones
• Mappin Bros
• Elkington Mason
• Raphael Monti
• Smith & Nicholson
• W & G Sissons
• W.R.Smiley
• George Unite
• Albert Wilms

Mid Victorian 1860-1880

• Goldsmiths Alliance
• Roberts & Belk
• W A S Benson
• Briddon Bros
• James Dixon & Sons
• Christopher Dresser
• Elkington & Co Ltd
• George Fox

• E S Pegler of Halifax
• John Hardman & Co
• C S Harris
• Hennell Frazer & Hawes
• Hukin & Heath
• Hunt & Roskell
• J Round & Son
• Aldwinkle & Slater

Late Victorian 1880-1901

• C R Ashbee
• Carrington & Co
• William Comyns & Sons
• Omar Ramsden & Alwyn Carr
• Arthur Dixon
• Fordham & Faulkner
• George Frampton
• Guild of Handicraft

• Hukin & Heath
• Henry Lambert
• Liberty & Co
• Gilbert Marks
• E C Purdee
• Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Co Ltd
• C F A Voysey

Techniques

Annealing
This is the process by which a hardened piece of metal is made malleable, the metal will become hard by the process of hammering, spinning and stamping etc. Heating it until it becomes a dull red and then quenching it makes the metal workable.

Lost Wax Casting
This involves making a rubber mould of the pattern, wax is then injected into the rubber mould to produce a wax model of the original pattern. The wax is then placed into a container, then heat resistant plaster known as an investment is poured in around the wax model, which has the right number of gets (this is an old term for “gates” or inlets). When the plaster is dry it is heated enabling the wax to run through these channels, this is where the name of the process comes from, for cire perdu means Lost Wax. The metal is then poured in and when cool the investment is removed.

Chasing and Repousse Work
The term flat chasing looks very similar to engraving as it involves producing a linear design upon the article. However the metal is not cut away instead the tool gently pushes the metal into the pattern, which in some cases can be seen from the inside of the article, this confirms that a punch has been used. The chaser will use hammers and punches to produce his articles, but will not use gravers or cutting tools. Repousse chasing is always three dimensional, the work is started from the back of the piece with simple domes and outlines, it is then finished from the front, The item is laid on a bed of pitch which holds it firmly in place, allowing the metal to be pushed through.

 

Beautiful chased charger by Carrington & Co

Engraving/Bright Cut
This name is given to a form of decoration where unlike the art of flat chasing, the metal is actually cut away with a tool called a graver, the turning of the tool within a cut provides the light and shade effect known as Bright Cut.

Gilding
Before electro gilding fire gilding was the only method of depositing gold on an article, an amalgam of mercury and gold would be pasted on the item, which was then heated over a bed of charcoal to drive off the mercury, this was an extremely dangerous job due to the highly toxic gasses, the advantage of fire gilding was that it produced a much thicker deposit of gold, workers in this trade did not have a long life span.

 

This silver box has been gilded giving it a beautiful golden colour

Piercing
This is the art of cutting away areas of an object for useful decoration as used in sifters and casters or just for the pure decoration itself. The early form of piercing was done using chisels and punches, since around 1765 it has been done with a piercing saw or in the case of mass production, dies and fly presses.

 

Intricate piercing on a silver centrepiece

Polishing
The finishing processes that are used for silver are as complex as those used for shaping it, once the silver has been cleaned by the silversmith using files and buff sticks, it is sanded (the first polishing procedure), the silversmith needs very fine sand (or as an alternative pumice powder added with whale oil or a similar organic oil), using a hard or soft felt bob or wheel on a high speed spinning polishing shaft (normally belt driven), the silver item is then polished on the wheel using the sand as an abrasive between the item and the felt bob, this will remove any unwanted file, hammer marks or spinning lines, after this a number of different bobs and polishing compounds will be used decreasing in hardness until ready for the final polishing which is undertaken by hand.