Important Silversmiths - William Cripps

William Cripps was a prominent and prolific manufacturing and retail silversmith based in London.

After being apprenticed to the popular goldsmith and banker William Daume, he was set free in 1738 and five years later he submitted his first mark as a largeworker in Compton Street, Soho. In 1746 he moved his premises to St. James’s Street, where he remained until his death.

Cripps specialised in fine tableware pieces and became a ‘versatile exponent of the rococo style’ (Arthur G. Grimwade, London Goldsmiths 1697-1837, 1990). Nowadays his sets of dishes, candlesticks and drinking vessels in the Rococo style are sought after in auction by collectors and some of his pieces can be seen at the Victoria and Albert museum in London.

Cripps died in 1766 and, as it appears from his will, he did not have neither wife nor children: his business was continued first by George Coyte and later by Mark Cripps, possibly William’s cousin.

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Important Silversmiths - Sampson Mordan

Sampson Mordan was a British silversmith and inventor, specialised in pens and novelties.

He was apprenticed to the locksmith Joseph Bramah.

In 1815 he opened his own business and seven years later, together with John Isaac Hawkins, patented the first propelling pencil. His partnership with Hawkins ended in 1823, when he joined a new partnership with Gabriel Riddle entering the mark ‘SMGR’. The partnership dissolved in 1836 and the business became S. Mordan & Co.

Mordan produced not just pencils but any type of silver and gold novelty and small object, often decorated with unusual figures. These novelties became extremely popular and the scale of his production grew rapidly, being retailed among others by Asprey and Sons.

The firm exhibited at the 1851 London Great Exhibition and, after the death of Sampson Mordan, at the 1922 and 1929 British Industries Fair.

After Mordan’s death in 1843, his sons Sampson Jr and Augustus took over the company. In 1933 the distribution rights for the propelling pencil were sold to L. G. Sloan Ltd and in 1952 the firm definitely closed.

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Important Silversmiths - James Charles Edington

James Charles Edington was an important English silversmith, producing silver in Victorian and Georgian style.

Apprenticed to William Ker Reid, he was free in 1824. In 1828 he registered his first mark from Berwick Street in London. He moved to Leicester Square in 1837 registering first as a working silversmith, until 1862, and later as a manufacturing silversmith.

Between 1830 and 1840 Edington was chief supplier to the prestigious retail goldsmith and jeweller Green, Ward & Green of Cockpur Street: that decade was the most prolific of his career.

Although the business continued in his name after June 1869, it would appear that J.C. Edington had retired or died.

A tea caddy by Edington is today part of the Victoria and Albert museum’s collection.

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Important Silversmiths - Mappin & Webb

Mappin & Webb has been for over two centuries one of the most illustrious British manufacturing and retail silversmith company.

Jonathan Mappin opened his first silver workshop in 1775 in Sheffield, a major centre of the English silver market.

Soon his son Joseph followed him into business working mostly as an engraver. At Joseph’s death his sons took over the company, changing its name into Mappin Brothers. In 1846 they opened their first showroom in London at 15 Fore Street and the business started to expand. In 1850 John Mappin, one of Jonathan grandsons, retired from Mappin Brothers to open his own firm. In 1862 he was joined by his brother-in-law George Webb and the name of the company changed to Mappin & Webb. Mappin & Webb opened a new store in Oxford Street and their popularity grew rapidly and exponentially: they soon started receiving commissions from royalties both in United Kingdom and abroad.  In 1888 they created Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee necklace. Ten years later they received the royal warrant and still hold it nowadays.

In 1902 John Mappin acquired the original London firm Mappin Brothers, incorporating it in his company.

Several stores were opened worldwide: Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Nice, Paris, Rome, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Cairo and Bombay.

The brand produced the original gold Ryder Cup for the renowned golf tournament and created silver trophies for the Royal Ascot for over 70 years. They supplied tableware and cutlery for the most prestigious international hotel and for the first class cabin on the Titanic.

Among their most memorable clients Mappin & Webb counts Marie Antoinette Queen of France,  the last Czar of Russia Nicholas II, Winston Churchill, Charles Dickens, Harry Houdini and Grace Kelly.

Although their factory in Sheffield was closed in 1971, the company is still active as a subsidiary of Sears Holding Ltd.

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Important Silversmiths - Jonathan Hayne

Jonathan Hayne was a prolific English silversmith of the 19th century.

He was born in Clerkenwell, London, son of a surgeon. He apprenticed as a silversmith and started is career in 1810, entering his mark in partnership with Thomas Wallis, at 16 Red Lion Street in Clerkenwell. Six years later Wallis and Hayne dissolved their partnership and in 1821 Jonathan entered his own first mark.

In 1833 Hayne increased his popularity patenting a method of manufacturing silver spoons and cutlery in a single blow thanks to a heavy hammer. This method was illustrated in 1839 in A Dictionary of Arts, Manufactures, and Mines by Andrew Ure.

In 1836 Jonathan Hayne’s son Samuel went into partnership with Dudley Frank Cater and they entered their mark as Hayne & Cater. Samuel assumed the full control of the company after his father’s death in 1848 and continued trading until 1865 when he declared bankruptcy.

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Important Silversmiths - Schleissner & Sohne

The company is considered the main producer of Hanau silver. During the 19th Century Hanau became famous for its silversmith workshops producing excellent copies of antique silver in historical styles.

Johann Daniel Schleissner, son of a goldsmith in Augsburg, moved to Hanau in 1816 and the following year he opened his own company. He produced items in the Augsburg style and sold them internationally, especially in Russia, France and Near East.

At his death his son Daniel Philipp August took over the business. Under Daniel’s leadership the company specialised in decorative pieces in the antique styles and gained a large popularity. He was a traveled man, a painter and a silversmith and he had studied private and public collections. To respond to the growing demand of antique silver of the wealthy German society, he begun copying antique silver objects in the Renaissance, Baroque or Rococo styles and marking them with marks resembling the original ones. To understand if the pieces where really old and the marks original was and still can be, very hard.

What had started as a small family business, soon became a large factory: by 1848 the company was counting 1000 employees.

After Daniel Philipp’s death, Schleissner & Sohne continued producing exceptional silverware.

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Important Silversmiths - John Edward Terrey

John Edward Terrey was an important English silversmith producing mainly tableware and presentation pieces in Georgian and Victorian style. Apart from making very fine new pieces, he also used to recuperate antique silver by altering and rechasing it.

Unfortunately no record has been found about his early years and his apprenticeship. He entered is first mark at Goldsmiths Hall as a plateworker in 1814, together with Samuel Hennell. Two years later the partnership dissolved and Terrey entered his own mark as a plateworker (IET) keeping the same address: Foster Lane.

In 1819 Terrey moved to Hatton Garden were he stayed until 1852, when he moved to Lewisham, Kent. His death is recorded in 1859.

Today some of his artworks can be seen in important museums such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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Important Silversmiths - Neresheimer & Sohne

Neresheimer & Sohne is undoubtedly the most famous of the Hanau silversmiths working at the end of the 19th century.

At the end of the 19th century in fact, the city of Hanau, not far from Frankfurt in Germany, became famous for its silver industry tradition: Hanau manufacturers specialised in fine copies from the antique, in the most popular historical styles, generally marked with pseudo-hallmarks in the manner they were trying to imitate. Unlike the traditional hallmarks, pseudo hallmarks are not officially registered and the only way to identify Hanau artworks is by comparison with marked pieces.

The company was founded in 1890 by August and Ludwig Neresheimer. Thanks to the incredible quality of its objects, of the precision and care used to make extraordinary copies from the antique the brand rose to a quick popularity and became soon direct competitor of Schleissner, considered the forefather of the Hanau silver.

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Important Silversmiths – Cheong Lam

Scholar Adrien Von Ferscht described Cheong Lam as ‘a sadly all too rare retail silversmith whose work demonstrates clearly a highly creative mind and a quest for the highest quality’ (A. Von Ferscht, Chinese Export Silver 1785-1940, 4th edition 2015).

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Important Silversmiths – Wing Fat

Wing Fat is a very fine although quite rare Chinese retail silversmith, active in Canton and Hong Kong between 1875 and 1930. The person at the head of the company is still unknown, but surely he employed very fine artisans, not just in Canton, but also in Shanghai to create superb quality items.

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Important Silversmiths – Hoaching

Hoaching (original Cantonese name is Wo Hing) is one of the largest silversmithing businesses based in Canton between 1825 and 1880. The shop, initially retailing finely carved ivory, is documented since 1825. It was later taken over by the founder’s two sons, and by 1850 the firm was retailing also silver, jewellery items, carved wood, mother of pearl and lacquer.

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Important Silversmiths – Cum Wo

Cum wo is one of the first Chinese Export silversmiths known active in Hong Kong since 1860. He had a shop in Queen’s Road, where many silversmiths were based, but the superb quality of his works and the attention to details made him stand out among the others.

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Important Silversmiths – Tu Mao Xing

Tu Mao Xing mark is a quite a recent discovery: until 1980’s in fact he was wrongly identified as Kan Mao Xing and therefore not much is known about him. Tu Mao Xingis one of the first silversmiths operating in Kiukang between 1880 and 1930 and he is certainly one of the finest 19th Century Chinese silversmiths.

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Important Silversmiths – Cutshing

Cutshing is the trading name of a company based in Canton famous for retailing luxury items in silver, ivory, jade as well as high quality filigree and enamel items.

Although we don’t know the name or the names of the craftsmen working for the firm, according to Chinese Export Silver expert Adrien Von Ferscht it seems likely to be the result of a partnership between the American trader John Perkins, Cutshing and Houqua, the most powerful merchant from Hong Kong.

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Important Silversmiths – Tuck Chang

Active in the late 19th Century, Tuck Chang is undoubtedly the most popular retail silversmith of Shanghai, thus often referred to as the ‘Wang Hing of Shanghai’.

Like Wang Hing, the firm also traded in jade, ivory and jewellery.

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Important Silversmiths – Luen Wo

Luen Wo was a very important retail silversmith based in Shanghai, he also traded in jewellery, diamonds and embroideries. His artworks show a very high quality that only equals the standards of Wang Hing, in Canton.

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Important Silversmiths – Da Xing

Da Xing is a well-known silversmith active both in Canton and Singapore in the second half of 19th Century.

Famous for its fine craftsmanship, Da Xing produced silver for the wealthiest families in Malacca. He is in fact one of the few mainland Chinese silversmiths to produce Straits Chinese silver and to be active in Malaya and Singapore. Straits Chinese or Peranakan silver merges the Hindu-Islamic culture, visible in the shape and function of the items, with the Chinese tradition, evident in design and motifs.

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Important Silversmiths – Wang Hing

Probably the greatest and finest Chinese Export retailer, Wang Hing started trading in Canton soon after 1842 when, with the end of the First Opium War and the treaty of Nanking, China opened its ports to foreign merchants and Hong Kong became a British colony.

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Important Silversmiths – Grachev Brothers

The firm, producing gold and silver items was established in St. Petersburg in 1866 by Gavriil Petrovich Grachev, who had previously worked for Gasse.

At his death in 1873 his sons Mikhail, Simon and Grigory took over the company and renamed it into Grachev Brothers. Each brother used to mark the artworks he produced with his own mark, as the firm didn’t have a mark on its own.

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Important Silversmiths – Julius Alexander Rappoport

Of Jewish origins, Isaac Abramovich Rappoport was born in 1851 (although some sources say 1864) in Lithuania. After his apprenticeship in Berlin, he became a master in 1884 and moved to St. Petersburg, where he opened his own workshop and started working as head silversmith for Fabergé. A few years later he became a Christian and changed his name to Julius Alexander.

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