Benjamin Smith

(Birmingham 1764 - 1823 London)


Benjamin Smith started his career working for Matthew Boulton, whose company produced plate, buckles and buttons. Described as button maker in 1794, he moved to London a few years later, in 1802, joining a partnership with his friend and silversmith Digby Scott. At that time he was already manufacturing for Rundell & Bridge, the most well-know luxury retailer of the first half of 19th Century. From 1807, Smith worked alongside Paul Storr and their designs, after the antique and in the neoclassical style, were often very closely related and difficult to distinguish.

Probably due to his tempered nature, Smith changed partnerships and hallmarks several times, without being able to establish his own independent workshop. In 1807 he parted from Digby Scott and two years later joined a partnership with his brother James Smith. Nevertheless, even this partnership was dissolved by 1812 and in 1814 he parted from Rundell. Soon after he was in partnership for a short period with his son Benjamin Jr. but he was already independent in 1818.

Benjamin received a number of major commissions and excelled in the production of silver tea sets, sugar bowls, trays and salvers, as demonstrated by one of his most important achievements: the Jamaica Service of 1803, still part of the Royal Collection.