A Superb Neoclassical Tea Caddy of Cuboid form.

GBP 9,975.00

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Object Description

This fantastic example of Neoclassical design was hallmarked in London in 1784 by Hester Bateman.

The tea caddy is cuboid in shape, and engraved with wonderful bright cut engraving to each edge. The superbly crafted hinge is flush to the surface, and is engraved with a similar band of engraving to cover.

One of the most collectible and sought after of all English silversmiths, Hester Bateman (1704-1794) ran her family business for thirty years following the death of her husband, expanding the business and creating a family empire. She was succeeded in turn by her sons, daughter-in-law, grandson and great-grandson and the Bateman family silversmithing company lasted until the middle of the 19th century. Hester’s work, as a woman working in a field dominated by men, ranks as some of the finest silver ever made and is in many museums and private collections.

Object Literature


“Hester Bateman, Queen of English Silversmiths” by David S. Shure.
Published by Doubleday & Company Inc. in 1959.

Further information from the I. Franks website:

Hester Bateman is without doubt the most popular and renowned of all women silversmiths. Yet Hester’s career as a silversmith was never intended. Widowed at the age of 51, she inherited her husband’s small workshop practice and for the next thirty years, this unlikely shrewd business woman, grew the workshop into a thriving silver manufacturing firm.

Hester Bateman was born in 1704 in Clerkenwell, London (England), and married John Bateman (a goldsmith) in about 1725. They had six children; John, Letticia, Ann, Peter, William, and Jonathan. The family lived at 107 Bunhill Row in the Parish of St. Luke in North London for more than a century. John and Hester purchased the houses on both sides of theirs, and two of the children occupied those homes in later years.

Although his sons Peter & Jonathan were both doing their silversmithing apprenticeships, when John Bateman died in 1760, he bequeathed all his tools to Hester suggesting that she was already an accomplished silversmith. However, even with the skills of the trade, Hester had no small task ahead of her to continue the business. In these times, women-owned businesses were generally not accepted, and the industry was highly competitive. Unperturbed, Hester registered her mark of a scroll HB at Goldsmiths Hall in 1761 and aided by her son’s Peter and Jonathan along with Jonathan’s wife, Ann, the business boomed.

In 1790, Hester finally retired at the grand old age of 81. Sadly, the following year her son Jonathan died, leaving Peter without his two long term partners. He turned immediately to his sister in law Ann, making her a partner in the business and registering their joint mark in 1791. From then Ann became the driving force in the business until her retirement in 1805. In 1800, Jonathan and Ann’s son, William, became a partner in the family business, completing possibly the most famous of all silversmithing dynasties.

Unlike most silversmiths who specialised in just one area of production, the Batemans were masters of many, producing fine wares right across the board. The main reason for their success was due to Hester’s attention to design, detail and quality. All the pieces that left the workshop would be inspected to the highest standard and with this attitude the business grew. Many pieces of Hester Bateman’s silver show identifying characteristics such as bead detailed edges and fine designs of bright-cut engraving. They received many commissions from The City Guilds, various religious establishments, and private individuals.

Object Details

Dealer Contact

+44 (0)20 7242 4035

Dealer Location

London Silver Vaults
Chancery House, 53-65 Chancery

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