A superb Regency period sterling silver basket of oval form with swing handle. Very heavy weight. The decoration is very fine with cast silver mounts in deep relief. The body is pierced, has a flower and shell decorated cast silver border, and stands on four cast shell feet. The decorative centre has a hand engraved lion crest. Weight 2123 grams, 68.2 troy oz. Height 30cm (total including handle), 12.5 cm (basket only). Top measures 37.2 x 28.5cm. London 1817. Maker William Elliott.
Biography – William Elliott (1773-1855), son of London plate worker William Elliott, apprenticed to Richard Gardner 1787, free 1795. First mark 1809, in partnership with Joseph William Story.
His apprentices included Charles Fry (d. 1826) and his brother, John (d. 1859), joint mark entered 1822, whose work which is not common includes a pair of five-light candelabra, London, 1824/25, the bases of which are cast with the royal arms. They might have been Elliott’s outworkers.
On his retirement in 1842 Elliott handed over the running of the business to his son, Richard William.
Despite the lack of information about him and his workshop, much of the surviving silver and silver-gilt bearing his mark is of exceptional quality and evidence suggests that Elliott was chief supplier of new plate to Thomas Hamlet (1770?-1853), goldsmith to the King. The following is a select list of items bearing William Elliott’s mark (sometimes erroneously attributed to the silver spoon and fork maker, William Eaton):
1814 – a silver-gilt tankard, goat and putti pattern,15 engraved with the royal arms, said to have been from the collection of Frederick Augustus, Duke of York (1763-1827). (Christie’s, London, 25 March 1981, lot 151)
1818 – a pair of silver-gilt candlesticks, the stems in the form of young Chinese noblemen (Sotheby’s, London, 30 November 1967, lot 121)
1820 – a silver-gilt ewer and basin, engraved with the arms of Princess Augusta Sophia (1768-1840), second daughter of George III and Queen Charlotte. (Sotheby’s, New York, 6 April 1989, lot 93)
1820/25 – a silver-gilt toilet service, engraved with the initial M below a royal coronet for Princess Mary, later Duchess of Gloucester (1776-1857), fourth daughter of George III and Queen Charlotte. (Christie’s, London, 6 May 1959) Subsequently items from this service appeared at auction separately, including the mirror, 1825 (Sotheby’s, London, 14 December 1972, lot 63), and two caskets, 1820 (Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, 14 February 1983, lot 46 and Sotheby’s, London, 2 June 1992, lot 126).
1821 – a silver coffee pot, stand and burner, engraved with the arms of Frederick Augustus, Duke of York (1763-1827). (Christie’s, London, 22 March 1827, 4th session, lot 82; Sotheby’s, London, 6 March 1997, lot 126)
1822 – a silver six-light candelabrum centrepiece, presented to the Duke of Buckingham and Chandos, the base stamped: ‘Hamlet, goldsmith to His Majesty The Duke of York & Royal Family’
1823 – a pair of silver wine bottles or flasks, engraved with the arms of Peel of Drayton Manor, Staffordshire (Christie’s, New York, 17 October 1996, lot 246).16 These are copies of the pair of flasks, George Garthorne, London, 1690, which were in the collection of Frederick Augustus, Duke of York (1763-1827)
1826 – a silver entrée dish and cover, engraved with the arms of George Hamilton Chichester, Earl of Belfast, later 3rd Marquess of Donegall (1797-1883), against whom in of before 1834 Thomas Hamlet had secured two bonds for the repayment of £23,059 and £11,251 13s.18
1829 – a pair of silver candlesticks, the stems cast as figures of Pluto and Prosperpina after original Kloster Veilsdorf porcelain candlesticks, the original model for which is thought to be by Friedrich Wilhelm Eugen Döll.19 (Christie’s, London,18 May 1966, lot 14)
1829 – a silver two-bottle inkstand with table bell, inscribed: ‘The Gift of his Majesty King William the 4th to Prince George of Cumberland 27th May 1832’ (Christie’s, 12 June 2007, lot 27)
1832 – a pair of silver seven-light candelabra, the bases stamped: ‘Hamlet Goldsmith to the King’ (Christie’s, London, 23 May 1973, lot 48)
Information taken from Sotheby’s Treasures catalogue 04 July 2018