Object Description

A fine early silver footed salver with a thick gadroon border. Britannia standard silver*. There is a hand engraved crest of a lion to the centre. Weight 611 grams, 19.6 troy ounces. Height 4.25 cms. Diameter 29.5 cms. Marked on top for London 1702. Maker John Downes.

Biography – John Downes, son of a Yorkshire cutler, apprenticed to George Garthorne in 1681, free 1688. First mark entered as largeworker in 1697.

Object Literature

*Britannia Standard silver. In 1696, so extensive had become the melting and clipping of coinage that the silversmiths were forbidden to use the sterling standard for their wares, but had to use a new higher standard, 95.8 per cent. New hallmarks were ordered, “the figure of a woman commonly called Britannia” and the lion’s head erased (torn off at the neck) replacing the lion passant and the leopard’s head crowned. This continued until the old standard of 92.5 per cent was restored in 1720. Britannia standard silver still continues to be produced even today.

From the 17th century until the reign of George I salvers (often called tazzas) were raised on a pedestal foot. By 1700 some were made with the foot unscrewing. Very occasionally this type will also have 3 or 4 feet so that the salver can be used on a lower level.

Object Condition

This handsome salver is in good condition. Stamped on top with a full set of English silver hallmarks, the foot stamped with the lion mark. The crest is still sharp. There is an old repair to the top edge (see photos).

Please note that this item is not new and will show moderate signs of wear commensurate with age. Reflections in the photograph may detract from the true representation of this item.

Object Classification

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