A rare early English two-handled wine taster in sterling silver from the reign of Charles II. With a simple plain form and wirework handles. Excellent patina and faint signs of the hand hammered finish. Owners initials inscribed underneath. Weight 27 grams, just under 1 troy ounce. Height 2.2 cm (bowl), 3.5 cm (to top of handle). Diameter of top 6.5 cm. Spread across handles 9.2 cm. London 1683. Marked inside at the bottom with the makers mark “SH” within a heart shaped shield, probably Samuel Hawkes (*see David Mitchell’s book on “Silversmiths in Stuart and Elizabethan England”).
Literature: * It is unusual to have a maker’s name for a piece of silver of this early date as there are no precise records of silver makers marks prior to 1681. All records were destroyed in the fire at Goldsmiths Hall in that year when the Assay Office and apartments of the Assayer and Clerk in the south west wing of the building were burned down. Sometimes the details of makers can be discovered from old records such as the inventories of noble houses and other institutions.
The first surviving record at Goldsmiths Hall is the 1682 copper plate made to start the recording process again. This has recently prompted a study by Dr David Mitchell, supported by Goldsmiths Hall, resulting in the publication of his 2017 “Silversmiths in Elizabethan and Stuart London”. This reference work identifies previously unknown makers marks and assigns marks struck on existing plate to individuals (attributions for 540 separate marks).
Samuel Hawkes, London silversmith, apprenticed to John Bracey 1657, turned over to John Gray 1658, free 1666. His “SH mark within a shield” is recorded on articles from the period 1679-1691. His Britannia mark as largeworker was entered in 1697. Elected to Livery 1682, assistant in 1694, Touchwarden 1704, Third Warden 1710, Second Warden 1711. Died June 1711.