George IV Antique Silver Salts


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Object Description

A decorative pair of silver salt cellars beautifully modelled in the form of scrolling sea shells, each supported by three conch shell feet. Good weight. Attractive gilt finish.

Total weight 347 grams, 11.1 troy ounces.
Height 4.7cm. Top measures 9.6×10.1cm.
London 1831.
Maker William Ker Reid.
Sterling silver.
19th century.

Marks. Both are stamped with a full and matching set of English silver hallmarks.

Maker: William Ker Reid

This family business was established in Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1778 by Christian Ker Reid (1756-1834).

The Reid family married into the Barnard family – Christian’s sons William and David Reid married Mary and Elizabeth Barnard, daughters of Edward Barnard I. William’s son Edward married Anna Barnard, daughter of John Barnard I (they were cousins and both grandchildren of Edward Barnard I).

William Ker Reid, free 1818. 1st mark in partnership with Joseph Cradock 1812, 2nd mark (2 sizes) 1819, 3rd mark 1824. Livery 1818. In 1825 William Ker Reid started on his own and in 1847 the firm became W.K. Reid & Son with his son Edward Ker Reid (1821-1886) as partner. Edward, apprenticed to his father, free by Patrimony in 1842. Liveryman in 1848. Edward was managing the business under his own name by 1856 and died in 1886.

After Christian’s death in 1834, the Newcastle business was continued by his sons William Ker Reid (1787-1868), David Reid (1792-1869) and Christian Bruce Reid (1805-1889). The firm, known as Reid & Sons and exhibited at the 1851 Great Exhibition and the 1862 International Exhibition.Later, the business was taken over by T.A. and W.C. Reid in partnership with Francis James Langford moving in 1909 and managed by T.A. Reid, C.L. Reid and William Septimus Leete. In 1930 the firm became a limited liability company named Reid & Sons Ltd becoming a subsiduary of the Northern Goldsmiths Co Ltd in 1967.

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Object Literature

The use of salt cellars is documented as early as classical Rome. During medieval times elaborate master salt cellars evolved which had not only a practical use but above all, a ceremonial importance, indicating the relative status of persons by their position at the table in relation to the large salt. By 1600 the trencher salt was in use in England, replaced during the late 1730s by the more traditional circular salt standing on 3 legs. This shape remained popular until the late 18th century when the advent of the Industrial Revolution rendered both salt and salt cellars commonplace. From this time onwards silver salts were produced in a variety of forms, some with blue glass liners, and had become commonplace on the English dining table.

Object Condition

Both salts are in very good condition. Moderate signs of wear commensurate with age. Minor wear to the gilt.

Object Details

Dealer Opening Times

By appointment only.

Dealer Contact

+44 (0)207 288 1939
+44 (0)7904 297419

Dealer Location

Vault 31-32
The London Silver Vaults
53-64 Chancery Lane
London WC2A 1QS

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