A delightful little antique silver taper stick of plain early design with baluster stem and raised square foot with canted corners. Cast silver. Britannia standard silver*. Weight 104 grams, 3.3 troy ounces. Height 9.5cm. Base diameter 7cm. London 1711. Maker Thomas Merry I.
Literature – Tapersticks, averaging about 5 inches high are miniature table candlesticks used to hold a wax taper. They are rarer than candlesticks and very few exist prior to the Queen Anne period. They usually appear in singles and pairs of tapersticks command a premium price.
*Britannia Standard. 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.
Thomas Merry I, apprenticed to Henry Grant in 1693, turned over to John Laughton, a specialist candlestick maker in 1695, free 1701. Mark entered in 1701 as smallworker. Married 1699.