Friday - 28 November 2014

Provincial silver

01 September 2004Written by ATG Reporter

PICTURED here are two outstanding pieces of provincial silver sold in the country during August.

Consigned by an overseas client for sale at Hy. Duke & Son of Dorchester on August 19-20 was the 12in (30cm) high, 32oz baluster form coffee pot, top right, marked Sterling IN for Cork silversmith John Nicolson c.1780.

Such a full blown rococo statement, complete with the central embossed figure of Herne the Hunter, is rare in provincial silver and the good condition of this example saw it bring £13,500 (plus 15 per cent buyer's premium) over the telephone.

The late 17th century quaich by William Scott of Banff, bottom right, proved the highlight of more than 200 lots of Scottish silver sold by Bonhams Edinburgh as part of their Scottish Sale held over three days from August 18-20.

William Scott is known to have been in Aberdeen in 1681 when the practice of striking silver with date letters was adopted in Edinburgh and, to a limited extent, in the provincial centres. It is thought that he misunderstood the requirements of the Incorporation of Goldsmiths and interpreted literally the instructions that silver should be struck with date letters. Accordingly, this quaich c.1681 carries the first three letters of the alphabet ABC in addition to the initials of the maker.

However, despite this interesting aside, the primary attraction of this early example of Banff hollowware was its engraving. The complexity of the design is virtually unprecedented on a quaich of this date - to the interior are flowers, to the exterior exotic birds including a parrot. Although the handles had been off some time in its distant past, this market-fresh consignment from an English vendor was contested by six telephone lines to £17,000 (plus 17.5 per cent buyer's premium).

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ATG Reporter

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