Monday - 21 April 2014

Stirring memories of the Norwich widow at £4600

01 December 2007Written by Roland Arkell

ONCE the largest city outside London, Norwich had its own silver assay office during three periods between 1565 and 1702.

The city was much admired for the quality of its output - some of it on par with that produced in London and York - but today there are perhaps only 200 surviving pieces of Norwich secular silver.      

Of those, 29 carry the maker's mark of a formidable women - Elizabeth Haselwood.      

She was the widow of the silversmith Arthur Haselwood II and carried on the family business after his death in 1684, probably employing journeyman goldsmiths to carry out the work. She died, aged 71, in 1715 and is buried with her husband in the south aisle of the Church of St Andrew, her tombstone still legible.     

Sworders' sale on November 13 included this remarkable cannon-handled basting spoon. At 16in (41cm) long, this is the largest recorded Norwich-made spoon and is mentioned in both of the texts on the subject, Norwich Silver and its Marks 1565-1702 by G.N. Barrett andEast Anglian Silver 1550- 1750edited by Christopher Hartop.      

It carries Elizabeth Haselwood's initials, the date letter k for 1697 plus the town assay of a rose crowned (it was, incidentally, the last year this mark was used).      

The condition left a little to be desired - it had been scrubbed of the "skin" one hopes to find on 17th century silver - but it improved upon its £2000-3000 estimate to bring £4600. 

Written by

Roland Arkell

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