Antique Queen Anne Silver Taperstick
Maker: Thomas Merry
A charming little antique silver taperstick of plain early design with baluster stem and raised octagonal foot. Cast silver. Britannia...
A charming little antique silver taperstick of plain early design with baluster stem and raised octagonal foot. Cast silver. Britannia standard silver*. Hand engraved on the foot is a lion crest.
Weight 127 grams, 4.1 troy ounces.
Height 11.8cm. Base diameter 7.7cm.
Maker Thomas Merry.
Marks. Stamped underneath with a full set of English silver hallmarks.
Literature. Silver tapersticks, averaging about 5 inches high, are miniature table candlesticks used to hold a wax taper. Tapersticks would typically be found on a desk as they were not used for lighting; the melted sticks of wax were used for sealing letters, to give a flame for tobacco pipes or to light large candles. They are rarer than candlesticks and very few existed 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.
This lovely taperstick is in very good condition. Excellent patina.
Maker: Thomas Merry
Thomas Merry I (active 1701-c.1724). Apprenticed to Henry Grant in 1693 and turned over to John Laughton, a specialist candlestick maker in 1695. Thomas married in 1699 before becoming free in 1701. His first mark was entered in 1701 as smallworker. Livery 1712. Churchwarden of St John Zachary 1714. Thomas, like his master John Laughton. specialised in making candlesticks and tapersticks. Many of these were fashioned in the octagonal design popular at the time.
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