Georgian Silver Tray by Benjamin Smith
Maker: Benjamin Smith
An excellent antique sterling silver tray by this prestigious maker. With flower decorated carrying handles and winged feet. The hand...
An excellent antique sterling silver tray by this prestigious maker. With flower decorated carrying handles and winged feet. The hand engraved centre is particularly attractive with flowers and scrolls. There is an intertwined engraved monogram to the centre. Good weight 3044 grams, 97.8 troy ounces. Spread 59 cms. Length 47 cms. Width 38 cms. London 1816. Maker Benjamin Smith.
This fine antique tray is in excellent condition with no damage. The silver marks are clear and easy to read. The centre engraving is crisp. There are signs on the back of an earlier inscription which has been removed and the innermost edge of engraved decoration has slightly lost definition (see last photo). Please note that this item is not new and will show moderate signs of wear commensurate with age. Reflections in the photograph may detract from the true representation of this item.
Maker: Benjamin Smith
Benjamin Smith II, London silversmith. Originally of Birmingham, born 15 December 1764, first marriage 1788. Grimwade records first mention of Benjamin Smith through a 3rd party recommendation as 'an Ingeneous Chaser' in 1790 to Matthew Boulton at Birmingham. By September 1792 the firm of Boulton and Smith, latchet manufacturers was in existence. In 1801 Benjamin withdrew from the partnership and went to London. On 1 February 1802, Benjamin married for a second time to Mary Shiers at Greenwich Church and was presumably setting up the workshop there. First mark, in partnership with Digby Scott, 4 October 1802. Second mark together, 21 March 1803. The partnership apparently dissolved by 11 May 1807, when Smith entered a third separate mark. Fourth mark, 25 June 1807. Fifth mark in partnership with his brother James 1809. Sixth separate mark, 1812. Seventh mark, 1814. Eighth mark in partnership with his son Benjamin, 1816. Ninth mark alone again, 1818. By his first marriage Smith had four sons, of whom Benjamin was the eldest and three daughters, and by Mary Shiers a fourth daughter in 1803 at Greenwich. His third son Digby, born 2 June 1797, may be assumed to be the godson of Digby Scott. It appears that Smith was of a difficult and probably irascible nature and is this borne out by the variations in his entry of marks with and without partners. His firm was of course, together with Storr, manufacturing almost entirely for Rundell and Bridge, and it seems that the later may have supported Smith's move to London. The firm's most important production is probably The Jamaica Service of 1803 in The Royal Collection. The silver-gilt trays, baskets, and wine coasters with open-work vine borders are among the most distinctive and accomplished achievements. The designs, so closely related to those of Storr, most almost certainly stemmed from central control by Rundell and Bridge. Benjamin Smith III, eldest son of Benjamin Smith II, apprenticed to his father 1808, free 1821. 1st mark with his father 1816. 2nd mark alone. 3rd mark, 2 sizes, 1822. 4th mark, 2 sizes, 1837. Livery 1842. Died 1850.
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