Victorian Silver Table Centrepiece
A spectacular antique silver centrepiece and candelabra, the tall column and arms formed as a grapevine with entwined branches supporting...
A spectacular antique silver centrepiece and candelabra, the tall column and arms formed as a grapevine with entwined branches supporting vine leaves and bunches of grapes. The cut crystal bowl and the candle nozzles are all detachable. This decorative item is perfect for fruit, flowers and sweets. Engraved to the base with a presentation inscription from H.G Mytton of Cleobury North. Dismantles into 3 pieces by unscrewing the bowl holder at the top.
Weight 2755 grams, 88.6 troy ounces.
Height 58.5cm (with glass), 53cm (without). Spread 42cm.
Maker George Richards Elkington.
“This Piece …. With a Silver Tea & Coffee Service was Presented to R.O. Backhouse by H.G Mytton* of Cleobury North”
*H.G Mytton. Possibly a relative of “Mad Jack” Myddleton whose name is given to a 100 mile track through Shropshire’s most beautiful and unspoilt countryside starting and finishing in Cleobury. Jack Mytton led a short but very profligate life – an eccentric aristocrat who made his name when, as a new MP, he quit the House of Commons after half an hour of dull speeches and never returned.
“as a mark of sincere respect & esteem and in appreciation of his great ability and honourable conduct in long and arduous Chancery Suits* in which Mr Mytton was interested 1864”
*Chancery Suits. A court of equity, in which a judge can order acts performed, such as that a contract be modified or an activity stopped. The chancery court’s functions are distinct from those of common law courts, which can order money damages to be paid, and where jury trials are available.
This silver centrepiece is in very good condition. The crystal bowl is undamaged and is probably original. The silver is stamped on each piece with matching English silver hallmarks and makers mark:
- on the base (within the empty cartouche)
- on the bowl holder (stamped on a vine leaf)
- on the central candelabra arm support
- on each candle nozzle
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.
George Richards Elkington, born in Birmingham, apprenticed to his uncles Josiah and George Richard’s silversmithing business in 1815 and on his father’s death c.1824 inherited his father’s spectacle manufactory. Until 1840 he continued in partnership with his uncles as Richards and Elkington, silversmithing and gilt-toy manufacturers, of Holborn, London, and St Paul's Square, Birmingham. Elkington had other concurrent partnerships: one with Joseph Taylor, a Birmingham gilt-toy maker, dissolved in 1839; another with his cousin Henry Elkington which began c.1836 and eventually became the firm of Elkington & Co. After George Elkington entered into partnership with his cousin Henry, the two men began experimenting with new ways of gilding base metals taking out patents for the application of electricity to metals. When, in 1840, John Wright, a Birmingham surgeon, discovered the valuable properties of a solution of cyanide of silver in potassium cyonide for electroplating purposes, the Elkingtons purchased and patented Wright's process (British Patent 8447 : Improvements in Coating, Covering, or Plating certain Metals), subsequently acquiring the rights of other processes and improvements. In 1843 Elkingtons acquired the rights to Werner von Siemens’s first invention, an improvement to the gold and silver plating process. The Elkingtons opened a new electroplating works in Newhall St, in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham in 1841, and the following year Josiah Mason, a pen manufacturer, joined the firm now named Elkington, Mason & Co. Mason encouraged the Elkingtons to add more affordable electroplated jewellery and cutlery to the large pieces the company had been producing. The agreement between Elkington and Mason was dissolved in 1861, after which the company traded as Elkington and Co. By the mid-1860s Elkington's employed nearly a thousand workers and was firmly established as the leading silver- and electroplate company in the world. George Elkington died in 1865. The business was continued by his sons, Frederick (d. 1905), James Balleny (d. 1907), Alfred John (d. 1910), Howard (d. 1899), and Hyla (d. 1901).
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