Here is a selection of our most successful results so far this decade, each expertly photographed and researched to be presented to our network of clients from across the globe.
Our Silver & Objects of Vertu Department hosts three dedicated silver sales in London a year, specialising in non-European silver such as Indian, Burmese, Chinese, Iraqi and Persian. The specialist sales include a comprehensive offering of English, Irish and Scottish silver alongside continental rarities such as French, Dutch, Maltese and Russian.
Our department’s place as the world leader in Non-European silver is confirmed by Chiswick Auctions hosting the first ever auction for Indian silver with the white glove (100% sold) single owner sale of The Stewart Collection.
We regularly successfully sell items produced by the prestigious names sought out by collectors worldwide, including: the English greats Paul de Lamerie, Paul Crespin and Paul Storr; the finest names in non-European silver Oomersi Mawji, Maung Shwe Yon, Wang Hing, Zahroon and Ja’far; and the best firms of the 19th century with Garrard, Barnard, and Elkington.
This excellent example of a Warwick vase drew considerable attention due to it being the first time it had appeared on the open market since when it was presented to Sir John Barker-Mill, 1st Baronet (1803 –1860) when his horse Giantess won the Plymouth, Devonport and Cornwall Races on the 13th August 1845, this vase being a Royal Plate. Royal Plates universally offered a prize of 100 Guineas and were first introduced during the reign of King Charles I, they did not require participants to pay an entry fee. The inaugural Royal Plate was held at Newmarket on Friday 1st March 1634. The original Warwick vase, a colossal Roman marble vase measuring nearly six feet high, dates from the 2nd century A.D was eventually owned by the 2nd Earl of Warwick and situated in grounds of Warwick Castle.
Listen to a BBC Radio Cornwall interview over the sale of the vase here.
Lot 537 23rd March 2023 - An exceptional late 17th / early 18th century Chinese silver gilt tea bowl circa 1700, with Queen Anne Britannia standard handles, London 1705 by David Willaume I (1658-1741)
This is an extremely rare and fascinating example of early Chinese silver being altered in London with the additions of the handles to aid in the drinking of tea, drank hotter in England than on the orient. This piece was bought by the Chitra Collection, N. Sethia Foundation, known as the museum of tea, this bowl will now join over 2000 objects illustrating the history of tea from across the world. The tea bowl is part of a disbanded set as two further examples previously with How of Edinburgh are now in the collection of the Aga Khan, is an exceptional example of the interaction between the little known first phase of Chinese Export silver and Baroque silverware of the Huguenot class of London silversmiths.
English silver of the 17th century is as old as one can reasonably expect to encounter holloware from, where within this century there are great rarities that are not only of evocative appearance but deeply coveted by the passionate. Most of the silver holloware surviving from this time are made in London and the ‘flat top’ tankard is an absolute icon of the period after the Great-Fire of London. A large example of one of these from 1677 by desirable silversmith Arthur Manwaring is a prime example. This tankard benefited not only from a well-established track record of sale while being mentioned in literature but vitally retained its original coat of arms for such an important noble family, the Manners Dukes of Rutland.
Outside of London, there were provincial centres producing silver such as the assay offices of Norwich, Newcastle, and York. However, there are rarer “unofficial” centres which marked silver throughout the 17th century and Hull represents one of the most desirable of all of these. A coconut cup marked for the main Hull silversmithing family the Mangy’s is a potentially unique example of the barely over 100 objects to have survived from this region.
The finest names in Georgian English silver continue to earn the admiration and respect of serious collectors worldwide as well as bringing new interest to the field for its renowned quality, scale and artisanship compared to any other era. These four candlesticks of French Louis XIV / Régence design bear the coat of arms of Bussy Mansel, 4th Baron Mansel of Margam, Glamorgan (c.1697 - 1750). These prominent and heavy candlesticks demonstrates either the admiration for French design produced by Huguenot workshops in London, or potentially the importation and marking of French silver for sale in London.
Continuing in the 18th century and with the rise of Rococo style the output of the Huguenot workshops continued to dominate design and craftsmanship, one the largest objects of silver produced in the 18th century are epergnes These acted as table centrepieces with the baskets and arms displaying colourful fruits or sweetmeats while the castings and pierced work glinted and heavily reflected the candlelight. One such example sold by Charles Frederick Kandler benefited from the silver mounted glass dishes to each arm.
Iconic pieces of continental silver prove exceptionally popular with collectors in their countries of origin and worldwide. Maltese silver of the 18th century is some of the most sought after of all produced in Europe and an example of the most quintessentially Maltese item of silver, a coffee pot, sold exceptionally well in October 2021. The classic hoof feet, chased decoration and disc junction handle; elements borrowed from Italian silver combined to find a very high price comparable to the even rarer examples made earlier in the 18th century. Much Maltese silver was lost in Napoleonic times and the silver of the first half of 19th century generally followed British colonial fashions as opposed this idiosyncratic Maltese style. From the 17th century an icon of Scandinavian silver is found in the form of a peg tankard, these large tankards have internal markers or ‘pegs’ to provide a measure of the drink to be consumed form one guest to the next. Despite several condition issues, a Norwegian example from the desirable Reimers family exceeded cautious expectations to realise a strong sum as testament to the status these items hold in the history of Norwegian silverware.
While flatware is an actively engaged area of silverware, concentrated on early spoons, grand examples of 19th century services can also prove to have considerable appeal. In this period the design or pattern of the service as well as the maker have the chief effect on value. The Chawner firms were the principal enterprise producing these heavy die-struck patterns throughout the century, at one point supplying Paul Storr. Some of these patterns were produced in vast numbers such as Fiddle and Thread or King’s, while rarer examples such as Palm or Paxton garner much interest. An ultra rare and largely unpublished pattern based on French silver designs produced by the Chawner firm made a high price for containing so many serving elements and well as place settings for thirty-six, with doubles of the table forks used for the fish course.
The single owner Stewart Collection represents the first ever devoted auction of Indian silver. Starting with Burma and a small amount from Ceylon, the sale then takes the viewer on an anticlockwise journey throughout the silversmithing centres of British India, beginning in Madras. The collection is remarkable for the extent to which it covers the handmade artistry of every area and the variety of decoration associated with those regions in India. From the highly prolific Lucknow to the little-known Trichinopoly alongside the deeply coveted works of the Cutch region; the complex web of shapes and patterns is explored as a perfect survey of this distinct and important moment in the history of silversmithing. Indian and Burmese silver of the Raj period was admired across the world at the turn of the last century, now revived with publications over the last 25 years, this collection serves tribute to this passion of the past.
This is a world record price for a piece of Peter Orr silver. The design on the piece is the Jagannath procession at Puri, showing the temple of Vishbakaam’s statue to Vishnu. This design is illustrated from P. Orr and Sons sales catalogue of c. 1880 in Wilkinson, W., (1999)., Indian Silver 1858-1947: Decorative Silver from the Indian Sub-Continent and Burma Made by Local Craftsmen in Western Forms. London, Wynyard R T Wilkinson, p. 157.
Of all the Indian silver producing artisans in India, one name stands out as associated with pieces of the very finest quality: Oomersi Mawji. Pieces by this accomplished expert began to appear circa 1860 and they continued to be produced by his sons and grandsons will into the twentieth century.
There is no doubt that Oomersi Mawji was one of the most gifted silversmiths working anywhere in the world during his lifetime. His understanding of form, proportion and decoration, his willingness to devote extra labour to a piece to truly perfect it to world-class standards, and his use of an extremely high grade of silver (often 98 per cent pure) combine to lend even the most mundane objects an aura of grandeur, placing this artist in the ranks of the finest craftsmen.
This heavy and finely worked silver claret jug or ewer proved to be one of the most sought after items of the Stewart Collection, exceeding a £800-1,200 estimate to take an impressive £10,625 incl. premium. The highest price achieved yet for a piece of Cutch silver for the department.