Irish Retailer Marks--Long Term Project

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dognose
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Irish Retailer Marks--Long Term Project

Postby dognose » Sun Mar 01, 2009 8:50 am

Hi,

The custom of striking an extra mark, upon Irish silver to denote the retailer, began, I believe, in the late 18th century and carried on until the early 20th century. Although this practice was later to be carried out by other countries, I suspect the Irish were the first to do this on a fairly regular basis. Examples are few, I suspect only about fifty, but I would love to be proved wrong. There are also of course variations to be expected and hoped for.

I believe that with such a low number of examples, it should be quite possible, over a period of time, to create a fully comprehensive listing of these marks, and with the use of period directories, provide information regarding these early retailers.

The use of these marks, can cause confusion, especially as some overlap from working silversmith to retail silversmith, as in the case of Matthew West. At other times if can be difficult to determine who is the retailer and who is the maker, and another confusion can be caused when these retailers marks are struck on secondhand pieces.

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Above is an example of how these marks appear. The maker of this spoon in 1825 is Thomas Farnell of Dublin, but it was retailed in Belfast by Robert & John Gray, 18, Castle Place, Belfast. (1819-1846)

If we can add, or provide better examples of the few listed below, hopefully it will build into something useful.

Among the names sought are: W.Peter, Rooke, Brown, Neill, Twycross, Law, West, Gilbert & Son, Morton, Grays, Asken, J.Ash, Stewart, Donegan, G.Brown, Waterhouse, Timpson, Mullen, G & N, Mooney, Smith & Gamble, Lee, J.Moore, Hamy, Gibson, T & W, and Conner.

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William Gibson & Co. Donegall Place & Castle Place, Belfast. Also at 112, Regent Street, London. (1888-20th century).

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J & E Moore, 16, Eustace Street, Dublin. (1815), 52, Dame Street (1834).

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Probably J.R.Neill, 25, High Street, Belfast. (1858-1889).

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Possibly Charles Stewart, 1, Exchange Court (1803-1819), and 1, Crampton Court (1818-1829), Dublin.

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John Twycross, 14, Fownes Street (1806-1818), 69, Dame Street (1819), Dublin.

Additions and/or corrections, most welcomed.

Trev.
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Postby Granmaa » Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:55 am

Nice idea, Trev.
The Scots used retailers marks at around the same time, I believe; perhaps a bit later.

I only have this one example from a 1866 teaspoon by C. Cummins.

Miles

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dognose
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Postby dognose » Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:02 pm

Hi Miles,

That's possibly George Brown, 3, Fownes Street, Dublin. In business 1809-1866. Maybe one of the last pieces sold by him!

Regards Trev.
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Postby MCB » Mon Mar 02, 2009 8:55 am

Hello Trev,
A worthwhile project to add to the forum.

For information Jackson's book has the following:
TF is given as Thomas Farnett rather than Farnell but I guess you have it right.
TWY+ also for Edward Twycross in 1829.

Until the forum has its own images there are examples of:
Ash's mark of 1795 page 642, Law's mark of 1814 page 645, West's marks of 1799 & 1819 pages 643 & 645.

As to other potential retailers the following are listed where the names are stamped in full:
Gardner 1852, Ryan & Co 1864, Egan Cork 1873, E Johnson 1881, S O'Neill 1890, Mosley 1892, Lawson Dublin 1903, Faller Galway 1906, Cromer Limerick 1907, Jameson 1909.
Regards,
Mike
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dognose
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Postby dognose » Mon Mar 02, 2009 3:10 pm

Hi Mike,

Thanks for posting the extra information.

As for Farnett/Farnell, Douglas Bennett has it as Fernell or Farnell, so I'm not sure if Thomas himself, knew for sure!

The Twycross firm was going for at least fifty years and perhaps a lot longer, I quoted the name of John as I believe he was head of the firm and Warden of the Dublin Goldsmiths Company, but there were several other Twycross's including two George's (both Wardens), James and Edward.

Going back to the marks, I think we must be careful not to fall into the trap of mixing the names of silversmiths who sold their own wares and those who sold the work of others, this is where (to me) it becomes very confusing. My thoughts were that these retailers marks should be noted from examples where the item had a clear maker's marks that differed from the extra mark applied later by the retailer, as this appears to me to be the only way to be certain of the role of the retailer.
I had also hoped that in the long term this might provide a picture of who was working for who, but after noting these maybe connections for a couple of years, it appears to be entirely erractic.

Regards Trev.
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Postby MCB » Tue Mar 03, 2009 7:10 am

Hello again Trev,
In another part of Jackson's book I've discovered a reference to T Farnell so Sir Charles didn't know for sure either!
I can't find James & George Twycross registering their own mark so presumably all of them used TWY+.
I take your point regarding possible confusion. The TWY+ mark is a clear example since it, like most of the others already mentioned, was registered as a maker/sponsor mark. As you suggest two different marks on a piece has to be the starting point.
And then, of course, there's the little question of overstamping.
Hey ho!
Regards,
Mike
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doc
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Postby doc » Thu Mar 05, 2009 9:06 am

This is a great idea-Irish retailer's marks have interested (and confused) me, so clarity will be welcome!

I have two additions:

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Waterhouse & Co, from a Charles Lamb open sugar, 1899

This one is a bit more confusing and has a whole collection of marks:

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As you can see, it has the mark of Matthew West, but it also has the mark of Clarke & West and the mark of Daniel Egan. It comes from a creamer dated 1807, but is missing the duty stamp that started in 1807. What I wonder is whether Clarke & West was a partnership involving Matthew West and perhaps the partnership started in 1807?
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Postby dognose » Thu Mar 05, 2009 4:33 pm

Hi,

I'm glad I'm not the only one who is confused, and this Clark&West/West/Egan piece is a prime example of what causes this confusion.

The Date letter 'L' for 1807, can be found with or without the Duty Mark. The Duty Mark was first applied to items on the 10th August 1807.

The Clark & West partnership was that of John Clark and Jacob West. This firm appear to have been in business from 1804 to 1815 and were described as 'Wholesale Goldsmiths & Jewellers' of 9, Capel Street, Dublin.
The mark of 'West' that was used from 1801-1859 is also that of Jacob West, not Matthew West. Matthew West's similar mark, as I understand it, was always prefixed with the 'M', and was in use for the period 1769 to 1827.
I'm not sure if there was any family connection between Jacob and Matthew, although I believe Matthew's fathers name was also Jacob, so our Jacob may possibly be the older brother?

Daniel Egan's mark was thought to be in use for the period 1800-1809.

Trev.
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admin
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Postby admin » Thu Mar 05, 2009 5:15 pm

Matthew West

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dognose
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Postby dognose » Thu Mar 05, 2009 6:37 pm

Hi,

There are several Waterhouses connected with the silver trade, this one is George Waterhouse & Co., listed in directories as 'Manufacturing Silversmiths, Jewellers, Chronometer, Watchmakers & Medallists'. Originally the firm were based in Sheffield, but branched out to Hatton Garden and Dublin, where they had premises at 25, Dame Street.
Ireland was a big part of Waterhouse's business, and their jewellery is where they found real fame. In 1842 they started making copies of antique brooches, this venture proved very successfull and in 1849 they were granted the rights to make copies of antique brooches from the collection of the Royal Irish Academy. Their biggest sucess was to come in the following year. A poor Irishwoman found a brooch at the base of a cliff following a landslide, near Drogheda, the brooch eventually came into the possession of Waterhouse, who copied the piece and marketed it under the name 'The Royal Tara Brooch'. Queen Victoria purchased two copies, after that, sales were assured.

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George Waterhouse died in 1908, but his company was in business until 1960.

Trev.
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dognose
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Postby dognose » Fri Mar 06, 2009 6:42 am

Hi,

A couple of more examples.

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Twycross on spoon by George Nagle (26, Chancery Lane, Dublin.) 1813.

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This is a new one on me, T.Bennet on a spoon by James Le Bas (Probably at 51, Castle Street, Dublin, at this time) 1840.
I am indebted to Michael Baggott for his kind permission for the use of this photograph.

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Another example of Matthew West's mark, presumabley as the maker of this undated spoon.

Trev.
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doc
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Postby doc » Fri Mar 06, 2009 8:51 am

Thank you for the clarification on the West marks.
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dognose
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Postby dognose » Fri Mar 06, 2009 4:40 pm

Hi Doc,

Pure speculation on my part, but I wonder if the maker of your piece was Daniel Egan. The position of the C&W mark makes me think that they were probably the ones that submitted the item for assay. Perhaps Egan was commissioned to supply items to this partnership. Following the break up of the partnership, John Clarke set up business at 48, Clarendon Street and Jacob West stayed at the Capel Street premises, perhaps at this point there was remarking of the stock, and this may account for the extra mark.
Do you have any thoughts on it?

Regards Trev.
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doc
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Postby doc » Sun Mar 08, 2009 4:54 pm

I had assumed that the maker was Daniel Egan and that the piece had gotten caught up in some change from West to Clarke & West partnership, but the dates that have been mentioned don't quite work with that assumption. I guess better to have too many marks than not enough!!
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dognose
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Postby dognose » Thu Apr 02, 2009 5:52 pm

Hi,

Below is a listing that I have noted of pieces with retailer marks, it proves little, but suggests much. It does give an approximate timespan for some retailers and show a connection between some retailers and makers.

I have not included those of Matthew West and Jacob West as when I started taking notes of these marks I was not aware of the distinction between these two.

Image

Trev.
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Postby Granmaa » Sun Apr 05, 2009 5:14 pm

Here's one I'd forgotten about.
Found on an 1851 mustard ladle by John Smyth.

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Miles
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dognose
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Postby dognose » Mon Apr 06, 2009 4:04 am

Hi Miles,

Thanks for that, 'Wm. Aches' a new one to me. I'm starting to wonder if there might be more retailers out there than I originally thought, which is great, as it brings to light these names that might otherwise have been forgotten.

This week, I saw yet another Laurence Nowlan spoon retailed by Stewart, this time bearing date marks for 1831. Perhaps Stewart was the exclusive outlet for Nowlan's output during this timeframe or perhaps he was the inhouse silversmith at Stewarts?

Regards Trev.
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Further retailer info.

Postby bstaunto » Mon Apr 20, 2009 10:20 am

Hi there,

What an interesting project! I really enjoy collecting Irish silver, and this adds another dimension I hadn't thought of.

I have three pieces, names you already have, but if you want to keep track of them on the list of occurences:

BROWN on a rat-tail ladle, made by WC in 1820
M.WEST on a rat-tail Tablespoon, made by IE in 1820
M.WEST on a little mustard spoon, made by ?E in 1821

And there is a new one for you:
There is a 1830 Dublin pickle fork (that's what they call it, it looks just like a dessert fork to me) on another website, it is made by SN in 1830 and has a retailers mark of MORPIE. If I end up buying this little item, I will sure to contribute a photo.

Keep up the good work,

Ben
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dognose
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Postby dognose » Mon Apr 20, 2009 1:45 pm

Hi Ben,

Thanks for joining in.

If you can post some photos of the three marks you already have, it would be a great help, especially as there is more than one 'WC' who fits into that timeframe.

'Morpie' would be Thomas Morpie of 9, Essex Quay in 1829, and at 34, Lower Sackville Street, Dublin in 1830. He registered his mark at the Dublin Assay Office in 1829 and his business was taken over by one J Hilliard in 1833.

Regards Trev.
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bstaunto
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Postby bstaunto » Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:17 am

Here are the images, sorry they are not the best quality (one day I'll buy a decent camera!).

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Image
(the B in BROWN is clearer to read in real life)

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