Chester maker TW 1838

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carlislepaul
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Chester maker TW 1838

Postby carlislepaul » Tue Apr 19, 2011 2:56 pm

Image
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This 7 inch butter knife from Chester dated 1838/39 has a makers mark TW with what appears to be a journeymans mark.

This TW appears to be the mark shown in The Compendium of Chester Marks at page 426 ref 8658-61 and is attributed to either Thomas Woolfield of Liverpool or Thomas Walker of chester. Has anybody any further information on these makers or can say which maker was most likely to have had a workshop employing journeymen.

Regards

Paul

dognose
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Re: Chester maker TW 1838

Postby dognose » Tue Apr 26, 2011 1:18 pm

Hi Paul,

Nothing conclusive, but some information regarding the Walker family that may help you decide on the maker of your butter knife.

The Walkers', as far as silversmithing goes, were an important Chester family, the first of note was George Walker who was apprenticed to Richard Richardson II. George become a Freeman of the City of Chester in 1767 and was admitted into the Chester Goldsmith's Company on the 19th July 1770. He was elected Warden in 1773 and was appointed the Assay Master at Chester in 1791, a position he held until his death in 1809. Following George's demise his son, John, was appointed Assay Master in that same year. John Walker was a silversmith known to make both holloware and flatware, his biggest contribution to his art was the Stand Cup made for the Chester Races in 1817. He was also elected to the position of Sheriff of Chester 1827.

John Walker continued to hold the position of Assay Master until 1840 (it was he who assayed your butter knife), but in that year a scandal was to explode at the Chester Assay Office that resulted in John Walker being tried at the City Quarter Sessions and being found guilty on a charge of falsifying taxation returns. John Walker was dismissed from his post, and the entire Walker family, some seven of them, were thrown out of the Chester Goldmith's Company.

The above may reveal a couple of points. Thomas Walker may well have been one of those expelled from the Company, and if so may well have been the head of a workshop employing other silversmiths (possibly all Walkers'!) and thus likely to have used journeymen's marks. The expulsion may also account for the confusion in the assay offices records regarding the mark of Thomas Walker with perhaps certain records being removed.

In conclusion, the Walker family were very likely to have had inherited skills regarding the manufacture of flatware and if at least seven member of the family were perhaps linked to the trade, then the liklihood of the use of journeymen's marking is strong.

Regards Trev.

carlislepaul
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Location: Carlisle

Re: Chester maker TW 1838

Postby carlislepaul » Tue Apr 26, 2011 3:07 pm

Trev

Thank you, most interesting, I shall attribute the knife to Thomas Walker if only to be able to repeat the story.

Regards

Paul

John Gill
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Re: Chester maker TW 1838

Postby John Gill » Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:28 pm

Hi, I am a direct descendant of George Walker and John Walker both assay masters of Chester. I would be interested in purchasing any of their silverwork indicated by their mark. If items are not for sale, I would still be interested in seeing photographs of their work. Thanks John G.

dognose
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Re: Chester maker TW 1838

Postby dognose » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:37 am

Hi John,

Welcome to the Forum.

We're very pleased to have you as a member of the Forum, and hope that you'll share with us any details that you have discovered regarding the Walker family of silversmiths.

(but please remember, the purpose of this forum is that of research, and as per the posting requirements, not a medium for business)

Trev.

John Gill
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Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:19 pm

Re: Chester maker TW 1838

Postby John Gill » Tue Jul 17, 2012 2:40 am

Hi,
John Walker, assay master of Chester, married Martha Emma Hassell,in Liverpool 24 October 1837. Their daughter Louisa Elizabeth Walker arrived in Melbourne, Australia between 1851 and 1858. John Walker died in Chester in about 1847. Louisa Elizabeth Walker's descendants are now scattered across eastern Australia. I am researching the family history and would be interested in any publications or photos which may help in our quest to trace the Walkers, silversmiths (assay master) of Chester. Thanks for any offered suggestions.
John, Brisbane, Australia.

dognose
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Re: Chester maker TW 1838

Postby dognose » Tue Jul 17, 2012 9:44 am

Hi John,

There are two or three books available on Chester silver, but the one I used for the above information was an exhibition catalogue issued by Sotheby's in conjunction with the Grosvenor Museum for an exhibition at Booth Mansion at Chester in July and August 1984. An online search for this one, I'm sure, will be worthwhile.

Trev.

John Gill
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Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:19 pm

Re: Chester maker TW 1838

Postby John Gill » Tue Jul 17, 2012 5:16 pm

Hi Trev,

many thanks for your help.

John


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