RC London makers' mark -probably Robert Collier

1700 - 1830

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oel
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RC London makers' mark -probably Robert Collier

Postby oel » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:21 am

Hi,

Juke’s question about; RG London maker, unregistered mark made me look again at one of my snuff boxes with the London makers’ mark RC.
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George II cartouche shaped rococo silver snuff box, makers’ mark RC London.
London,1744, the lid with an inserted repoussé / chased plaque of Venus reclining on a shell within a scroll surround, the base with oval reserve engraved with a large contemporary bird crest, gilt interior. Provenance with Christie's London(2008)
Sizes are: 7 cm / 2.76 inch wide, 5.5 cm / 2.17 inch deep, 2.4 cm / 0.95 inch high. Weight 68 grams / 2.4 ounces
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With reference to the RC mark, I have consulted A.G. Grimwade’s book entitled London goldsmiths 1697-1837 their marks & lives (London, Faber & Faber, 1990, 3rd revised edition) and have also sought the advice of the Librarian. There is an RC mark in the unregistered marks section (no. 3767) of Grimwade’s publication which looks similar to that on my snuffbox.
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From left to right; Date letter i for 1744-45, Leopard's head crowned for London, RC for Robert (Albion?) Cox, Lion Passant. This mark has been tentatively attributed to Robert Cox.


Oel.

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Re: RC London makers' mark

Postby silvermakersmarks » Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:12 am

Your RC certainly bears a close resemblance to Grimwade's "unregistered" mark 3767. However Grimwade notes in his biography of Robert Cox that he was apprenticed to Humphrey Payne 16 January 1745 and free 2 July 1752. This means that your 1744 snuff box cannot be by Cox and that we must seek another candidate for this mark.

Phil

buckler
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Re: RC London makers' mark

Postby buckler » Sat Nov 09, 2013 1:15 pm

Your snuff box has an intriguing set of marks .
Could I please ask for a close- up photo of the (or all if there are any others) Lions Passant please ?

The one shown appears to have an indent to the top end of the punch which is not found on the normal London punch of 1739 -1756, and seems to lack the side indents . I am not convinced it must be London,

A close -up image of the crowned leopart would also be a help. It should be remembered that this mark is found at several other locations, not at this period exclusively at London .

Thanks, its a great mark, and a worthy one to try to trace

oel
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Re: RC London makers' mark

Postby oel » Sat Nov 09, 2013 5:31 pm

Hi Phil & Clive,

Thank you both very much and Buckler is right to question the Lion Passant mark for the time period 1740-1756. I have to admit that I never looked at the lion closely and took the word of the auction house for granted, although I had that nagging feeling and I am glad that after five years, I involved the forum.
I have made some close- up photo's of the Lion Passant and the date letter.
Only one full set of hallmarks, in the inside of the bottom of the box and maker’s mark only in the inside lid of the box.
To compare the original Lion Passant, as shown in Jackson’s;
Image

The lion passant in question:
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Leopard head and date letter
Image


And a link to album with more uncut images;

http://imageshack.us/g/1/10395846/


Best,

Oel.

buckler
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Re: RC London makers' mark

Postby buckler » Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:37 pm

Many thanks for the image. Most interesting.

I do not see many date letters prior to 1790 , so cannot comment on that.

I am familiar with both the London "cottage loaf" Lions Passant Guardant , and the slightly later Newcastle version ( with an indented top side) but this does not seem to match either. There may be another provincial English Assay office that used this one although I'm not aware of one.
Another possibility is theLondon Office had a very small punch specifically for snuff and patch box use. It would need to be very small and delicate so as not to damage the thin gauge of metal used, so difficult to have the side indents .

However the Lion Passant is very odd indeed and I am at a total loss. I really hate to mention the possibility of a colonial origin for this snuff box, but it might be considered. It seems unusual to have no Lion Passant on the lid. I thought that normally all separate pieces were marked thus ?

oel
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Re: RC London makers' mark

Postby oel » Sun Nov 10, 2013 10:47 am

Hi Buckler,

Thanks. I have asked some other experts on London and colonial silver to have a look at the marks. If anything comes up I will inform you.

Best,

Oel.

oel
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Re: RC London makers' mark

Postby oel » Fri Nov 15, 2013 3:48 pm

Hi Buckler,

The hallmarks seem to be for London 1744, below an extract of mails between me and The Goldsmiths’ Company and Peter Cameron Antique silver.

From The Goldsmiths’ Company Library:
Is there any reason for you to query the hallmarks themselves? They do look like London hallmarks to me. I am afraid that the exact shapes and sizes of the London hallmarks in the 18th century and earlier are not an exact science. Out of necessity, and in order to make the system easy to understand, standard shapes have been introduced into the published literature. On the whole they are accurate but it is possible that they may not be exhaustive. Most antique silver dealers, through experience, acquire a knowledge and ‘sense’ of whether the hallmarks are right or wrong. For collectors and enthusiasts it takes a much longer time as we are usually wedded to what we have seen in books rather than what we have handled ourselves.

From Peter Cameron Antique Silver:
As to the lion passant, I have seen other instances of this punch but I cannot really explain them. There are various anomalies with regard to London hallmarking in the period from 1716 to 1755 which have not been fully documented. I do not think that this was a regular punch for small pieces.
Peter Cameron has also found a possible candidate for the RC mark, which he has been researching for some years. He wrote me: I am quite sure that the maker is Robert Collier and the mark will have been in the lost register. Collier was, as you probably know, the master of James Phipps and, indeed, James Phipps later married the widow of Robert Collier, snuff-box maker and tipper, in Gutter-lane, Cheapside. I am planning to attach a little essay on the subject to my website………

More detail will follow later,


Oel

buckler
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Re: RC London makers' mark

Postby buckler » Fri Nov 15, 2013 5:00 pm

Peter is someone whose expertise I respect. The fact that he also cannot explain the Lion Passant is re-assuring. I've not seen it before but he obviously has, and has ruled out a colonial origin. And he has seen far more silver than me !
As he says, he has been researching Robert Collier for some time, and if he considers this to be a lost register mark of his I would certainly think it to be extremely likely.


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