unknown sugar tongs c1790

PHOTOS REQUIRED - marks + item
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unknown sugar tongs c1790

Postby Tongtwister » Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:05 pm


I have a pair of sugar tongs & am unable to identify them with certainty. I have had some people comment as follows (names omitted to protect the innocent!):

"My suspicion is James Heatherington of Newcastle (Gill page 116) , but I would class it as a possible rather a probable"

"the engraving does have the feel of Newcastle from looking at your photo"

"The tongs are made in Exeter, I have a pair by the same unidentified maker (acorn bowls) struck alongside the definitive standard mark and duty mark for Exeter c.1786-97. Given you have the 'wavy edge' lion passant on your pair it suggests they are right at the beginning of that period, with the narrow rectangular lion used slightly later".

My own personal opinion is possibly Chester.

Can anyone shed any more light?


Thanks very much for looking.

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Postby Granmaa » Thu Apr 17, 2008 7:36 pm

It looks most like the Exeter lion to me since the right front leg seems to be coming out of the left leg. With other assay towns the design is more anatomically accurate.
Could it be Joseph Hicks?


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Postby MCB » Thu Apr 24, 2008 11:37 am

Hello Tongtwister,

I don't think the mark is Joseph Hicks'; he used "JH". I can't find any others in "Jacksons'" list of registered Exeter makers who might legitimately have used "IH". That leaves you with the great unknown of course if you can satisfy yourself that the other sugar tongs are from there.

The mark probably isn't John Hetherington's. "Jackson's" shows him using "IH" until 1778 but "JH" afterwards and last mentioned in 1782.

Although the lion passant doesn't quite seem to fit for London it is rubbed. I've found that where the town mark is missing London is a candidate: John Holloway (1773-93), John Hutson (1784-1800) and John Harris III (1786-93) all used "IH" with a pellet.

Hope this helps

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Postby buckler » Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:45 pm

The owner who informed Tongtwister ""The tongs are made in Exeter, I have a pair by the same unidentified maker (acorn bowls) struck alongside the definitive standard mark and duty mark for Exeter c.1786-97." supplied Tongtwister with a photograph of the marks - which he kindly forwarded to me .

For copyright reasons I cannot post a photo but I can confirm - the assay mark is 99.9% certain as Exeter, and the makers mark is the same as on the tongs Tongtwister has. I myself was uncertain of the Tongtwisters mark as being Exeter ( I was the guy who tentatively suggested Newcastle as a possibility but not a probability ) but I am now convinced that both pairs are Exeter.

Unfortunately Jackson is incomplete on the Exeter silversmiths and we still do not have a really good book on Exeter makers comparable to Grimwade on London, Gill on Newcastle or Ridgway & Priestly on Chester.

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