Silverware showcasing ‘Birmingham brilliance’ soars to success at auction

Posted on 20/01/2021 in Press Coverage

An elaborate silver table centrepiece crafted by a Birmingham silversmith nearly 200 years ago has soared to success at auction.

The impressive work of silversmith Robert, Edkins & Aston was made during the reign of William IV in 1836, just one year before Queen Victoria ascended to the throne.

Strong bidding saw it contested to £1,700 at Hansons Auctioneers’ Staffordshire Country House Fine Art Auction at Bishton Hall.

Adrian Rathbone, head of Fine Art at Bishton Hall, said: “This excellent result was thoroughly deserved thanks to the high quality of the piece, which I discovered at a property in Sutton Coldfield. It showcases the brilliance of Birmingham’s silversmiths of old.

“The silver marvel in question would have been commissioned to grace the table of a grand house. Being multi-purpose, the piece was adapted from the outset to provide light via candles as well as being able to be drape with fruit such as grapes.

“It would have been a symbol of power, taste and wealth conveyed to fellow dinner party guests. It was in fact a presentation piece bearing an inscription to Reverend John Bradford, Curator of Woolborough, by his parishioners in appreciation for his involvement in the erection of a chapel of ease in Newton Abbott in 1836.

“The piece features a charming image of the chapel in question. Standing on a pyramid plinth, it employs design features highly fashionable at the time.

“It’s interesting to consider the historical context of the time this silverware was made. It was the year The Midland Bank was established in Birmingham and the year the famous plumber and inventor Thomas Crapper was born. It was an era on the cusp of the vast expansion of the British Empire coinciding with enormous advancements in science and technology.

“Such fine, elegant and substantial pieces of silver are highly sought after today thanks to their timeless appeal.

“If you have silverware at home, large or modest, it is wise to have it assessed. With precious metals at an all-time high and a vibrant market full of keen buyers and investors, it is more important than ever to be aware of the current value of your silver.”

If you are considering selling, you can obtain a free no-obligation, safe and remote appraisal. Simply email images and details to [email protected] and one of Hansons’ specialists will report back to you. Entries are invited for Hansons' Staffordshire Spring Fine Art Auction.