Irish Silver Maker’s Marks from M-Z
Irish Silver Maker’s Marks
Photographs of Irish silver maker’s marks, first letter from M to Z, including some biographical background to each silversmith where possible, in alphabetical order.
Another member of the famous Walker family, Matthew Walker had a very long career, and was an excellent silversmith. He was a Freeman from 1716 until 1760, and was elected Warden of the Company of Goldsmiths from 1721-4, and served a term as master warden in 1724-5. In 1737 he was elected to the Common Council of the City of Dublin.
His work is scarce, but generally of very high quality. His mark was a very distinctive MW intertwined. (Although it is a slightly rubbed mark, the intertwining is clearly visible. If I come across a clearer example I will replace this!)
Fitzgerald worked from 1760 until 1817.
Maurice Fitzgerald’s maker’s mark was MFG, with the vertical bar of the F being formed from the M. (another version is also known where the three letters are formed separately.)
Michael Homer was a silversmith working in Dublin in the second half of the 18th century. His mark was a block capital MH, seen below, taken from a spoon from 1778. Interestingly, you can see that he stamped the spoon twice, and there is a slight ghosting of the first strike around the mark.
Patrick Loughlin worked in Dublin in the 19th century, from 1835-44. He had a workshop on Ship Street, at the side of Dublin Castle, a common area for silversmiths to base themselves.
His maker’s mark was PL, in block capitals, in a rectangular outline. It is seen below, taken from a large table centrepiece, almost 27 inches high.
Robert Breading, who had a long career, from 1775 to 1822. He worked on Ship Street, just around the corner from Dublin Castle, where many silversmiths worked. His mark is RB. It is seen here on a teapot, date 1805.
He was a very talented silversmith, as can be sen in this example, a sauce tureen from 1788. In this example, there is a dot between the R and the B
The hallmarks on this piece are near the handle, as is typical for this type of item
Calderwood was active in the middle of the 18th century, roughly from the 1727 until his death in 1766. He worked in Castle Street, at the back of Dublin Castle, in the centre of Dublin. He served time as both a Warden and Master of the Company of Goldsmiths of Dublin, and trained several apprentices.
It is thought possible that he worked for a time in London, as his work is slightly different to many other Irish silversmiths working at that time.
He also accupied Pew Number 75 in St. Werburgh’s Church, the church which stood around the corner from Goldsmith’s Hall.
His maker’s mark was the letters RC with a small device between the letters. The shape of the mark was usually slighly scalloped on either the bottom or both the top and bottom of the mark. In the example pictured, it is shaped on both the top and bottom of the mark.
Unusually, in this example, the harp crowned was stamped upside down!
Calderwood’s work was generally of superb quality, and is among the finest Irish silver one will see.
Samuel Neville was a silversmith working from the time of George III all the way up until his death in 1851. He had a few different workshops over the course of his career, including at Hoey’s Court, Ship Street and Stafford Street.
He was a specialist in flatware, and the example of his maker’s mark, SN, is taken from a meat skewer, Dublin 1810.
Samuel Walker was one of a famous family of silversmiths from Dublin. He had a long career, working from the late 1720s as an apprentice to John Taylor, until his death in 1769.
His father, Joseph Walker, was a wonderful silversmith, and other members of the family known to have worked in the trade are James (possibly an uncle), Thomas and Matthew (siblings?)
His mark was an SW in block letters, very easy to recognise!
It is seen here on a sauceboat from late in his career, circa 1765. You can also see wonderful, clear Hibernia and Harp crowned marks in this photo. :
Sharman D Neill of Belfast
Sharman D Neill was one of the finest silversmiths of the late 1800s, and one of the few Irish silversmiths who produced Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts movement pieces. From his workshop on Donegall place, he produced items of outstanding quality; he excelled at items of Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts styles. In 1885 he was appointed Jeweller to HRH the Prince of Wales, an honour that reflects his talents.
His mark was SDN in a shamrock shape, though another mark, SD Neill incuse, was used as his retailer’s mark. They are seen below.
Tom Jones was a silversmith working in Dublin in the late 18th century; his workshop was on Castle Street. He became freeman in 1774, and was master warden of the company of goldsmiths in 1791.
His mark was a TJ, seen below from a silver salver.
Thomas Sutton was a famous silversmith from the first part of the 18th century.He worked from 1717 until 1744.
He was apprenticed to Thomas Bolton, one of the most famous Irish silversmiths of all time. His brother, William Sutton, was also a silversmith of note, and was active at the same time.
His mark was TS with a crown over it, seen below, taken from a silver mug made in 1728.
Another interesting feature on this mug is a scratch weight. As the fee for assaying depended on the weight of the object, this was often scratched into the base. In this case, this mug weighed seven ounces and fourteen pennyweight. Over a period of hundreds of years, sometimes a piece lose a little bit of weight (through repeated polishing, for example), and can weigh a little bit less than this. However, it should never weigh more!
Dublin silversmith William Cummins, who worked from 1813 to 1846, worked prolifically, and was an expert maker of flatware. His name was sometimes spelled “Comyns”.
His mark was a plain WC in a square outline, as seen below, from a soup ladle from 1827.
This is the mark of a rare silversmith, William Duggan of Dublin. His name was sometimes spelled “Dugan”
Little is known of him, other than that he worked from about 1723. His mark was a WD, in script, in a plain surround. In this example, it is on the base of a silver brandy warmer, dating from about 1745. It has a scratch weight of 11=15.
William Homer worked from 1754 until his death in 1773. His mark is a WH in italics, in a plain surround, though a variation with a four leafed surround is also known. It is seen below, taken from a small salver, circa 1770
Here is the mark of a wonderful silversmith, William Nowlan of Dublin, active from 1811 until 1835. He worked on Whitefriar Street. His mark is WN in a rectangular outline. It is seen here on a coffee pot from 1829.
William Williamson of Dublin was part of a silversmithing family whose work spanned the 18th century. His father, William Williamson I worked during the reign of George I. His son, William II, the subject of this post, probably worked with his father on Cole Alley, and then at Castle Street. He was a freeman of Dublin in 1740. He served as assay master from 1754 until 1770. His son, also called William, worked in the same street, and possibly in the same workshop.
Williamson’s maker’s mark was WW, with a distinctive star above. His father’s maker’s mark was similar, but the outline of the punch was different.
It can be seen in this photo, taken from a pair of salvers.