Matriarch of British lady silversmiths

Good day friends.
I could hardly believe my luck when I got hold of a Hester Bateman tablespoon the other day. Length: 21.6 cm. The pics will show.
Hester3



Year assayed: 1784. Lion passant guardant. I have some questions, please.
Firstly, if the maker’s mark was put on the spoon after assay, why would the mark be put on upside down? Surely, a discerning customer might see it as a detracting “fault”?
Secondly, if one looks carefully at the bowl, inside & out, a large number of very fine and quite regular hammer marks are seen and felt. Might this merely indicate a product of silversmithing from the 1700’s, when machinery and presses had not yet been brought in? Or might it be a later effort to reform a dented bowl?
Lastly, I am at a loss concerning the heraldic crest. I browsed through the online Fairbairn Book of Crests but could not find a crest even vaguely similar to the ons on the spoon. Could someone help with this mystery, please?
Regards
Jan.

Firstly, if the maker’s mark was put on the spoon after assay, why would the mark be put on upside down? Surely, a discerning customer might see it as a detracting “fault”?

Look at the header image on this forum page. Not even Paul Storr seems to have been concerned about that! :slight_smile:

I can’t argue with that logic, Jeff! :wink:
Regards
Jan.

Makers’ marks were applied before being sent to the assay office - there could then be no argument over whose silver was found to be sub-standard. I guess some of those responsible for adding the hallmark had a peculiar sense of humour!

The Batemans were noted as early adopters of machinery for silver production, consequently reducing the amount hammering necessary, and then for good quality control of the final product so I suspect that the marks on your spoon are the result of later damage.

In the 1905 edition of Fairbairn’s Crests the following crest, which seems to have the same heraldic make-up as yours (a cross crosslet fitchée between two wings), is attributed to family names: Askwith, Gordon, Pie, Pye and Rudde.

Untitled 1

Untitled 3

I’m not sure what colour the hatching on the wings represents; squares normally means sable (black) but I think the squares are normally smaller. In any case the only wing colours mentioned are or (yellow) and arg[ent] (white).

Thank you so much, Phil! You are very helpful with your kind efforts to advise and I really appreciate it! I always follow up on your comments (not forgetting other collectors who also help out when they can) and I’m gaining understanding about silver flatware as I go along. Thanks again!
Regards
Jan