Pair of George III Antique Silver Salt Cellars made in 1809£1,250ENQUIRE ABOUT THIS PIECEW110x24Date:1809Maker: Benjamin & James Smith£1,250
Pair of George III Antique Silver Salt Cellars made in 1809
A pair of rare regency period large salt cellars with gadroon and shell borders made by the important makers, Benjamin & James Smith.£1,250
Benjamin & James Smith
Benjamin Smith II & James Smith III.
Sons of Ralph Smith of Birmingham, born 15 December 1764. Married firstly, 8th October 1788, Mary Adams at Edgbaston parish church. Apparently to be identified with "Mr. Smith" introduced through James Alston, on recommendation of "Mr Nevill", to Matthew Boulton at Birmingham (letter dated 18th May, 1790, Birmingham Assay Office), then described as "an Ingenuous Chaser."
By September 1792, the firm of Boulton and Smith latchet manufacturers was in existence, from the evidence of a specification endorsed "Smith Buckle Invention" signed James Smith, from which it is clear that both Benjamin and James were with Boulton.
In March 1794, they were joined by John Lander, jeweller, who had invented an "Elastic Shoe Latchet", when Benjamin and James are button makers.
Disagreement developed in 1801 when Benjamin threatened to withdraw and go to London and a new partnership was drawn up between Boulton and James in 1802.
On 1 February 1802, Benjamin married secondly Mary Shiers at Greenwich Church, by which time he was presumably setting up the workshop there.
First mark, in partnership with Digby Scott, 4th October 1802. Address: Limekiln Lane, Greenwich. Second mark together, 21st March 1803. The partnership apparently dissolved by 11th May 1807, when Smith entered a third separate mark. Fourth mark, 25th June 1807. Fifth mark in partnership with his brother James, 23rd February 1809. Address Limekiln Lane, Greenwich. Sixth separate mark, 14th October 1812. Seventh mark, 15th January 1814. Eighth mark in partnership with his son, Benjamin, 5th July 1816. Address: Camberwell. Ninth mark alone again, 25th June 1818.
By his first marriage Smith had four sons (of whom Benjamin was the eldest) and three daughters, and by Mary Shiers a fourth daughter in 1803 at Greenwich. His third son, Digby, born 2nd June 1797, may be assumed to be the godson of Digby Scott.
There seems little doubt from the accounts preserved in the Boulton papers at Birmingham, that Smith was of a difficult and probably irascible nature and this borne out with the variations in his entry of marks with and without partners.
His firm was, of course, together with Storr, manufacturing almost entirely for Rundell and Bridge, and it seems that the later may have supported Smith's move to London.
The firm's most important production is probably The Jamaica Service of 1803 in The Royal Collection. The silver gilt trays, baskets and wine coasters with open-work vine borders are among the most distinctive and accomplished achievements. The designs, so closely related to those of Storr, most almost certainly stemmed from central control by Rundell and Bridge.