(click on images to enlarge)
SILVER OF COLONIAL INTEREST
My first piece of Indian colonial silver was purchased in
Durban (South Africa) in 1982, a good Hamilton & Co 'melon shaped' tea
pot which I still own to this day. The price then was lower than
the equivalent piece of Victorian English silver. Those were the
days of Grand Apartheid and I bought it at auction from
Sotheby's when they were 'in association' with the local firm of
Stephan Welz. I have managed to find a perfectly matching sugar
bowl but I am still searching for a matching milk jug.
In this page I present a pocket watch of Indian interest bought
from an English dealer.
It has a trademark with a lion inside a double circle with the
inscription " FL Bombay & Calcutta" (Favre Leuba and Co).
Apparently the watch case is not marked (it's silver? not yet
tested by me) but the body of the watch bears an elephant mark,
similar to the symbol used by Hamilton & Co.
The second piece is a rose water sprinkler found at an Arts and Antiques Fair in Munich.
It has the shape of a kneeling elephant supporting the sprinkler
device with its trunk. It stands 24.5 cm high and is in perfect
I don't know what part of India it might come from, or the date,
but my guess would be central India, perhaps Lucknow (known for
jungle and animal scenes on highly decorated pieces), and circa
The third piece is a table spoon.
A dealer in Cape Town offered the spoon to me because he thought
it might be Indian colonial - for want of a more informed guess.
I suspected he was wrong due to the shape, which I would call
Celtic Point pattern, not Old English, and the marks are quite
bizarre and entirely un-Indian silver.
The spoon itself is of good quality and weight and the inscribed
letter "R" is stylishly chased, in stark contrast to the crude
pseudo marks of maker, date, assay office or whatever else they intended to represent.
Incidentally, I bought it because it is such an unusual item,
not because I ever thought it was Indian colonial.
The fourth piece is a pair of salts which is remarkably
heavy (total weight 500 grams/ 18 oz.).
The elephant heads must be solid silver. It seems that the
inside of the ears was once enamelled (traces of enamel visible
on some of the heads).
Once again just a guess about their origin because they also
aren't marked. For the same reasons given for the sprinkler, I'd
guess Lucknow and circa 1880/1900.
I conclude with an English spoon with a subject of South African Colonial
The silver gilt spoon is hallmarked Birmingham 1906 and
commemorates the Orange River Colony which existed from after
the end of the Boer War (also known as the South African War) in
1902 until the creation of the Union of South Africa in 1910.
- 2012 -