Chester Silver Donated to the Grosvenor Museum

12 June 2017

Six pieces of 18th and 19th-century Chester-hallmarked silver have been generously donated to the city’s Grosvenor Museum.

Councillor Louise Gittins, Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Wellbeing, said:  “We are very grateful to Mr Stagg for his generous donation of this silver.  They are really lovely pieces, which make a most welcome addition to the permanent display of our nationally important silver collection.  I am confident that they will delight specialist and non-specialist visitors alike.” The photograph shows Councillor Gittins and Mr Stagg holding a cream jug and sugar bowl, which were made by John Lowe I and hallmarked at Chester in 1856.  The base of the cream jug is inset with a 1687 groat (four pence) of King James II, and the sugar bowl with a 1711 shilling (twelve pence) of Queen Anne.  Like much 19th-century silver, these pieces revive the style of an earlier period.  They are chased with alternate spiral fluting and gadrooning, a form of decoration popular in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

The other 19th-century pieces in the donation are a pair of salt cellars, made by John Foulkes Lowe and hallmarked at Chester in 1878.  Cauldron-shaped salt cellars with hoof feet were introduced to Britain in the 1730s, and held salt for individual use at the dinner table.  Their chased decoration of scrolls and flowers is in the mid-18th century Rococo style, which was revived in the 19th century and became very popular for silver.

The most elaborate of Mr Stagg’s gifts is a tumbler cup, made by Richard Richardson II and hallmarked at Chester in 1764.  It was re-fashioned as a christening cup in the 19th century, when the serpent-entwined handle was added and the body was chased in the Rococo style with scrolls and flowers.  In contrast, the simplest piece is a skewer, made by Joseph Walley of Liverpool and hallmarked at Chester in 1776.  It has a cast shell and ring terminal, the ring providing a good grip when withdrawing the skewer from meat and enabling it to be hung on a hook.

Mr Stagg said:  “I have long admired the superb collection of silver in the Ridgway Gallery at the Grosvenor Museum.  I am delighted to donate these pieces, knowing that they will be displayed in such a distinguished context, where they will be seen and enjoyed by so many people.”   

The Grosvenor Museum is open Monday – Saturday 10.30am-5pm and Sunday 1pm-4pm, admission free, donations welcome.  

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