Hester Bateman

Perhaps more than any other, Hester Bateman is the silversmith who has managed to touch the hearts of successive generations of silver collectors. The considerable success she enjoyed in her lifetime can be attributed to keen business instincts, but her posthumous achievements are even greater and their reasons are more complicated, although, no doubt the most important of these is her unusual status as a superb lady silversmith in an industry dominated by men.

Hester Bateman is without doubt the most popular and renowned of all women silversmiths. Yet Hester's career as a silversmith was never intended. Widowed at the age of 51, she inherited her husband's small workshop practice and for the next thirty years, this unlikely shrewd business woman, grew the workshop into a thriving silver manufacturing firm.

Hester Bateman was born in 1704 in Clerkenwell, London (England), and married John Bateman (a goldsmith) in about 1725. They had six children; John, Letticia, Ann, Peter, William, and Jonathan. The family lived at 107 Bunhill Row in the Parish of St. Luke in North London for more than a century. John and Hester purchased the houses on both sides of theirs, and two of the children occupied those homes in later years.

Although his sons Peter & Jonathan were both doing their silversmithing apprenticeships, when John Bateman died in 1760, he bequeathed all his tools to Hester suggesting that she was already an accomplished silversmith. However, even with the skills of the trade, Hester had no small task ahead of her to continue the business. In these times, women-owned businesses were generally not accepted, and the industry was highly competitive. Unperturbed, Hester registered her mark of a scroll HB at Goldsmiths Hall in 1761 and aided by her son's Peter and Jonathan along with Jonathan's wife, Ann, the business boomed.

In 1790, Hester finally retired at the grand old age of 81. Sadly, the following year her son Jonathan died, leaving Peter without his two long term partners. He turned immediately to his sister in law Ann, making her a partner in the business and registering their joint mark in 1791. From then Ann became the driving force in the business until her retirement in 1805. In 1800, Jonathan and Ann's son, William, became a partner in the family business, completing possibly the most famous of all silversmithing dynasties.

Unlike most silversmiths who specialised in just one area of production, the Batemans were masters of many, producing fine wares right across the board. The main reason for their success was due to Hester's attention to design, detail and quality. All the pieces that left the workshop would be inspected to the highest standard and with this attitude the business grew. Many pieces of Hester Bateman's silver show identifying characteristics such as bead detailed edges and fine designs of bright-cut engraving. They received many commissions from The City Guilds, various religious establishments, and private individuals.

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b0974: George III Sterling Silver Cream Jug

 Hallmarked in London, 1786 by Hester Bateman, this handsome, Antique, Sterling Silver Cream Jug, features a scalloped border, an acanthus detailed scroll handle, and a pedestal foot. The cream jug measures 5 inches (12.5cm) tall, by 3.5 inches (9cm) from handle to spout, and weighs 2.5 troy ounces.

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£975

j1691: George III Sterling Silver Pepper Pot

 Hallmarked in London, 1781 by Hester Bateman, this very handsome, George III, antique silver pepper pot, features a pedestal foot, with engraved banding, and a pierced and engraved removable lid. The pepper pot measures 6 inches (15cm) tall.

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£1,175

j7345: George III Sterling Silver Pepper Pot

 Hallmarked in London, 1788 by Hester Bateman, this stylish, George III, Antique, Sterling Silver Pepper Pot features reed borders, and engraved decoration to the lid. The pepper pot measures 5.5 inches (14cm) tall, by 2.25 inches (5.5cm) in diameter, and weighs 2.6 troy ounces.

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£1,245

b4647: George III Sterling Silver Cream Jug

 Hallmarked in London, 1790 by Hester Bateman, this attractive, George III, Antique, Sterling Silver Cream Jug, is 'helmet' shaped, standing on a square pedestal foot, and featuring engraved decoration, a loop handle, and bead borders. The cream jug measures 6.25 inches (16cm) tall, by 4.25 inches (11cm) from handle to lip, and weighs 4 troy ounces.

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£1,245

b0916: George III Sterling Silver Salvers

 Hallmarked in London in 1789 by Hester Bateman, this Antique, George III, Sterling Silver Salver or Teapot Stand is plain oval in shape with a reeded border and four reeded feet. The Teapot stand is 6.75 inches (17cm) long, 4.75 inches (12cm) wide, 1 inch (2.5cm) tall and weighs 4 troy oz.

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£1,275

j9788: George III Sterling Silver Sugar Basket

 Hallmarked in London, 1778 by Hester Bateman, this very attractive, George III, Antique, Sterling Silver Sugar Basket, features pierced decoration to the body and foot, a blue glass liner, and bead borders around the foot, rim and swing handle. The sugar basket measures 4 inches (10cm) tall, by 3.25 inches (8.5cm) in diameter.

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£1,475

sold!
2017-02-02

b4951: George III Sterling Silver Brandy Saucepan

 Hallmarked in London, 1785 by Hester Bateman, this handsome, George III, Antique, Sterling Silver Brandy Saucepan, is plain in style, featuring reed borders, and a wooden handle. The brandy saucepan measures 6.5 inches (16.5cm) tall, by 8.25 inches (21cm) from handle to side, and weighs 6.3 troy ounces.

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£1,495

b1934: George III Sterling Silver Sugar Baskets

 Hallmarked in London, 1778 by Hester Bateman, this very pretty Antique, George III, Sterling Silver swing handled Sugar Basket, features pierced slat work, bright cut engraved swags and wriggle work, and a beaded border and handle. It is a lovely example of Hester Bateman's work. The basket measures 8cm (3 inches) in diameter and 16cm (6.25 inches) in height including the handle. Without the glass it weighs 3.5 troy ozs.

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£1,575

sold!
2017-02-16

j8596: George III Sterling Silver Porringer

 Hallmarked in London, 1780 by Hester Bateman, this very handsome, Sterling Silver porringer, is very plain in style, featuring reed bordered loop handles, and reed detailing around the foot and rim. The porringer measures 4.25 inches (11cm) tall, by 6.75 inches (17.5cm) from handle to handle, and weighs 8.5 troy ounces.

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£1,675

b1828: George III Sterling Silver Trophy

 Hallmarked in London, 1787 by Hester Bateman, this handsome, George III, Antique, Sterling Silver Trophy, is plain in style, featuring reed borders and two handles. The trophy measures 5.5 inches (14cm) tall, by 7.25 inches (18.5cm) from handle to handle, and weighs 10.7 troy ounces.

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£1,675

b4838: George III Sterling Silver Goblet

 Hallmarked in London, 1787 by Hester Bateman, this delightful, George III, Antique, Sterling Silver Goblet, features bead borders around the foot and stem, and is otherwise plain in style. The goblet measures 7 inches (17.5cm) tall, by 3.5 inches (9cm) in diameter, and weighs 8.5 troy ounces.

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£1,675

b5014: George III Sterling Silver Mug

 Hallmarked in London, 1787 by Hester Bateman, this very handsome, George III, Antique, Sterling Silver Mug, is baluster shaped, and features an acanthus detailed scroll handle, and reed borders. The mug measures 4.75 inches (12cm) tall, by 4.75 inches (12cm) from handle to side, and weighs 10.7 troy ounces.

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£1,675

b6949: George III Sterling Silver Baskets

 Hallmarked in London in 1777 by Hester Bateman, this Antique, George III, Sterling Silver Basket has beaded borders and piercing so typical of her work. The sweetmeat basket is 6 inches (15cm) long, 4.75 inches (12cm) wide, 4.75 inches (12cm) high to the top of the handle and weighs 4 troy oz (120gms). It is in very fine, original condition.

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£1,675

b2953: George III Sterling Silver Sweet Meat Basket

 Hallmarked in London, 1784 by Hester Bateman, this very attractive, George III, Antique, Sterling Silver Sweet Meat Basket, features pierced and engraved decoration to the sides and foot and bead borders around the foot, lip and swing handle. The basket measures 1.5 inches (4cm) tall with the handle down (4.75 inches (12cm) with the handle up), by 6.75 inches (17cm) wide, by 4.25 inches (11cm) from handle to handle, and weighs 4.1 troy ounces.

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£1,695

b4826: George III Sterling Silver Set Of Four Salt Cellars

 Hallmarked in London, 1785 by Hester Bateman, this stylish, George III, Antique, Sterling Silver Set of four Salt Cellars, feature ball and claw feet, pierced and engraved detailing to the sides, bead borders, and blue glass liners. Each salt cellar measures 2 inches (5cm) tall, by 3.5 inches (9cm) wide.

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£1,875

b7716: George III Sterling Silver Mugs

 Hallmarked in London in 1779 by Hester Bateman, this Antique, George III, Sterling Silver Mug has a scroll handle with acanthus detailing. The mug is in excellent condition, is 5 inches (13cm) over the handle, has a diameter of 3.5 inches (9cm), is 5.5 inches (14cm) high and weighs 13 troy oz (405gm).

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£1,975

b4391: George III Sterling Silver Mug

 Hallmarked in London, 1785 by Hester Bateman, this handsome, George III, Antique, Sterling Silver Mug, is baluster shaped, and features an acanthus decorated C Scroll handle. The mug measures 5.5 inches (14cm) tall, by 5 inches (13cm) from handle to side, and weighs 12.9 troy ounces.

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£2,175

j7574: George III Sterling Silver Teapot

 Hallmarked in London, 1781 by Hester Bateman, this wonderful, George III, antique silver teapot, features brightcut engraved decoration and an engraved crest, bead borders and a wooden handle and finial. The teapot measures 5.25 inches (13.5cm) tall, by 9.5 inches (24cm) from handle to spout.

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£2,975

b6718: George III Sterling Silver Dish Cross

 Hallmarked in London in 1782 by Hester Bateman, this Antique, George III, Sterling Silver Dish Cross was used as a support and heating mechanism for a variety of table items such as entree dishes or meat plates. The dish cross adjusts to fit any item put upon it, at its most open it is 11 inches (28cm) square, 4 inches (12cm) tall and weighs 15 troy oz (460gm). The Hester Bateman mark is very clear.

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£2,975

b2863: George III Sterling Silver Wine Coasters

 Hallmarked in London in 1787 by Hester Bateman, this Antique, Sterling Silver, George III, Pair of Wine Coasters are pierced and have bead borders. Each coaster is 5 inches (12.5cm) diameter and 1.75 inches (4cm) high.

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£4,275

j5982: George III Sterling Silver Tea Caddy

 Hallmarked in London, 1784 by Hester Bateman, this fine quality, oval, antique George III, Sterling Silver tea caddy measures 5" (12.5cm) long, 3.5" (8.5cm) deep and is 5" (12.5cm) high. The tea caddy bears an incuse duty mark, is clearly hallmarked on the base and the lid and weighs 12 troy ounces.

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£4,975

b5981: George III Sterling Silver Coffee Pots

 Hallmarked in London in 1781 by Hester Bateman, this Antique, George III, Sterling Silver Coffee Pot is so typical of the style made by Hester Bateman, probably England's most famous lady silversmith. The coffee pot has beaded decoration with a little acanthus detailing on the spout. It is 12 inches (30.5cm) high, 8 inches (20.5cm) from handle to spout and weighs 25 troy oz.

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£4,975

j6297: George III Sterling Silver Tankard

 Hallmarked in London, 1790 by Hester Bateman, this handsome, George III, antique silver tankard, stands on a pedestal foot, and feartures a domed lid, cast and applied thumb piece, and engraved coat of arms. The tankard measures 8.5 inches (21.5cm) tall, by 6.5 inches (16.5cm) from handle to lip.

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£5,475

j7767: George III Sterling Silver Tea Caddy

 Hallmarked in London, 1785 by Hester Bateman, this wonderful, George III, antique silver tea caddy, is oval in shape, and features bands of engraved detailing, the original key, and a pineapple finial. The tea caddy measures 5.5 inches (14cm) tall, by 5 inches (12.5cm) wide, by 3.5 inches (9cm) deep.

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£5,675

j7667: George III Sterling Silver Pair Of Wine Coasters

 Hallmarked in London, 1787 by Hester Bateman, this very attractive, George III, antique silver pair of wine coasters, feature engraved and pierced decoration, wooden bases, and delicate bead borders. Each wine coaster measures 1.75 inches (4.5cm) tall, by 4.75 inches (12cm) in diameter.

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£5,765

j7359: George III Sterling Silver Pierced Basket

 Hallmarked in London in 1786 by Hester Bateman, this superb condition George III antique Sterling Silver pierced basket has beaded borders so typical of Hester Bateman's work and the most beautiful brightcut engraving and piercing. The basket is 13" (33cm) long, 9" (23cm) wide, 10" (25cm) high to the top of the handle and weighs 21 troy oz. It is without doubt one of the best examples of a Hester Bateman basket we have ever been fortunate enough to own.

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£8,475

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