Silversmiths who kept greatness in the family WriteAntiques.com aims to introduce folks to the joys of collecting. It is authored by Christopher Proudlove, who has been writing about antiques and auctions since 1979.
This week: Huguenot silver
News-Antique.com - Nov 30,-0001 - Fortunately for my bank manager, I don't collect silver. If I did, the chance of finding - let alone affording - something made by Huguenot silversmith Paul de Lamerie (1688-1751) is remote.
So then, what are the chances of finding a piece by Peter Platel, the man who taught him? I thought they were pretty slim, but I was wrong.
Platel was also a Huguenot and had probably also been apprenticed in London. He registered his mark at Goldsmiths' Hall in 1699. De Lamerie probably lived with Platel and in addition to teaching the boy the technical skills of silversmithing, the Master also gave him the hand of one of his daughters in marriage.
Platel died in 1719 and De Lamerie no doubt took over his workshop and his clients. He became a Freeman in 1712 and registered his mark the same year.
By way of illustrating the kind of money pieces by de Lamerie fetch today, in April last year, a George II silver-gilt cream boat with London hallmarks for 1736 and weighing 230 grams, a smidgen over 7 ounces, and measuring just 4 1/2 inches sold at Sotheby's in New York for $57,000.
This is somewhat out of my reach. However by chance, I came across the pretty little George I silver sugar caster, illustrated here, hallmarked for London 1718. Estimated at £700 to £900, it sold for £7,500. To find out why, go to www.writeantiques.com.