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A crisp George II Taperstick by James Morison silversmith and ‘French plate’ worker..

James Morison.
A late George II silver Taperstick, the shaped square base ornamented with four shells, the baluster column rising to a four shell knop below a waisted socket with gadroon decoration. Marked underneath, the detachable nozzle unmarked.

This maker, who was largely a maker of salvers and waiters, but also produced a range of other articles, including eagle terminal Sauce ladles, is of particular interest because he was a maker of ‘French plate’ – i.e. silvered brass articles using the technique of silvering with silver leaf [see my Research tab for articles of John Christian and Josiah Daniel]. His career as a silversmith seems to span the years 1744 to 1759 as noted on extant pieces but he had first registered a mark in 1740 giving the Old Bailey as his address, although there is no record of him there in the land tax registers. Evidence is scanty but it seems clear that he ran the salver and waiter making part of Hugh Mill’s business from the late part of November 1744 for about a year: Hugh Mills also had a brass sieve-making business and Morison is to be found in the land tax registers in Caroline Court, Saffron Hill during that period. Thereafter he moved away and it will be noted that Hugh Mills entered another mark for himself in 1746 at that address. Richard Rugg took over salver and waiter making for Mills [again at Caroline Court] from 1748 until 1754 [Rugg then moved to Clerkenwell and entered a mark on his own account]. The fact that the name ‘Morison‘ is quite common renders research into his life and work more difficult. It is not yet clear whether he was connected to the James and Richard Morrison who were free of the Goldsmiths’ Company later in the century.

It can be seen from the juxtaposed image of the maker’s mark on this taperstick and that noted on a silver brass ‘French plate’ salver that Morison struck a very similar mark on his brass and on his silver. In this comparison there is one indent above the script ‘M’ which is not present on the silver taperstick.

SKU: O5379 Category:



Very good with a knock to one edge at the top.


Height – 13.10 cm.; Width – 7.60 cm.; Depth – 7.60 cm.; Weight – 159.40 gms.

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