Silver Napkin Ring - Hester Bateman Style
A sterling silver, bead edged napkin ring or serviette ring with a bright cut engraving in the style of England's lady silversmith Hester Bateman, engraved by Mike Keane, probably the best hand engraver in England today.
A wow for any dinner party and a must for both the fine diner and the casual diner. These pretty sterling silver napkin rings or serviette rings look superb with a linen napkin of any colour and will be a talking point. They are probably the first silver item for anyone beginning to collect silver. The look is in keeping with classic interiors and will also complement contemporary styles.
A nice item for a couple who enjoys home dining and wants to spoil themselves with the excuse of a present for each other. A wedding present, a silver wedding present or a birthday present. Also an impressive retirement present or incentive gift.
Napkin rings date from medieval times, although it was not until the 19th century that sterling silver napkin rings were used in the present form. Many sets have become separated and often change hands for Christening presents.
Hester Bateman married her husband, a wire drawer, in the church at Clerkenwell, London. They were in business together making rather delicate designs in the anglicized Huguenot style in the London street called Bunhill Row. A neighbour of theirs at the time was the Sun Insurance Company. Most people with some knowledge of silver will know of Hester Bateman, one of the most well known English Silversmiths. Her works always make the top prices at auction. Her two sons and daughter also became silversmiths trading as Peter and Anne Bateman and Peter and Johnathon Bateman. Many forgeries of their works exist.
The manufacturing process is described below by Master Silversmith John Campbell.
These napkin rings are made in 3 components. Number 1, the main body, starts life as a long piece of sheet which is bent round to form a ring. The joint is then made using enamelling silver solder. After soldering, the joint is dressed and the ring polished. Next, 2 lengths of bead wire(produced by passing a rectangular section of sterling silver wire through a pair of rollers, one of which has the bead pattern) are cut and bent round, soldered, this time using 'hard ' silver solder. They are then both stretched up a tapered mandrill until they fit component 1. The whole unit is now ready for the final soldering of bead wire rings to the main ring body, this time using 'easy' silver solder so as not to re-melt the previous soldering. After careful inspection and 'pickling', the ring is finished on both ends until smooth. Next follows another polish and a trip to the engravers to apply the decoration.
This is a fascinating process to watch and forms part of the silversmith's initial training. It is done by drawing the design onto the silver and using tiny chisel like tools with a mushroom shaped wooden handle which sits in the palm of the engravers hand. This tool is called a 'graver', most engravers like to make their own 'gravers'
After returning to the silversmith's workshop the 'makers punch' is applied, in this case a triangular shape with the letters JAC. These are the initials of the founder John Archibald Campbell. The items are then taken to the London Assay Office housed in Goldsmiths Hall in London where each component is tested (assayed) and providing the metal is better than 925 parts out of 1000 (no minute tolerance allowed) then the remaining hallmarks are punched into the surface. This is one of the earliest forms of consumer protection as (unlike some countries) the silversmith has no influence on the hallmarking process.Returning to the silversmith's workshop for the last time the item is finally polished, cleaned and inspected before being packed into presentation boxes.
In the unlikely event of damage, JA Campbell provide a full repair service. You can be assured that all our products are made up to a standard, not down to a price. Nothing leaves the Brentwood workshop until Master Silversmith John Campbell is completely satisfied.
Enjoy now and pass to future generations.