Heraldic Silver for the Hughes family of Kinmel
Some of the finest pieces of English silver ever produced were part of special commissions made by Royalty and the aristocracy. During the nineteenth century, firms such as Rundell, Bridge and Rundell, Garrard's and Hunt & Roskell were patronised by King George IV and Queen Victoria, which led to their services being in high demand amongst wealthy clients.
Vast dining services were produced which consisted of table centrepieces, wine coolers, soup tureens, epergnes, serving and warming dishes, dozens of plates of varying sizes, not to mention flatware by the hundred. The finest of households would also commission each piece to be adorned and emblazoned with their family crest or coat of arms.
Perhaps the greatest exponent of the best silver of the period was Paul Storr. Storr is regarded by many as the greatest English goldsmith of the nineteenth century and assisting him was his nephew John Samuel Hunt. John Hunt worked with Storr during the multiple iterations of his firm of manufacturing and retail jewellers and silversmiths, starting with Storr & Co. and then Storr & Mortimer. Upon Storr's retirement in 1838, his business partner John Mortimer entered in to partnership with John Samuel Hunt to form Mortimer & Hunt. Upon Mortimer's death, Hunt & Roskell was established in 1843.
This very fine Victorian meat skewer is an example of a piece of silver which once comprised part of a fine dining service. It was produced by John Samuel Hunt of Hunt & Roskell and is hallmarked for London, 1853. Meat skewers of this period are usually found with simple ring terminals, however this example has an armorial finial of a demi-lion rampant, rising out of a Baron's coronet.
It was possibly commissioned by Hugh Robert Hughes the younger (known as 'HRH') of Kinmel Estate, likely on the occasion of his marriage to Florentia Liddell, daughter of Henry Thomas, 2nd lord Ravensworth in 1853.
Meat skewers of this period do not come much better than this example, which is perhaps fitting when one considers its provenance, the prestigious firm from which it was manufactured and the quality their discerning clientele decreed.