Hester Bateman

(1708—1794) silversmith

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(b London, bapt 7 Oct 1708; d London, 16 Sept 1794). English goldsmith. She married John Bateman (c. 1704-60), a gold chainmaker, in 1732. She entered the first of her nine marks in 1761, after her husband's death, revealing the paucity of her formal education by an inability to sign her name on the goldsmiths’ register. From 1760 to 1790 she presided over a flourishing business at 107 Bunhill Row, London. From c. 1761 to 1774 the majority of silver produced in the Bateman workshop was commissioned by other silversmiths and consequently was often over-stamped. A large and varied output of Bateman-marked domestic silver dating from the late 1770s and the 1780s survives, including flatware (e.g. pierced and engraved fish slice, 1783-4; Colonial Williamsburg, VA), salvers, cruet frames, jugs, salts, tankards and tea and coffee equipage, as well as civic and church plate, for example a communion cup (1786; London, St Paul's, Covent Garden). Simplicity of design and extensive use of thin-gauge silver (e.g. bread basket, 1788; Washington, DC, N. Mus. Women A.), factory-made silver components and such machine processes as punching and piercing ensured a large and rapid turnover of low-priced silverware and helped meet the competition from Sheffield plate. Bateman silver is characterized by its graceful forms and by the use of bright cutting and piercing in foliage, festoon, medallion, and diaper patterns, edges of minute beading and urn finials.


From The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.

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