In the year 1740, when Frederick of Prussia seized the rich country of Silesia, young 원주치과 Oliver Goldsmith sat at the feet of his schoolmaster, that old soldier of fortune, Thomas Byrne, who had served with our army in Spain. He listened to “the exploits of Peterborough and Stanhope, the surprise of Monjuich, and the glorious disaster of Brihuega,” and he lent an ear to the stories of “the great Rapparee chiefs, Baldearg O’Donnell and galloping Hogan.” At fifteen he entered Trinity College, Dublin, as a poor scholar. To-day he rests on College Green, one of Ireland’s proud monuments. At this date the silversmith was doing great things; the Metropolitan Museum at New York has a fine centre-piece of these far-off days. It will be seen in the illustration (p. 335) to what refinement the art of the Dublin silversmith had attained. The maker is Robert Calderwood, and in such a specimen claims recognition for craftsmanship of a very high order. His mark is R. C. with a small crown between the letters, and his work is always prized by collectors.

A cream-jug, made by John Hamilton, of Dublin about the same date (illustrated p. 339), may be compared, to the advantage of the Irish craftsmen, with work of the same period wrought in England or Scotland. There is a suggestion in the handle of the old harp design of the loving-cup, but the rich chasing and exquisite ornamentation of the body exhibit the finest touches of the silversmith’s art.

On the same page a fine cream-jug made by Jonathan Buck of Cork, in 1764, is illustrated, and the marks are given on page 409. It is minutely{342} signed in full under the lip, “Jonathan Buck, 1764.” The mark has a buck in a shield. The handle in this piece still lovingly adheres to the harp form, delightfully adapted to this graceful vessel. We may conjecture that this was a wedding gift to some bride, as the figures of the goddess Venus and Cupid are in fine relief. Such an example is unique with its elaborate chased and repoussé work.

The cream-pail (illustrated p. 343) is of Dublin make, about 1770. There is strong classic influence. The drapery, the medallion rosette, and the key pattern of the incised work, all tell of the prevailing fashion. It is as classic as the doorways on the Quays at Dublin. But there is a robustness in Irish classicism which establishes it as something not merely copied as a prevailing fashion but embodied in the handiwork of the craftsman. Perhaps the Latinity of the old faith imparted a cosmopolitan kinship to the metal-workers and carvers and art craftsmen of Ireland. They always realized to the full continental fashions when the wave of importation reached their shores. The delights of Gallic or Italian artists became at once acclimatized.

The potato ring or dish stand is a form of Irish silver not made elsewhere. They were rings of metal upon which old Oriental bowls were placed to prevent the hot vessel injuring the polished surface of the mahogany table. They were possibly used later to support wooden bowls for holding potatoes. Genuine Irish examples are always circular. They belong to the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Bowl and dish were synonymous terms in those days,{345} hence they are sometimes called “Dish Rings.” There are three types: (1) The plain pierced. (2) Pierced work, ornamented with flowers and birds and pastoral scenes. (3) Basket work formed of round wire twisted, or flat square wire strips interlaced.
On the cover of this volume is illustrated an example of a typical Irish dish ring, kindly lent by Messrs. Carrington & Co. [Transcriber's Note: This illustration did not appear on the cover of this edition.] This is in date about 1760, the last year of the reign of George II. The maker is Robert Calderwood. It is representative of the pierced type, having exquisite chased work with birds and flowers. Such pieces are only found, as a rule, in well-known private collections or on the shelves of museum cases. The year before it was fashioned in Dublin, General Wolfe had captured Quebec, and in September 1760 Montreal had capitulated, completing the conquest of Canada.

The following Makers’ Marks will be of interest to those possessing old Irish silver as of use in determining dates of Dublin silver; and specimens bearing these initials are to be seen in the Dublin Museum:—

1655, D. B. (Daniel Bellingham); 1657, I. S. (John Slicer); 1680, W. L. (Walter Lewis); 1715, J. T. (John Tuite); 1716, J. W. (Joseph Walker); 1717, I. H. (John Hamilton); 1724, M. W. (Matthew Walker); 1725, I. S. (John Sterne); 1743, R. H. (Robert Holmes); 1748, W. W. (William Williamson); 1748, W. K. (William Knox); 1750, C. S. (Christopher Skinner); 1760, G. B. (George Beere); 1763, I. L. (John Laughlin); 1765, S. W. (Stephen Walsh); 1765, W. T. (W. Townshend); 1770, D. K. (Darby{346} Kehoe); 1771, C. H. (Capel Harrison); 1772, T. L. (Thomas Lilly); 1773, C. T. (Charles Townshend); 1775, T. J. (Thomas Jones); 1776, R. W. (Robert Williams); 1780, I. N. (John Nicklin); 1790, W. L. (William Law); 1802, R. B. (Robert Breading); 1819, I. L. B. (James le Bas).
Roman Capital Letters are used at this period. The lion and leopard’s head are in a stamp following the outline, a practice which continued till 1678. From 1716 to 1735, in the reign of George I, a similar alphabet was used with shields of the same shape; but the first four years have the figure of Britannia and lion’s head erased, the Higher Standard Mark. In 1720 the lion and leopard’s head with a new shape of shield clearly indicate the difference.
The next alphabet used at the London Assay Office for annual date letters is of a peculiar type known as the Court Hand. Most of the letters are of a character which has not survived in modern usage and they are of a form dissimilar to any other. This Court Hand was employed from the year 1638 to 1657, that is during the latter half of the reign of Charles I and during the Commonwealth up to 1657.

This series of characters was again used from 1696 to 1715, that is to say during six years of the reign of William III, the whole of the reign of Queen Anne, and for the first two years of George I.

Two very important periods are thus covered by these two Court Hand alphabets. It should not be difficult to avoid confusing the one period with the other, as there are other factors which determine which is the latter series. The leopard’s head and the lion are, from 1697 to 1720, replaced by the figure of Britannia and the lion’s head erased.

The illustration of both series of Court Hand letters on pages 351 and 353 will enable readers to identify them more readily.

The examples illustrated on page 365 are, in conjunction with the maker’s mark, the leopard’s head, and the lion passant, for the period 1638 to 1657.

A comparison may be made with the later Court Hand characters, where examples will be found illustrated on page 373.
Among the difficulties presented by this Court Hand, the following letters are likely to give trouble in identification owing to their similarity in shape, which becomes more pronounced when the letters are worn and the details slightly obliterated. The a (1638) may be mistaken for the i (1646); the b (1639) is not unlike the letter h (1645); and the k (1647) resembles the letter b (1639), which with its peculiar form, when worn, is only distinguishable by the bar across the centre. A worn letter d (1641) is apt to resemble an s (1655).

In examining the letters under a glass, care should be taken to see that they are not upside down, as in some instances they often resemble others. The shape of the shield is usually clearly enough defined to show the pointed base.

Although these letters are so extremely puzzling, especially to beginners, it should be borne in mind in comparison with the similar Court Hand alphabet which was used later from 1696 to 1715, that the date marks are only confirmatory. In the later series there is the difference in the omission of the lion passant and the leopard’s head, replaced by the figure of Britannia and the lion’s head erased. But the character of the silver itself tells its own story in cases where date marks and standard marks happen to be wholly obliterated. A piece of Queen Anne plate differs so essentially in style from a pi