The 1858 Geelong presentation cup for Henry Cotton , by George Angell 1857

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The 1858 Geelong ‘Bank of New South Wales’ presentation cup, presented to the manager Henry Cotton on occasion of his retirement, October 1858.

By George Angell, London, hallmarked for 1857

some minor marks & signs of age

19cm high, around 14oz silver

 

This fascinating piece of local Australian history was recently rescued from ‘scrap’ in the USA.

Pieces by the Angell family of silversmiths in London turn up regularly in Australia, with Australian-context inscriptions. Inscriptions reveal they were presented as prizes for various sporting events and presentation pieces for commemorating events, showing the demand in the new colony for luxury silver pieces. Angell was a major manufacturer of silver, and those merchants seeking items for the colony would therefore have often sourced from his London stock. What is fascinating with this example is the dating – made in London after June 1857, it made its way to Geelong and was presented in October the following year. This shows the demand there must have been for such items – no sitting on the shelf waiting for a customer, it was engraved and dispatched pretty quickly!

John Hawkins (19th century Australian Silver vol.1) identifies the Melbourne silversmith William Edwards as one such source of English/Australian silver:

“A considerable number of English presentation silver cups exist bearing London hallmarks for the years 1856-62. They bear Australian inscriptions and dates indicating that Edwards bought with him an initial stock of English presentation cups and continued to import until he had established a colonial manufacturing business. These presentations were suitably embossed and engraved….”

The pieces that arrived in Australia were plain forms, with their London hallmarks. In Edwards’ Melbourne workshop, they were then embossed – some with Australian motifs such as kangaroos – and engraved according to the commissions coming in. Hawkins identifies a craftsman by the name of Robottom, an exhibitor of ‘chased-work raised by hand’ in the 1866 Melbourne Exhibition as being the most likely artisan.

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