Limerick ‘hook end’ soup ladle by Samuel Johns – £2500 at Chiswick Auctions.

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A rare Irish provincial silver ladle with a current scrap value of around £80 sold for £2500 at Chiswick Auctions (25% buyer’s premium) on October 19.

The London sale included a 6oz ‘hook end’ soup ladle with a scalloped and chased shell bowl made c.1760 by the Limerick silversmith Samuel Johns. He worked in the city from c.1756-95 using the maker mark of his initials SJ flanking a lion rampant.


Limerick ‘hook end’ soup ladle by Samuel Johns (detail) – £2500 at Chiswick Auctions.

Chiswick Auctions’ silver specialist John Rogers explained the special allure of Irish Georgian silver made outside Dublin: “Irish provincial silver is a well sought-after field. Dublin is the usual, Cork is scarce, then there is a big jump in rarity for Limerick items. Thereafter silver made in Galway, Youghal and Kinsale is so unbelievably rare it is almost mythical.”

Family of silversmiths


Norwich trefid spoon by Arthur Haslewood II – £3800 at Chiswick Auctions.

An example of Norwich silver – a trefid spoon made in the city during the reign of Charles II – took £3800.

Initialled and dated 1676 to the terminal, it had the Norwich town mark (a castle on lion) and the maker’s mark for Arthur Haslewood II, a member of the Haslewood family of silversmiths that prospered for three generations from c.1625-1740.

Arthur Haselwood II was the husband of Elizabeth Haselwood (1644-1715), who is today celebrated as the only woman silversmith known to have worked in Norwich. She proved successful in a male-dominated trade, taking over the workshop on Arthur’s death in 1684 and continuing to trade under her own name well into the 18th century.

She and her husband are buried in the same tomb in St Andrew’s Church, Norwich.