Queen Anne porringer by Francis Batty II of Newcastle, £4600 at Mallams Oxford.

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However, a town mark, expressed by one or three castles, was not introduced until the 17th century and it was only in 1702 that an official assay office with a date lettering system was opened. It functioned until 1884.

A 4.5oz Queen Anne porringer offered by Mallams (25% buyer’s premium) in Oxford as part of a Jewellery, Watches and Silver Sale on November 15-16 carried Newcastle marks from the embryonic years of the town’s assay office.

Made in the Britannia standard silver demanded between 1697-1720, it was struck for 1712 and Francis Batty II (c.1680-1728), one of the most prominent silversmiths operating in Newcastle in this period and the workshop where the prolific Georgian maker Issac Cookson learned his craft.


Queen Anne porringer by Francis Batty II of Newcastle (detail of markings shown), £4600 at Mallams Oxford.

The fluted and punched decoration was accompanied by the near contemporary inscription Given by the Hunters Clubb Cock:m [Cockermouth] 8br [October] 4th 1723 and the armorial of a hound on the scent.

A reference to one of the famous fell packs that were once an integral part of the Lakeland scene, it was doubtless part of the reason it sailed past a modest £600-800 guide to sell online for £4600.

Gift from Forsters

In October 2020 Chiswick Auctions sold a late 17th century porringer bearing the Newcastle town mark and the initials of the short-lived Tyneside silversmith Abraham Hamer that again carried an early presentation inscription The Gift of Thomas and Susannah Forster. It made £6500.