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Celebrated & Highly Sought After 18th Century London Female Silversmith Hester Bateman.

Updated on November 22, 2014
Antique Hester Bateman Sterling Silver Sauce Boat 1777
Antique Hester Bateman Sterling Silver Sauce Boat 1777

Hester Bateman - A Successful Woman in a Man's World

Hester Bateman was a highly skilled female silversmith who managed to achieve great success in an industry heavily dominated by men and despite the widespread opposition to women in most occupations and trades of the time.

Hester married an already established silversmith called John Bateman, who was also an accomplished craftsman who specialised in manufacturing silver watch chains. John died in 1760. It is widely believed that Hester was taught the silversmith business by John at the same time that she was bringing up their children and looking after her family – this was quite an achievement at a time when there were no domestic appliances as we know them now and other household aids were almost non-existent.

Following her husband's untimely death, Hester Bateman took over the running of the silversmiths business that her husband had started and inherited all of his tools and equipment. From that point, until the mid-1770’s, she concentrated primarily on the production of silversmith work that had been commissioned by other silversmiths and consequently, she had no time for producing original items under her own name. Because of this, most of her production during this period did not bear her hallmark. She had registered her mark in 1761 and in many cases Hester would identify the pieces she made on commission for other craftsmen but all too often they would overstamp her mark with their own thereby making it difficult to conclusively identify the piece as being the work of Hester Bateman.

A Change Of Direction For Hester Bateman

In the latter half of the 1770s, however, a change of direction for Hester Bateman and her family business was to take place. Finally, People had started to notice Hester's work and Hester Bateman silverware was beginning to become sought after and desirable in its own right, in particular the kind of items which she specialised in. These items included popular silver tableware pieces such as Sauce Boats, Silver Teapots, Drinking Mugs, Milk Jugs, Sugar Bowls, Spoons & Salt Cellars.

Hester and her husband John had a total of 6 children, their names being; John, Letticia, Ann, Peter, William, & Jonathan and some of them followed Hester into the family Silversmith trade and became well-known as silversmiths in their own right.

As the business continued to flourish under Hester’s skillful guidance, the family were able to employ many more silversmiths to work at their workshops located in Bunhill Row which is situated in North London. The Bateman family also lived at that location, which is now at the centre of London's digital and IT industries, being close to the so-called, "Silicon Roundabout"..

The End Of An Era - And A New Beginning

After a long and hard-working life, Hester Bateman eventually decided to retire in 1791. Her retirement was short-lived however and she passed away just 3 years later in 1794. Several of the Bateman family members however, including sons John, Peter, William and Jonathan, continued to work in the business and became well respected as skillful silversmiths in their own right. They continued for quite some time in continuing the Bateman Silverware Business long after Hester's death.

It has been estimated that, during their active period, the Bateman Silversmith family business produced in excess of eleven thousand pieces of outstandingly good silverware and many examples of their work still survive to this day.

Antique Hester Bateman Silver Basket 1780
Antique Hester Bateman Silver Basket 1780

Still Desirable & Very Collectible

Silverware crafted by Hester Bateman, as well as other pieces made by other members of the Bateman Silversmith family, is highly sought after today and remains desirable all over the world. Several specialist silverware dealers continue to offer fine examples of Hester Bateman's work along with examples made by the other members of the Bateman family.

If you are a lover of top quality fine silverware, perhaps you are considering including some work by Hester Bateman in your collection. If so, then it is worth visiting the websites of several British specialist silverware dealers where you will find fine examples of Hester Batemans's work available for sale.

.If you are lucky enough to be close to London then there are several antique silverware showrooms where you actually see and buy fine examples of Hester Bateman and other maker's silverware for yourself.

Hester Bateman Silverware, made in London and still available from specialist London-based silverware dealers, see the link below for more information.


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