Benjamin James Ryan

Product: 250th Anniversary Salvers
Materials: Sterling Silver, Diamond & Gilt
Dimensions: 410mm x 410mm x 32mm (Approx.)

Commissioned by the London Assay office to commerate and celebrate the 250th Anniversarys of both the Sheffield and Birmingham Assay Offices.

The design pays homage to the display plate silverware in The Goldsmiths’ Company’s collection and celebrates the three cities of London, Sheffield & Birmingham. The salvers reference the 250th Anniversary of independence of the Sheffield and Birmingham Assay Offices, granted by the Goldsmiths’ Company London Assay Office in 1773.

To reference the 250th anniversary, the inner dished section measure 250mm in diameter. The outer rims are made up of 250 hexangonal shields, echoing the bounding shapes of hallmarked symbols.

Providing an interesting and detailed pattern on the large flat rim of the salvers is a detailed section of London map that shows the route between the Goldsmiths’ Hall and the Crown & Anchor pub on Neal Street. The map has been machine engraved on a CNC miller to ensure precision and accuracy. The locations of both the Crown & Anchor pub and Goldsmiths’ Hall are subtly referenced on the map, by diamonds set into gold plated tube settings. For symmetry and aesthetic balance, the same section of map is shown on both sides of the rim, with a 180° rotation.

Separating the left from the right, are two circular perforations, not usually seen in slavers, which are boarded by gold plated silver wire. At the centre of each of the cut aways are two cast emblems representing the Birmingham and Sheffield Assay Offices.

The design celebrates the beauty of London form a bird’s eye view whilst subtlety referencing the petitioner’s meetings that used to take place in the Crown & Anchor pub, that subsequently led to the Independence of Sheffield & Birmingham. The pub was of real significance as the assay offices took their emblems from the pubs name. Birmingham still has the anchor today and the Sheffield Assay Office put aside the Crown mark in 1975 and changed its emblem to the Tudor Rose. The design not only celebrates three cities but tells the historic story of three great Assay offices.