William Bateman English Antique Sterling Silver Agricultural Fair Trophy, London, 1815
This is a rare and impressive Staffordshire General Agricultural Society fair trophy by William Bateman, son of Ann and Jonathan Bateman and grandson of Hester Bateman. The large, over sized body is beautifully decorated with vertical lobing. An applied band ornaments and strengthens the upper rim. Line decoration is used around the stepped pedestal base.
The presentation reads:
Won by the Right Honble Earl Talbot
with the best Long Wool Shearling
from Sir Robt Lawley Bart
"The Staffordshire Agricultural Society, founded in 1800 with Richard Dyott of Freeford as president, met in Lichfield and its membership was drawn mainly from South Staffordshire. In 1812 it was absorbed into the Staffordshire General Agricultural Society, whose meetings also took place in Lichfield; that society was dissolved c. 1826".(1)
This trophy was awarded to the sheep's owner, Earl Talbot. Charles Chetwynd Chetwynd Talbot, 2nd Earl Talbot, served in the important post of viceroy of Ireland and also lord-lieutenant of Staffordshire. His seat was the Elizabethan manse, Ingestrie Hall, in Staffordshire. Sir Robert Lawley, 6th Baronet, was elevated to the peerage in 1831 as Baron Wenlock. His seat was Cranwell, also in Staffordshire.
William Bateman became a partner in the famous Bateman family silver company in 1800 and sole owner of the firm in 1815, the same year these trophies were made. He made some of the finest silver of his period - his silver was sold by the royal jeweler, Rundel, Bridge & Rundel and through them he supplied silver to many important people including the Duke of Cumberland, later King William IV.
This wonderful trophy is fully hallmarked. The 'U' date mark was used January 1 through June 13, 1815. It measures 4.25 inches wide by 6.75 inches high, weighs 14.15 troy ounces and is in excellent antique condition with a later inscription 'Kerry' on the reverse. (Oddly, a kerry is a type of ram!)