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Ash, Claudius (1792–1854), silversmith and dental supplier, the second son of Sarjeant Ash (bap. 1755, d. 1820), silversmith, and his wife, Lydia, was born in London on 2 March 1792 and baptized with his younger brother William on 18 May 1794. At the time of his birth, and for several years before, it is likely that the family was settled in the neighbourhood of ...

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Austen, William (fl. 1449–1454), metal-founder, is known only for his work on the tomb of Richard Beauchamp, earl of Warwick (d. 1439), in the latter's chantry in St Mary's Church, Warwick. Documentary evidence for Austen's involvement survives in the form of seventeenth-century transcripts, and eighteenth- and nineteenth-century copies of transcripts, taken from medieval contracts which appear to have been incomplete when the transcripts were made, and which are now lost....

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Edward Backwell (c. 1619–1683) by unknown engraver, pubd 1797 © Copyright The British Museum

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Backwell, Edward (c. 1619–1683), goldsmith and banker, the son of Barnaby Backwell of Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, a yeoman, was apprenticed in 1635 to Thomas Vyner, a leading goldsmith. He became free of the Goldsmiths' Company in 1651, of which he was to be prime warden in 1660....

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Baily, Edward Hodges (1788–1867), sculptor and designer and modeller of silver, was born on 10 March 1788 at Bristol, the son of William Baily, a ship's carver, and his wife, Martha. After leaving school at the age of fourteen Baily was placed in a merchant's counting house where he remained for two years. He formed an acquaintance with a local artist called ...

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Barantyn, Drew (c. 1350–1415), goldsmith and mayor of London, was the younger son of Thomas Barantyn, lord of Chalgrove in Oxfordshire (he had an older brother, Thomas, who died in 1400). Barantyn's talents as a craftsman rather than his family connections were to be the key to his success in the world. He was apprenticed to ...

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Bateman [née Neden, Needham], Hester (bap. 1708, d. 1794), silversmith, was baptized on 7 October 1708 at St Michael-le-Querne, Paternoster Row, in the City of London, the daughter of John Neden or Needham. Little is known of her early life, but as she was unable to sign her name it must be assumed that any education she received was rudimentary. She was living in the parish of ...

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Benson, William Arthur Smith (1854–1924), metalwork designer, was born at 6 Sussex Square, Paddington, Middlesex, on 17 October 1854, the eldest in the family of four sons and two daughters of William Benson (1816–1887), barrister, and his wife, Elizabeth Soulsby, daughter of Thomas Smith...

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Bowes, Sir Martin (1496/7–1566), goldsmith and mayor of London, was born in York in the parish of St Cuthbert, Peaseholme. Despite his disclaimer in 1549 that at the time of his going thirty-eight years previously to London at the age of fourteen (...

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Sir Martin Bowes (1496/77–1566) by unknown artist, 1562 unknown collection / Christie's; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Briot, Nicholas (1579–1646), coin- and seal-engraver and medallist, was born at Damblein in Bassigny, duchy of Bar, France, the son of Didier Briot, merchant. Between 1606 and 1625 he was engraver-general at the Paris mint, where he experimented with machinery for striking coins, a subject which was to dominate his thinking for the rest of his life. Having set out his proposals in 1615 in a treatise entitled ...

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Broker, Nicholas (d. 1426), coppersmith, was, with his fellow craftsman Godfrey Prest (fl. 1395–1399), a citizen of London. In April 1395 the two men were awarded the contract for the gilt bronze effigies of Richard II and Queen Anne for their tomb in ...

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Sidney Lee

revised by Nilanjana Banerji

Bulloch, John (1805–1882), brass-finisher and literary scholar, was a native of Aberdeen. For most of his life he worked as a brass-finisher, and lived in very humble circumstances, but he devoted much of his leisure to literary pursuits. He contributed to The Athenaeum...

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Burman, Thomas (1617/18–1674), sculptor and metal-engraver, was born, according to an inscription on his tomb, in 1617 or 1618. He was apprenticed to Edward Marshall under the auspices of the Masons' Company of London in 1632 or 1633. From 1649 onwards he is recorded as living in ...

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Cane, Andrew (c. 1589–1656x61), goldsmith and actor, was the son of Robert Cane of Windsor, butcher; he may be the otherwise unnamed ‘Keane’, son of Robert Kene and Lucresia Andrews, who was baptized at the parish church of St John, Windsor, on 2 March 1589. He was apprenticed to ...

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Sir Francis Child the elder (1641/22–1713) by unknown artist © National Portrait Gallery, London