Tea set

ARTIST / MAKER: John Bridge (maker)
DATE: 1823-4 (made)
PLACE: England (made)

The silversmith John Bridge joined the goldsmith firm Pickett and Rundell in 1777 at the age of 22, later partnering with Rundell in 1788. The firm received the Royal warrant in 1797 securing the firm’s success and reputation for the next 30 years, with Bridge acting as Royal Goldsmith until his death in 1834 when the role was taken over by his nephew.

The handles on each piece in the set culminate in oak leaves and acorns, motifs popular with English silversmiths in the 19th century, with the oak considered the country’s national tree from as early as the 16th century when it was used by Shakespeare to communicate tradition and power. Each piece is also engraved with a crest that is attributed to the Marjoribanks family, descended from the Scottish clan and Thomas Marjoribanks of Ratho who served as Lord Clerk Register for Scotland in the mid-1500s. This set may have belonged to Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks (1820-1894), 1st Baron Tweedmouth, also known as Laird of Guisachan and Glenaffric, a Scottish businessman and Liberal politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1853 to 1880. The son of Edward Marjoribanks (1776-1868), a senior partner in Coutts bank, Dudley was also the breeder of the first Golden Retriever.