Pewter is an alloy of tin hardened with small amounts of other metals such as copper, lead, zinc, antimony and sometimes silver. The craft of pewtering started in antiquity - the earliest known item, a flask dating from c1450 BC, was found in Egypt.
Pewter is believed to have been introduced to Britain by the Romans, who exploited the main source of tin in Europe at the time, which was in Cornwall. The craft fell into decline after the Romans withdrew from Britain but it is thought that the Cistercian monks reintroduced it after the Norman Conquest in AD 1066.
Known as "the poor man's silver", production spread throughout the country with a wide range of mainly domestic goods being made.
In the year 1348 Articles were granted to the Worshipful Company of Pewterers in London, which enabled them to control the quality of pewter. Two grades of pewter were specified, and then later a further grade was added, and these three grades were adhered to until the 20th century. more...The 15th and 16th centuries are described as the Golden Age for pewter manufacture, a time when even grand houses used pewter as well as silver for domestic use and a time which preceded the introduction of mass-produced ceramic wares, which ultimately replaced pewter, especially plates and drinking vessels.
Even then however, the average householder was too poor to replace his wooden utensils with pewter until around the middle of the 18th century. For almost a hundred years thereafter it became the material for every day utensils and commodities.
The appeal of pewter comes mainly from its good proportions and functional design. Items from the 17th and 18th centuries are obviously much rarer than those of the 19th century, which form the basis of most collections, and when collecting pewter became popular. The century culminated in the formation of The Society of Pewter Collectors in 1918, which is still operating today, under the name of the Pewter Society.
Although ceramic tableware had largely replaced pewter by this time, tankards, mugs, beakers, candlesticks, measures and numerous small personal items were still being made, and were popular in the country. . In churches it was used to make alms dishes, plates and sacramental vessels.
In the early 20th century, the popularity of pewter was revived with the introduction of the Art Nouveau styles of Liberty's Tudric range.
There are no hallmarks on pewter, although some pewter items have a touch mark, applied by a punch and which usually include the names or initials of the maker. Touch marks have no particular value apart from interest and a guide to the maker. A touch mark bears no relation to the quality of the alloy, and does not carry the same authority as the hallmarks used on gold and silver.
When a date appears as part of the touch mark it represents the year of registration of the maker with the London Guild and not the year of manufacture, so it can't be used to date the article. However, if the manufacturer is known the piece can be dated to a certain period, somewhere between the date of registration and death of the maker.
Sometimes the makers added touch marks resembling silver hallmarks, usually four in number. These faux hall marks were not recognised by The Worshipful Company of Pewterers or supported in law.
81 item(s) found:
These items are not for sale and the descriptions, images and prices are for reference purposes only.
Impressive twin-handled brass grain measure on stand. Engraved 'Imperial Bushel, Govt or cape of good Hope 1877', together with eight graduating grain measures and brass weights. Height 19 cm. Provenance: The Estate of the late Alida Haskins widow of Sam H
Set of 7 Victorian Government measures of capacity from Old Melbourne Observatory circa 1940. Gallon, half gallon, quart, pint, half pint, gill & half gill. In one box with glass strike discs. Each brass measure is hand engraved 'Imperial Standard, Victori
A set of 4 earthenware spirit barrels for pub dispensing. Unmarked but almost certainly Staffordshire 1850's. Each is fitted with its original tap and stand for the glass depth measure - each approx 6 gallons capacity. Removed from a pub in the Victorian G
A Victorian copper 1 gallon measure of traditional wide tapered form with flared ring base and pouring spout, the dovetail seam with brass showing, riveted handle, old lead seal marks. height 29 cm diameter 24.5 cm
A Victorian copper 2 gallon measure of traditional wide tapered form with flared ring base and pouring spout, the dovetail seam with brass showing, riveted handle, old lead seal marks. Height 35 cm diameter 28.5 cm
Gill bulbous measure with verification marks GR130, Kesteven County, half gill bulbous measure with verification marks VR130 and GR130 and a quarter gill bulbous measure with verification marks VR130 and GR130
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