Measuring a little over one metre tall this photographic portrait is of Charles Rasp (1846-1907), the man credited with finding silver at Broken Hill and establishing the now British-owned mining company BHP (Broken Hill Proprietary Company) in 1885. For decades the settler population at Broken Hill has celebrated Rasp as the city’s ‘founding father’, including […]
These napkin rings belonged to the Wilson family of Berry. James C Wilson (1834-1901) emigrated to Australia in 1857 and found work on the Berry Estate, before co-founding Wilson and Co. Store, establishing other business interests that included coal mining, and becoming Berry’s first Mayor. Around 1880, with wife Robina nee Tait (1849-1918), the Wilsons […]
‘The Unfortunate Man, Alexander Dick…’
Silver spoons were very nearly Alexander Dick’s (c.1791-1843) undoing. A free settler who arrived in 1824, he was a working silversmith with a prospering business in Sydney in 1826 when he made a deal that cost him dearly. Anxious to produce an order of silverware for a client, he knowingly bought a set of ‘old’ […]
Johanna Rosler’s Locket
Jewellery is a very personal item and as such is usually held within a family and passed down through the generations. This beautiful silver locket was owned by Johanna Hermine (Mina) Wagner (née Rosler) (1858–1921) and has been handed down through the Rosler family. It is unknown when Hermine received the locket but as a […]
A Toast to Business Success!
This testimonial tankard represents two business successes for the Sydney merchants Christopher Newton Bros & Co. It is made of silver mined from the Sunny Corner silver mine, near Rydal just west of Lithgow, in which they were the major shareholders. In April 1885, around the time silversmith Evan Jones made this tankard, the mine […]
From Ostrich to Emu Eggs
In 1866, the Danish-born silversmith Christian Ludwig Qwist sent a silver-mounted emu egg jug and drinking cups, made in his Hunter Street shop in Sydney, to the Intercolonial Exhibition in Melbourne. Qwist arrived in Melbourne in 1853, in the early years of the gold rush. He’d worked as a photographer and silversmith in the boom […]
Take Two Emu Eggs
Two emu eggs to make a ‘bachelor tea set’ – one for the teapot, one half for the sugar bowl and the other for the cream jug. Was the cream jug ever used? It’s not likely. The fashion for goblets and cups made from silver mounted emu eggs reached its height in the second half […]
What Rhymes with Porringer?
If someone were to politely offer you ‘a little silver porringer of hot terrapin’ would you eagerly accept, respectfully decline, or ask for more information? While such an offer might bewilder contemporary diners, an 1880s gourmet would lick their lips in anticipation of tucking into some creamy turtle soup served in a small silver bowl. […]
Madeira, my dear?
In the days before the twentieth century’s marketing of alcohol with distinctive bottles and branded labels, alcohol was decanted at home into glass decanters. Wine labels, or ‘bottle tickets’ as they were sometimes known, were hung on the necks of decanters to identify the contents within – in this case, madeira and brandy. Decanters and […]
Winners and Losers
The jockey atop this impressive silver racing trophy has lost his more than his whip; he has lost his place in history. It’s not known who won this cup, or indeed, if it was ever presented as a trophy. The cartouche (ornate frame), which would customarily be engraved with the name, date and place of […]