Newsletter Archive


Newsletter #82 - June 2018

Working from 1865 to 1894 in London, E H (Edward) Stockwell is renowned as a maker of novelty items cast in silver which became ‘all the rage’ with his Victorian customers. Any catalogue of his works shows a wide variety including..  Read more »


Newsletter #81 - May 2018

The history of the site where Buckingham Palace stands can be traced back to the reign of James I in the early 17th century. He started a plantation of mulberries for the rearing of silkworms where the Palace Gardens are now located..  Read more »


Newsletter #80 - April 2018

It was probably William Richard Corke of Northampton Square, London EC; engravers, silversmiths and gold and silver mounters, who in the late 19th century first came up with the idea of producing these charming novelty silver Bookmarks made in the form of Dickensian characters..  Read more »


Newsletter #79 - March 2018

The vinaigrette traces its evolution from the discovery of a new formula for a pungent and corrosive aromatic vinegar based on strong ascetic acid combined with such oils as lavender, cinnamon, cloves and camphor. Manufacture began towards the end of..  Read more »


Newsletter #78 - February 2018

One of the most renowned manufacturing firms of supreme quality silver of the Regency era was Rundell, Bridge and Rundell (Royal Goldsmiths & Jewellers by appointment) whose designs were particularly influenced by late 18th century French silver..  Read more »


Newsletter #77 - January 2018

In 1843, Robert Surtees, a country squire, turned lawyer, turned writer, penned a novel Handley Cross, or Mr. Jorrock’s Hunt, that chronicles the adventures of John Jorrocks, an eccentric grocer who became the Master of Fox Hounds..  Read more »


Newsletter #76 - December 2017

To all our Friends and Clients. A very happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year. Thank you for your custom in 2017, we hope to be able to be of service again in 2018.  Read more »


Newsletter #75 - November 2017

With the festive season approaching fast I wanted to include some Xmas themed items in this month's Newsletter and I hope that the two Victorian Novelty Silver and Gold Propelling Pencils illustrated above fit the bill...  Read more »


Newsletter #74 - October 2017

Charles Dickens was the most popular English novelist of the Victorian era. His famous works include A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, The Pickwick Papers and other hit novels of 19th-century England...  Read more »


Newsletter #73 - September 2017

In 1761, when Hester Bateman entered her first mark, she was the widow of a chainmaker, John Bateman, whom she married at St Botolph’s, Aldersgate, on 20th May 1732. By 1790, when she retired, her firm was one of the largest manufacturers of silver in London...  Read more »


Newsletter #72 - August 2017

With its varied combinations of “balls” (pearls) and “strawberry leaves”, the Heraldic Coronet as a symbol of rank is often seen on English silver, either engraved as part of a Coat of Arms or as a Heraldic Crest. It confirmed ownership and advertised pedigree...  Read more »


Newsletter #71 - July 2017

The Silver King, or Tarpon, has been the target of anglers since before people tried spearing them from wooden rowboats at the turn of the century, and have drawn writers like Hemingway and presidents like Teddy Roosevelt to the blue-green waters of Florida's Gulf Coast...  Read more »


Newsletter #70 - June 2017

A Victorian gold and enamel Vinaigrette made in the form of a Sailor's Straw Hat, the ribbon in black enamel, the ships name 'DANAE' picked out in gold. The hinged base engraved with a presentation inscription and dated 1868, opening to reveal a pierced grille made in the form of a ships deck grill...  Read more »


Newsletter #69 - May 2017

The many and varied forms of Victorian shaped vinaigrettes produced during the second half of the nineteenth century have steadily become a greater focus of interest for collectors but, whilst these tend to distract attention from the often smaller and more understated...  Read more »


Newsletter #68 - April 2017

Antique English silver "Flatware" (Spoons and Forks) has been well documented and conveniently categorised by pattern names. The excellent reference book "Silver Flatware, English, Irish and Scottish 1660-1980" written by Ian Pickford and published by The Antique Collectors' Club in 1983 is the industry standard...  Read more »


Newsletter #67 - March 2017

For most the interest of an example of virtu lies in its form or decoration, but the feature of the vinaigrette which distinguishes it from any other form of small box, such as a patch box or small snuff box, is the grille. It functions as a second lid to hide a sponge soaked in the aromatic vinegar in place whilst...  Read more »


Newsletter #66 - February 2017

"It is impossible to imagine a prettier spot" said Queen Victoria of Osborne House, her palatial holiday home on the Isle of Wight. Illustrated above are four Victorian silver "Castle-Top" Card Cases, all depicting views of Osborne House, but all slightly different, and made by four...  Read more »


Newsletter #65 - January 2017

May I first of all take this opportunity to wish you a very happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year from all of us at Steppes Hill Farm Antiques. Thank you for your custom during 2016 and we hope to be able to be of service again in 2017...  Read more »


Newsletter #64 - December 2016

The twelve images below could be associated (somewhat ambiguously!) with either current or sold pieces of stock on the Steppes Hill Farm Antiques web site. Can you match the image to the item(s) ? The first three correct answers will receive...  Read more »


Newsletter #63 - November 2016

On May 12, 1827, the Pickwick Club of London listens to Mr. Pickwick's paper, "Speculations on the Source of the Hampstead Ponds, with some Observations on the Theory of Tittlebats." In order to extend the field of Mr. Pickwick's...  Read more »


Newsletter #62 - October 2016

The English Foxhound was created in the late 16th century, as a result of the perception of the depletion of deer in England. Nobles and Royalty had hunted deer for both food and sport, using the Deerhound or Staghound for this purpose.  Read more »


Newsletter #61 - September 2016

Field Marshal Frederick Sleigh Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts, Bt, VC, KG, KP, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, KStJ, PC (30 September 1832 - 14 November 1914) was a distinguished Indian born British soldier who regarded himself as Anglo-Irish and was one....  Read more »


Newsletter #60 - August 2016

Antique silver Bookmarks come in all shapes and sizes. Many are shaped like knives or swords because at the turn of the century, many pages in books were not completely separated, so they were also used as paper cutters...  Read more »


Newsletter #59 - July 2016

Two from a series of finely enamelled silver Vesta Cases produced by Sampson Mordan & Co in the late 19th century depicting women dressed in uniforms of professions that they were banned from. Quite provocative and risqué at the time...  Read more »


Newsletter #58 - June 2016

These striking silver mounted Playing Cards Boxes appear to have only been produced for a short period of time around the turn of the 19th/20th century, probably inspired by Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The cards used to decorate them...  Read more »


Newsletter #57 - May 2016

The two Vesta Cases illustrated above and recently acquired, are from a known set of four made by the Goldsmiths & Silversmiths Company Ltd in London in the early 20th century. They are not at all common and perhaps they did not prove to be particularly popular at their date of manufacture. Their distinctive geometric design and cartoonish characteristics...  Read more »


Newsletter #56 - April 2016

Colchester was the first of the great keeps and the largest built by the Normans in Europe. It measures 46 by 33.5 metres. Construction of the castle began in 1076, probably under the supervision of Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester who built the White Tower at London (Tower of London).  Read more »


Newsletter #55 - March 2016

To "Tope", is to drink (liquor) habitually and excessively or engage in such drinking. Synonyms for "Toper" include; alcoholic, bacchanal, boozer, carouser, debaucher, dipsomaniac, inebriate, lush, soak, sot, souse, sponge, tippler, barfly and bibber.  Read more »


Newsletter #54 - February 2016

Kate Greenaway, the uncrowned queen of the golden age of children's book illustration was fifty-four when she died on the 6th November 1901 at her house in Hampstead. Designed for her by Richard Norman Shaw, the house was tangible proof of success, for she had started life..  Read more »


Newsletter #53 - January 2016

May I first of all take this opportunity to wish you a very happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year from all of us at Steppes Hill Farm Antiques. Thank you for your custom during 2015 and we hope to be able to be of service again in 2016.  Read more »


Newsletter #52 - December 2015

Please look closely, and indeed click on the images to zoom in, and spot the differences between the two generations of Buck's! There are twelve differences to identify and the first three correct answers will receive a Harrods Classic Christmas Pudding to enjoy over the festive period courtesy of SHFA.  Read more »


Newsletter #51 - November 2015

Is bigger always better? Well when it comes to antique silver Nutmeg Graters I tend to think it is. The systematic production of silver graters for nutmeg, the most stylish of spices, began in the late seventeenth century.  Read more »


Newsletter #50 - October 2015

What design would you like for your eyeliner madam...? Georgian Silver Wine Label maker Thomas Hyde of London c1784-94 could offer at least three different alternatives for the border decoration on a simple eyeshaped silver label...  Read more »


Newsletter #49 - September 2015

Rattles are among the oldest toys in the world. They appear in pre-Columbian America, in Pharaoh's Egypt and even in the Hittite kingdom...  Read more »


Newsletter #48 - August 2015

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert seem to have made several appearances in my monthly Newsletters but I make no apologies for re-visiting their story here...  Read more »


Newsletter #47 - July 2015

I begin this month's Steppes Hill Farm Antiques Newsletter by illustrating another previously unrecorded scene on a Victorian engraved silver "Castle-Top" Card Case.  Read more »


Newsletter #46 - June 2015

At first blush, a thimble would appear to have little prospect of being anything more than a functional object designed to make hand stitching an easier, and safer, activity.  Read more »


Newsletter #45 - May 2015

Balmoral Castle is a large estate house in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It is located near the village of Crathie 6.2 miles west of Ballater and 6.8 miles east of Braemar.  Read more »


Newsletter #44 - April 2015

Dealing in small collectable silver I often find myself referring to the two pioneering works written by the late Eric Delieb back in the 1960's; 'Investing in Silver' (1967) and 'Silver Boxes' (first published in 1968).  Read more »


Newsletter #43 - March 2015

Apart from the hallmarks on English Sterling Silver, we as dealers or collectors are fortunate with some 19th and 20th century pieces to have another system of marks to aid us with dating and attributing an item. I refer to Design Registration marks introduced to allow designers and inventors to patent and protect their work.  Read more »


Newsletter #42 - February 2015

The functional reason for a cigarette case is to keep the fragile tubes of tobacco within from being crushed. But smoking cigarettes has never been a purely utilitarian pursuit. It has long been associated with style and fashion, which is why cigarette cases quickly became highly decorative personal accessories.  Read more »


Newsletter #41 - January 2015

May I first of all take this opportunity to wish you a very happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year from all of us at Steppes Hill Farm Antiques. Thank you for your custom during 2014 and we hope to be able to be of service again in 2015.  Read more »


Newsletter #40 - December 2014

Please look closely at the hallmark on the Georgian Silver Box illustrated above. Can you identify the date and maker? It is possible to blow the image up and the item is available to view..  Read more »


Newsletter #39 - November 2014

The commercial fortunes of Victorian silver 'castle top' card cases, engraved or embossed with views of British landmarks, depend primarily on the scarcity of the scene depicted, and what a year it has been for rare scenes on Card Cases appearing at auction. On February 26th 2014 Dreweatts of Donnington Priory, Newbury in Berkshire... Read more »


Newsletter #38 - October 2014

"Land, Sea and Air" or perhaps "Fin, Fur and Feather" depicted here as Victorian and Edwardian novelty Silver Pin Cushions. These cheaply made (at the time) silver novelties have become extremely collectable little items with the rarer mammalian examples being particularly sought after. Read more »


Newsletter #37 - September 2014

I have discussed the introduction of the Postage Stamp in Great Britain in a previous Newsletter and the fact that the first Stamp Boxes were generally made of wood or brass. The silver Stamp Box only really became popular in in the 1880's, and it is generally accepted that the first English silver Stamp Box was one patented by Sir John Macneill in 1868. Read more »


Newsletter #36 - August 2014

"Folding Fruit Knives" are knives with a cutting blade intended specifically for fruit. Because the acid in fruit juices will rapidly discolour a carbon steel blade, cutlers offered these knives with blades made of silver, gold, or silver plate (rarely other materials), which better resist the corrosion. Read more »


Newsletter #35 - July 2014

Often cut from relatively thin sheet silver, but exhibiting a particular style and elegance, Wine Labels produced by the silversmiths of the Emerald Isle are some of my favourites. They created quite distinctive designs which probably reached their peak during the neo-classical period from about 1780-1810. Read more »


Newsletter #34 - June 2014

"Andromeda and the Skirt Lifters" sounds like an anarchic 1970's Rock Band or something out of the "Rocky Horror Show", but is in fact two subjects that I would like to discuss in this month's Steppes Hill Farm Antiques Newsletter. Read more »


Newsletter #33 - May 2014

This month's Newsletter illustrates a fine George IV silver High Relief Snuff Box and the Oil Painting of ten years previous that the raised scene was taken from. Read more »


Newsletter #32 - April 2014

The postage stamp was first introduced in Britain in 1840 and its use spread rapidly throughout the globe as the postal service become cheaper, more efficient and accessible to a larger proportion of the population. Read more »


Newsletter #31 - March 2014

I have discussed so-called "Castle Top" silver boxes in previous Newsletters and the fact that scarcity is everything with these tourist souvenirs from the early to mid-Victorian era, but it is not often that one comes across a previously unrecorded subject on a silver Vinaigrette and then manages to pin down the location depicted with some certainty. Read more »


Newsletter #30 - February 2014

Welcome to the second Steppes Hill Farm Antiques Newsletter of 2014. I do hope that you find these communiques of some interest and would very much welcome any feedback you might like to offer. If you would prefer not to receive them, do please let me know. Read more »


Newsletter #29 - January 2014

May I first of all take this opportunity to wish you a very happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year from all of us at Steppes Hill Farm Antiques. Thank you for your custom during 2013 and we hope to be able to be of service again in 2014. Read more »


Christmas Card - December 2013

To all our friends and clients; A very happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year. Thank you for your custom during 2013, we hope to be able to be of service again in 2014. Read more »


Newsletter #28 - November 2013

Christmas is coming and the auctioneers are getting fat! Saleroom history was made this month in New York when Francis Bacon's 'Three Studies Of Lucian Freud' set a new high for any lot ever sold at auction. The triptych from 1969 drew a prolonged bidding battle at Christie's before it was knocked down.... Read more »


Newsletter #27 - October 2013

Horse Racing is often referred to as "The Sport of Kings" but in the second half of the nineteenth century Society discovered a new diversion; the Shooting Party. The new breech loading shot gun made it possible to kill great numbers of game birds quickly and the railways made it possible to get to Country Houses more conveniently.... Read more »


Newsletter #26 - September 2013

Our September newsletter is inspired by the recent acquistion of a nice collection of silver "Mr Punch" related items. These amazingly inctricate and fascinating pieces of work was to grace the cover of the magazine for over a century and it obviously inspired some contemporary silversmiths to reproduce it in enamel.... Read more »


Newsletter #25 - August 2013

Antique silver Caddy Spoons used to transfer the expensive tea leaves from the storage Caddy to the Pot and made in a huge variety of styles have long been collected and rare Georgian examples by celebrated silversmiths can command high prices.. Read more »


Newsletter #24 - July 2013

I am fortunate to currently have in stock a nice little selection of Antique Silver Wine Labels assayed in the Povincial Town of NEWCASTLE in North-East England. These labels are quite scarce and collectable and they usually command a premium when they come onto the market. Read more »


Newsletter #23 - June 2013

The Great Exhibition of 1851 (or "The Great Exhibition of 1851 of the works of industry of all nations" as it was properly known) was held in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London and was a triumph of Victorian ingenuity that served as a showcase... Read more »


Newsletter #22 - May 2013

A category of 'Collectable Silver' that appears very "strong" at the present time, silver Pin Cushions in the form of inanimate objects and in particular animals or birds, are commanding ever higher prices it seems... Read more »


Newsletter #21 - April 2013

A "Flock of Silver Storks" illustrates the Steppes Hill Farm Antiques Newsletter for April. Usually Dutch or German in origin, where the large and distinctive migratory birds are highly revered and surrounded by folklore... Read more »


Newsletter #20 - March 2013

Well - what did they do when it got dark in the 'old' days? The simple answer is that they went to bed early and tried to increase the population that had died from malnutrition, disease and warfare. Read more »


Newsletter #19 - February 2013

This months "Featured Item" is a wonderful piece of Victorian enamelling on silver and it depicts a proud Trooper from one of our most famous British cavalry regiments; the 3rd The Kings Own Hussars. Read more »


Newsletter #18 - January 2013

May I first of all take this opportunity to wish you a very happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year from all of us at Steppes Hill Farm Antiques. Thank you for your custom during 2012 and we hope to be able to be of service again in 2013. Read more »


Christmas Card - December 2012

To all our friends and clients; A very happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year. Thank you for your custom during 2012, we hope to be able to be of service again in 2013. Read more »


Newsletter #17 - November 2012

The tiniest mote of dust, or a tiny piece of a substance; a speck, is how the Oxford English Dictionary describes the Old English word 'Mote', and despite its seriously high price and desirability in the late 17th / early 18th centuries, Tea would have been imported and sold in a relatively crude state containing plenty of dust and large potentially floating tea leaves or Motes. Read more »


Newsletter #16 - October 2012

One thing I enjoy about dealing in antiques is the detective work involved in researching the history or provenance of the various items I purchase. It is fascinating to wonder at their past and the lives of the people that were associated with them, and of course an interesting provenance can make an item so much more desirable and indeed valuable. Read more »


Newsletter #15 - September 2012

How is it possible to link a rare piece of Documentary English Porcelain made in 1807 to the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. Read about this months Featured Item below and you will discover the tenuous link. Read more »


Newsletter #14 - August 2012

My inspiration for this this month's Newsletter has been drawn from the historical comic figure that is Mr Punch. The Character of Punch is descended from the Italian clown Pulcinella who featured in the Commedia Dell' Arte in Italy in the 16th century. Read more »


Newsletter #13 - July 2012

What's on the menu for this month's Newsletter? I hear you ask. Well Menu Holders or Place Card Holders as they are sometimes incorrectly called provides the answer. Menu Holders were generally made in sets of four, although pairs, sets of six, eight and even twelve or eighteen are known. Read more »


Newsletter #12 - June 2012

A tricky problem most of us do not face today is how to extract the scrumptious contents from the constricted interiors of roasted Marrow Bones. A silver Marrow Scoop is an elegant solution to the problem and prevents the diner having to completely abandon his table manners! Read more »


Newsletter #11 - May 2012

I have sat down to write this Steppes Hill Farm Antiques Newsletter on Monday 21st May after just watching the England Cricket team complete a victory over the West Indies in the first Test Match of the series at Lords Cricket ground in London. Read more »


Newsletter #10 - April 2012

William Hogarth's immortal print "Gin Lane" illustrates the Steppes Hill Farm Antiques Newsletter for April. It depicts the squalor and despair of a community raised on Gin. Read more »


Newsletter #9 - March 2012

I have been requested by David to write the Steppes Hill Farm Antiques March Newsletter and my immediate thoughts were to ask oneself what is going to be the main theme. Read more »


Newsletter #8 - February 2012

Two weeks ago we had a foot of snow here in Kent, but as I write this February Newsletter the temperature outside is approaching 16 degrees centigrade, the sun is shining, the birds are singing and it feels like spring has sprung. Read more »


Newsletter #7 - January 2012

May I first of all take this opportunity to wish you a very happy, peaceful and prosperous 2012, from all of us at Steppes Hill Farm Antiques. Read more »


Christmas Card - December 2011

To all our friends and clients; A very happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year. Thank you for your custom during 2011, we hope to be able to be of service again in 2012. Read more »


Newsletter #6 - November 2011

I have had a very busy month procuring new stock in time for the festive season and this month's Newsletter coincides with significant new updates to the web site. I have added 80 plus new items overall, and most categories, particularly in the silver section, see new additions. Read more »


Newsletter #5 - October 2011

I have always been fascinated by silver items made and assayed in the small Provincial Towns of England, Scotland and Ireland. The diverse and intriguing hallmarks used in the Provinces and the fact that small collectable silver is often incompletely marked... Read more »


Newsletter #4 - September 2011

It is good to be able to report that with the August holiday period now behind us September has seen an upturn in the antiques business with things starting to move again in London and several interesting auctions coming up around the country... Read more »


Newsletter #3 - August 2011

The summer seems to be racing by and our Selling Exhibition at Godmersham Park in conjunction with my brother Christopher on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th August is now only days away. We are thrilled to have been granted permission for this exhibition... Read more »


Newsletter #2 - July 2011

Hot on the heals of our first monthly Newsletter in June comes my second offering for July 2011. The London Summer Fairs have now ended, with mixed fortunes for the participants from what I can gather... Read more »


Newsletter #1 - June 2011

Welcome to the very first Steppes Hill Farm Antiques Newsletter which I hope will assist you to keep up to speed with any developments or new acquisitions that we get here at the farm. The plan is to produce these on a regular monthly basis so I do hope you will find it of interest... Read more »