About the object
Extremely attractive and beautifully engraved George IV sterling silver Presentation Trowel. London 1825 by William Bateman I. The trowel and the slightly tapering cylindrical handle are perfectly plain with the exception of some bands of reeding at the end of the handle near the trowel and the bold, stylised leaf which joins the handle to the front of the trowel. The whole trowel is beautifully balanced and has a pleasing grip. The front of the trowel is engraved with the initials A f within an oblong cartouche. Sitting on top of this cartouche is the Fletcher family crest for this particular branch of the Fletcher family - a demi-talbot rampant, ducally gorged. Above is the battle cry: DIEU POUR NOUS (God for us). Beneath is engraved a hymn book open at PSALM CXVIII 23. The reverse of the trowel is engraved in various scripts: This/ TROWEL/ was PRESENTED by/ Mr. Alexr. McKenzie, in behalf of his Infant Son/ Alexr. Fletcher McKenzie, to the Revd. Alexr. Fletcher,/ who employed it, in laying the/ FOUNDATION STONE/ of his/ NEW CHAPEL, / FINSBURY CIRCUS/ London./ July 13th, 1825. The full set of hallmarks are stamped very clearly on the reverse of the trowel but part of the above engraving has caused some of the maker's mark to be slightly rubbed.
According to The Dictionary of National Biography, Alexander Fletcher (1787 - 1860) was a Presbyterian divine and MA, Glasgow. He came to London in 1811 and was minister of Albion Chapel in 1816. He was suspended after a breach-of-promise case in 1824. He separated from the Secession Church and was for thirty-five years minister at Finsbury Circus Chapel (the largest in London). He was ultimately restored. Reverend Fletcher was a charismatic preacher and was celebrated for his sermons to children and his "Family Devotions". William Bateman I was the second son of Jonathan and Ann Bateman and the grandson of Hester Bateman. The high quality of the engraving and the elegance of execution of this trowel strongly echoes his grandmother's style. This trowel is steeped in history and is undoubtedly a collector's piece.
Weight: 7.56 Troy Ounces (235.12 grams)