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    Fighting for a 'small provincial establishment': the Cork goldsmiths and their quest for a local assay office

    Fitzgerald, Alison (2012) Fighting for a 'small provincial establishment': the Cork goldsmiths and their quest for a local assay office. In: Irish Provincial Cultures in the Long Eighteenth Century: Making the Middle Sort. Four Courts Press Ltd., Dublin, Ireland, pp. 170-180. ISBN 978-1-84682-375-6

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    In 1782 CARDEN TERRY (1742-1821), one of Cork's leading goldsmiths (plate 2)/ advertised that he had just returned from London 'and different parts of England' and had stocked his shop with 'the largest and most elegant assortment of plate, plated ware, jewellery, toys &c ever imported into the city'. His rhetoric is interesting for a number of reasons. While Cork was second city to Dublin during this period, Dublin was outranked by London in terms of fashion, and technologically, in the field of metal wares, by Birmingham and Sheffield. Like his Birmingham counterpart Matthew Boulton (1728-1809) (plate 3), Terry was selling both sterling silverwares and 'plated' goods. However, while Boulton was one of the pioneering entrepreneurs of his age, described by Josiah Wedgwood as 'the first or most complete manufacturer in England in metal', Terry was a key figure in a much smaller provincial market. At the same time that he was sourcing stock from England, he was also sending some plate from his own workshop to Dublin to be tested and hallmarked, a significant round trip to ensure that his goods could boast the added commercial advantage of having been tested for metal purity by an independent body (fig. 8.1). Since the Company of Goldsmiths of Dublin administered the only assay office in the country, provincial goldsmiths were clearly disadvantaged in this regard.

    Item Type: Book Section
    Keywords: small provincial establishment; Cork goldsmiths; local assay office;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > History
    Item ID: 4271
    Depositing User: Alison Fitzgerald
    Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2013 11:47
    Publisher: Four Courts Press Ltd.
    Refereed: Yes
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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