Although Hunt & Roskell employed the services of several artists at this time, including Frank Howard (1805-1866) and Alfred Brown, both of whom began their association with the firm in the mid 1840s, they worked under the superintendence of the sculptor Edward Hodges Baily (1788-1867). It is he to whom the design of these and the Ellenborough coolers has been attributed. The concept was not new, however; a book of miscellaneous prints of designs for vases inscribed ‘No. 202 Storr & Mortimer 13 New Bond Street,’ which must have been known to Baily, includes an engraving after Jacques-François Saly (1717-1776) in which a shell-like vase is supported by tritons. In 1841 Mortimer & Hunt , Hunt & Roskell’s predecessors, produced a very similar caviar pail for the Russian Prince Worontsov-Dashkov (Sotheby’s, London, 3 July 1969, lot 249; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, Joan B. Lappe-Bowman Bequest). These naturalistic forms, so brilliantly adapted for silver at Hunt & Roskell during the 1840s, probably found their most extreme expression in the shell and coral pattern tea and coffee set, London, 1849, which they showed at the Great Exhibition of 1851 (John Culme, Nineteenth-Century Silver, London, 1977, pp. 158 and 159)
E.H. Baily began working under John Flaxman for Rundell, Bridge & Rundell while still a student and when Flaxman died in 1826 he became Rundell’s chief designer and modeller. In this post he inevitably worked most closely with Paul Storr, who until February 1819 was in charge of the firm’s silver manufactory in Dean Street, Soho. Storr subsequently set up his own factory in addition to going into partnership two years later with John Mortimer to form the retail business of Storr & Mortimer, goldsmiths and jewellers, in Bond Street. Baily joined the new firm and continued to work with Storr and his successors until 1857.
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