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Saunders & Shepherd Silver Lee Enfield Rifle Spoon (1903)

Saunders & Shepherd Silver Lee Enfield Rifle Spoon (1903)

Price R 8,431.00 Sale

A lovely solid sterling silver spoon in the form of a Lee Enfield service rifle. It was made in London by Saunders and Shepherd, a well-known Edwardian firm of silversmiths and jewellers, and is hallmarked for 1903. Saunders and Shepherd made silver rifle spoons from 1899, originally as souvenirs of the Boer War, and also as prizes for rifle clubs and other shooting associations. The highly detailed and accurate representation of a Lee Enfield rifle is very finely made and is stamped on one side of the butt with the maker's mark, 'CS*FS', the London Assay marks, and the date letter 'h' for 1903. The Registered Design number 349937 is stamped towards the muzzle end of the rifle (this design was registered in November 1899). The other side of the butt is stamped 'Lee-Enfield'. There is an inscription along the side of the rifle - 'Won by E. W. Hurst, 1911'. The bowl of the spoon is engraved with the letters 'R.R.A'.

Sergeant E. W. Hurst competed in the Rajah of Kolapore's Imperial Challenge Cup at Bisley in July 1913. The match featured teams from Britain, Australia, Canada, and South Africa. Sgt. Hurst would have been up against some of the finest riflemen of the time - including Sgt. J. Tippins and Sgt. H. Ommundsen. (This may be the same Sgt. E. W. Hurst who served in France with the 46th Divisional Signals Coy., Royal Engineers during WW1, and was awarded the Military Medal in June 1916).

Saunders and Shepherd: was a firm of manufacturing jewellers founded in London in 1869 by Cornelius Desormeaux Saunders and James Francis Hollings Shepherd, initially trading at 23 Bartlett’s Buildings in Holborn Circus. They expanded rapidly taking on numbers 24 and then 25 before also moving into Bartlett’s Passage as their success continued to grow. Initially they specialised in mourning jewellery made from Whitby jet, but by 1880 they were advertising as “manufacturers in gold and standard silver of brooches, earrings, chains, swivels, lockets and necklets, pendants, solitaires, studs and charms.” 

In 1889 they became the licensees for the American firm of Krementz and their patented one-piece collar stud and also invented the first self-closing bracelet.  When C. D. Saunders died in 1890 his three sons became directors of the business, which was known as Saunders and Shepherd Ltd. The firm had offices in India, Canada and Australia. In 1909 a factory was opened in Birmingham and the company produced increasing numbers of new designs and innovative pieces to keep abreast of changing fashions. The Depression of the 1930s followed by WW2 affected the business severely and they reduced it in size in order to survive. The Birmingham factory was closed and in 1941 the London premises was badly damaged by bombing, and most of their patterns were destroyed. By the end of the war the company had less than 30 employees left but continued trading and gradually built themselves back up. In 1951 they exhibited at The Festival of Britain and as the country began to recover from the ravages of war the demand for jewellery increased. By the end of the 1950s they were able to move into new premises in St Cross Street in London. In 1980 the company moved into Bleeding Heart Yard in Hatton Garden. The following year they were commissioned to make a gold bracelet for Lady Diana Spencer which she would go on to wear on her wedding day.



In very good original condition.

Hallmarked: 1903
Sterling Silver
Length: 120mm
Weight: 20g

Dimensions : xmm