A pair of silver coasters by Robert Hennell of 1776
This is a better-than-average pair of silver coasters made in the workshops of Robert Hennell who was one of, if not the most prolific makers of early neo-classical coasters. They are decorated with the restrained vocabulary of neo-classical ornament - beading, paterae, swags of garrya husks and simulated paling. While the top beaded moulding is integral, the paterae and husks are applied over the paling.
On each coaster there are three oval paterae, and the fourth oval is taken with an engraved monogram for JME. Between these are four smaller circular paterae.
Hennel produced many coasters in this model or similar and is well know for them. They work very well and these, being in excellent condition are very fit-for-purpose. The hallmarks are not deep nor crisply struck - but then they almost never are on coasters of this date; they are least legible.
An unusual feature of these coasters is the satinwood base to each, ring-turned and with central silver 'buttons' - which have not been engraved,