This good-sized mug by colonial Calcutta silversmiths Hamilton & Company is a fine and unusual example of colonial silverware that was produced in India in the around the middle of the 19th century. It is cast and chased, thick-walled, and thus heavy for its size.
Of baluster form, with a flared, serrated foot, and with an ‘S’-shape handle, it is of particularly pleasing proportions. It is beautifully decorated with flowers and leaf motifs.
The base is impressed with four marks associated with Hamilton & Co. One is the company’s identifying mark of H&C, another is an elephant motif, the letter ‘A’, and finally a mark that cannot be readily distinguished but might be the mark of the supervising silversmith.
The exterior face of the mug opposite the handle is engraved with three initials and the date ‘1855’. This is the date of presentation and need not be the year of manufacture. The mug does seem earlier in style.
The firm of Hamilton & Company was founded in Calcutta around 1815 and operated from premises at 7 Old Court House Street in Calcutta for at least some of its life.
Overall, this is a fine and very pleasing example of early colonial Indian silver.
Wilkinson, W.R.T., Indian Silver 1858-1947, 1999.