Pair of Silver Salts
Cobalt glass inserts
William Richardson (Captain William Richardson (1757 – 1809)
Marked W.R and with eagle mark at opposite end
These salts are a true pair with each bearing a small monogram “M” on one side. They may be the salts recorded by MESDA in https://mesda.org/item/object/saltcellar/11941/ or from the same set. American salts are rare and southern American salts even more so. Richardson was probably the best and best known of Richmond’s silversmiths and Hollan devotes some 12 pages to the brothers in her Virginia Silversmiths .
William Richardson first appears in Richmond records in 1782 when he was listed with other family members and was credited with property ownership. Sons of a joiner, William and his brother were both listed as silversmiths. Cutten identifies Richardson as being a very prominent citizen of the community and notes his election as captain of the Richmond Light Infantry Blues, established in 1798. He served as mayor of the city in 1801 and 1807 and probably retired in that year.
Among Richardson’s clients was Patrick Henry for whom he crafted a set of four salt cellars. https://mesda.org/item/object/saltcellar/11939/
Colonial Williamsburg has a similar pair in their collection, see https://emuseum.history.org/objects/29950/salt-cellar?ctx=cf1d7f296050c13f7f6d05ed47cb3b6605c4d832&idx=0
MESDA has a pair that have were made during the brothers’ partnership that have pointed ends rather than oval, Acc4466.1-2.