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Toast rack
Date Made/Found: around 1775
Manufacturer: Tudor & Leader , 1761 - 1816
Material and Medium: Sterling silver
Dimensions: Overall: 209.6 x 114.3mm, 2.2kg (8 1/4 x 4 1/2in., 4.8lb.)
Department: Decorative Art
Accession Number: L1912.4
This object is a toast rack made from Sterling silver. It was hallmarked at Sheffield Assay Office in 1775. It was made by the Sheffield firm, Tudor & Leader. The company Tudor & Leader was founded in 1761 by Henry Tudor of Sheffield and Thomas Leader of Broxted in Essex. Documentary evidence indicates that John Sherburn, a silversmith from Sheffield, joined as a third partner in 1763. After Sherburn's death in 1773, Tudor & Leader drew up a new partnership agreement to continue the business together. Samuel Nicholson became a partner in 1783, having purchased a one tenth share in the business for £1000. The firm changed its name to "Tudor, Leader's & Nicholson". One year later the firm registered its first mark for plated goods, 'TUDOR & Co' alongside a crescent moon. Thomas Leader's brother, Daniel, joined the firm as a partner in 1785. At this time the business was valued at £18,000 and described as "[T]he Trade or Business of a Silver and Silverplated manufacturer and in divers[e] other Goods, wares and merchandize". The business was split into eighteen shares of £1000. Henry Tudor and Thomas Leader were each entitled to seven shares. Thomas Leader had assigned three of his shares to his son, Thomas Leader Jnr, though he remained a shareholder and not a partner at this time. Samuel Nicholson was entitled to three shares and Daniel Leader to one share. Thomas Leader Jnr eventually became a partner in 1793. A new partnership indenture was drawn, which valued the business at £15,000, divided into 15 shares. Henry Tudor had five shares, Thomas Leader, Thos Leader Jnr and Samuel Nicholson each had three shares and Daniel Leader had one share. An interesting section gives an insight into how roles responsibilities were divided between the company founders and their younger partners: "…the said Henry Tudor and Thomas Leader shall not nor shall either of them interfere or intermeddle in the manufacturing part of the said joint Trade and Dealing nor with their servants or apprentices But that the manufacturing part of the said Trade and all servants and apprentices to be employed therein shall be under the entire management and control of the said Samuel Nicholson Daniel Leader and Thomas Leader the Younger". Samuel Nicholson and Leader Jnr were responsible for "making journeys" (collecting orders and payment from clients) and "attend[ing] the warehouse". Daniel Leader was to "superintend the manufacturing part". Samuel Nicholson left the business in 1796 and died three years later. Thomas Leader retired in 1797 and Henry Tudor appears to have retired around 1799, four years before his death. Daniel Leader and Thomas Leader Jnr continued the business until 1816. Find out more… You can view the original documents referenced above at Sheffield Archives: Sheffield Archives, Tudor & Leader records, YWD1013
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