William Holmes

The work of William Holmes is often found on epergnes and centrepieces, cup & covers and high quality neo-classical designed silver. His work is found in works designed by both Robert Adams a James Wyatt. One thinks of the famous Holkham dinner service made for Thomas William Coke (1754-1842). Known as ‘Le bel anglais’ during his Grand Tour, he inherited the Holkham Estate in 1775. He immediately commissioned an extensive dinner service in the neo-classical style. The famous pair of ewers from this service dated 1775 by William Holmes are absolute jewels William Holmes was made a Freeman of the Lorimers' Company. Apparently working by about 1762, since pieces bearing a mark very similar to his later entered mark exist from this date till 1771. Heal records David Whyte, plateworker, Clerkenwell Green, 1766; and Whyte and Holmes, working silversmiths, Clerkenwell Green, 1770, and there can be no doubt that his hallmark is found from 1764 to 1767. Heal records Holmes alone as working silversmith, 12 Clerkenwell Green, from 1768-90, and he appears as plateworker, at the same address, in the Parl. Report list 1773. His first documented mark as plateworker, in partnership with Nicholas Dumée, entered 8 September 1773. Address: 12 Clerkenwell Green. (His name is curiously missing from the Parl. Report list dated 8 March 1773, whereas David Whyte is listed at 19 Little Britain.) Second mark entered alone, 2 January 1776, same address. Third mark, 21 March 1792. Took J. S. Denwall as apprentice, 1790, and his own son John Gwyn Holmes (q.v.), 1780, who entered his mark at the same address, 10 July 1805, when presumably his father was dead or retired. 'Mrs Holmes wife of Mr Holmes silversmith Clerkenwell Green' died September 1785 (The Gentleman's Magazine, p. 834).