John Schofield

The Smythe Wine Coolers

John Schofield

The Smythe Wine Coolers

An Elegant Pair of Bucket Wine Buckets
George III
London, 1790
Maker’s mark of John Schofield

The arms are those of Smyth

Height:19 cm, 7 ½ in.
Weight: 3078 g, 98 oz. 19 dwt.


Of straight-sided barrel shape with applied bands at regular intervals across the body. Cast and applied coat of arms to either side with a motto ribbon beneath. Both with two simply sculpted loop handles, detachable reeded rims, and cylindrical liners pierced with a leaf motif.

The arms are those of Smythe quartering the quarterly arms of Leighton and Owen impaling Townsend quartering Hare of Nicolas Owen Smythe Owen (1769-1804) of Condover Hall, Shropshire. He married Henrietta Jemima, daughter of James Townsend (1737-1787) of Bruce Castle, at All Hallows Tottenham, on 12th July 1790.

The Owen family of Condover, Shropshire, extinct in the male line, descended from Richard ap Owen, third son of Owen ap Griffith of Llunllo. Thomas Owen of Concover, the last male descendant of this line, died unmarried in 1731, leaving his sister, Letitia Owen (d. 1755), his heir. She married Richard Mytton, and had a daughter, Anna Maria (1719-1750), who was the first wife of Sir Charlton Leighton, 3rd Bt (1715-1780) of Loton. One of their children, also Anna Maria (d. 1777), inherited from her grandmother, the said Letitia Owen, the estate of Condover. This Anna Maria Mytton married Nicholas Smythe. Their eldest son was the above-mentioned Nicholas Owen Smythe Owen (formerly Smythe) upon whose death without issue in 1804 Condover passed to his eldest sister’s son, Edward William Pemberton (1793-1863) who then changed his name to Edward William Smythe Owen.

Although widely known as Schofield, both the clerk's entry and signature of this maker are as above. No record of apprenticeship or freedom, which for a maker who occupied such a prominent position in the plateworking of the late part of the century is tantalizing. First mark entered as plateworker, in partnership with Robert Jones, 10 February 1776. Address: 40 Bartholomew Close. Second mark alone, 13 January 1778. Address: 29 Bell Yard, Temple Bar. Third mark, 1st October 1787. Heal records his always as Schofield, with all the above addresses and dates, and with 1796 as later date for Bell Yard. He also records Robert and John Scofield, 1772-6, for which see under Schofield (above).
In his candlesticks and candelabra Schofield displays a high degree of elegant design executed with impeccable craftmanship, which rivals at best the contemporary French goldsmith Henri Auguste. It was perhaps the restrained taste of the period that prevented Scofield from displaying a virtuosity which might well have given him a reputation equal with Lamerie or Storr. No one could mount glass better, as is shown by his cruet in the Rotch Collection (Victoria and Albert Museum). It seems likely that he worked for Jeffreys, Jones and Gilbert, the then Royal goldsmiths, and that he may have had considerable commissions for Carlton House.

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