John Samuel Hunt

A Victorian Two-Handled Tray

John Samuel Hunt

A Victorian Two-Handled Tray

29 in. (74 cm.) wide over the handles
196 oz. 18 dwt. (6,125 gr.)

Tray in Octafoil form, with raised lobed border and ribbon-tied reed edge, the centre engraved with scrolling foliage framing a coat-of-arms and a presentation inscription. 


Michael Seymour was the third son of Admiral Sir Michael Seymour, 1st Baronet (1768-1834). He entered the Royal Navy in 1813, making lieutenant in 1822, commander in 1824 and captain in 1826. On 19 February 1856 he was appointed commander-in-chief of the East Indies and China Station. On HMS Calcutta, he conducted operations arising from the attack on the British coaster Arrow. He went on to command the Battle of the Bogue in November 1856, helped destroy the Chinese fleet in the Battle of Fatshan Creek in June 1857, captured Canton in December, and in 1858 he captured the forts on the Baihe (Hai River), compelling the Chinese government to consent to the Treaty of Tientsin. He was made GCB in 1859.

This tray commemorates his contribution in the Arrow War in China and was given to him by the merchants of Hong Kong who subscribed 2000 guineas for him to have various pieces of silver made by the London firm Hunt and Roskell.

Hunt & Roskell, a firm of manufacturing and retail jewellers and silversmiths, was founded by Paul Storr in 1819, trading as Storr & Co. (1819-22), Storr & Mortimer (1822-38), Mortimer & Hunt (1838-43) and then Hunt & Roskell (1843-97). Hunt & Roskell had retail premises at 156 New Bond Street and a manufactory at 26 Harrison Street, near Clerkenwell. John Samuel Hunt, who had assisted Storr from the start, continued as a partner until his death in 1865, when he was succeeded by his son, John Hunt (d.1879). Robert Roskell, formerly a watchmaker and merchant of Liverpool, joined in 1844 and remained in the firm until his death in 1888. In 1889 the firm was taken over by J.W. Benson and continued in business as Hunt & Roskell Ltd until c.1965. Trade card in Heal Collection (Heal,67.383) advertises "Hunt & Roskell, Late Storr & Mortimer, Jewellers, Goldsmiths & Silversmiths to The Queen, The Emperor of the French, &c. &c. &c..." Heal's annotations on mount: "Britten's 'Clock & Watchmakers' gives: - Storr & Mortimer, 13, New Bond St. 1830-42. 1826-7 L. Directory gives: - Paul Storr, silversmith, 13, New Bond St. 1827 L. Directory gives: - Storr & Mortimer, gold & silversmiths, 13 New Bond St. 1832 L. Directory gives: - Storr & Mortimer, jewellers, 13 New Bond St. 1838 L. Directory gives: - Storr & Mortimer, silversmiths, 13 New Bond St. 1839 L. Directory gives: - Storr & Mortimer, silversmiths, manufactory, 13 Harrison St. 136 New Bond Street and manufactory, 26 Harrison Street, Gray's Inn Road."

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John Samuel Hunt